VIDEO: Welcome to the Rum Jungle

SMOOTH: Newcastle reggae-rockers Rum Jungle launch their second EP Sun & Smoke at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday with support from Vellevide, India and the Journey to the East and Tumbo Pit.
SMOOTH: Newcastle reggae-rockers Rum Jungle launch their second EP Sun & Smoke at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday with support from Vellevide, India and the Journey to the East and Tumbo Pit.

FOR a band that only played it’s first live show last November, Rum Jungle have wasted little time creating an impact.

Late last year they released their debut EP Crazy Days and two weeks ago it was followed by the seven-track Sun & Smoke, a collection of reggae-rock that carries influences from The Arctic Monkeys and early Sticky Fingers.

Given that Crazy Days was hastily recorded before the band had even finalised their line-up with their 17-year-old drummer Frazer McDonald, Ben McIntyre (guitar and vocals) said Sun & Smoke feels like Rum Jungle’s true debut. 

Rum Jungle - The Void

“We love the first EP, but this one’s had a lot more put into it creatively from all four of us,” McIntyre said. “All four of us have all become far better at music in general and writing.

“Playing live as well, has really helped with writing and figuring out what’s fun to play and for people to listen to.”

Almost from the moment McDonald teamed up with 21-year-old McIntyre, Michael Kolmajer (bass) and Josh Giles (lead guitar), Rum Jungle gelled.

“We recorded the first EP pretty fast and we didn’t even have Frazer in the band, so what ended up happening was when he joined the band, we started writing straight away,” McIntyre said.

Rum Jungle are yet to perform outside Newcastle, but McIntyre said the band hope to organise a tour to support the EP. The band launches Sun & Smoke at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday, with support from Vellevide, India and the Journey to the East and Tumbo Pit.


RAAVE Tapes cannot be accused of wasting the opportunity of their maiden trip to BigSound festival.

The Newcastle dance-punk three-piece packed out Fortitude Valley’s Crowbar on consecutive nights and attracted interest from major Australian festival and international promoters.

Brisbane punk bands Dune Rats and DZ Deathrays were also spotted among the admirers.

Raave Tapes manager Ben Cooper was said to be “chuffed” by the interest and there’s even a chance we might be see the band in the US in the near future. 


THE Bluesfest side-show train will be making at least one pit-stop in Newcastle, after California bluesman Keb’ Mo’ announced a show at Lizotte’s this week for April 17.

The four-time Grammy winner, despite being 66 years old, remains at the peak of his powers. Last year his collaboration with fellow blues legend Taj Mahal, Tajmo, earned a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Mo’ last played at Lizotte’s in April, 2012. Tickets are on sale on Monday. 


SELF-proclaimed “Sydney’s premier punk act” These New South Whales are returning to the Cambridge Hotel on September 30 to headline the long weekend party.

Both rooms will be in operation with Bugs, Rebel Yell, Moza, Phil Fresh, Pals, Rum Jungle, Demi Mitchell, NTL Landmarks and Surf Trash all performing.

These New South Whales recently starred in season two of their mockumentary, which featured on Comedy Central. 


Newcastle singer-songwriter Rachel Maria Cox has been nominated for a prize at the inaugural Australian Women In Music Awards.

Cox, who identifies as non-binary, was nominated for the Diversity In Music award, alongside Indigenous quartet Mission Songs Project and Melbourne’s 3 Signal Creative.

The award “recognises individual artists or female-driven musical collaborations for their contribution to advancing a culturally diverse and inclusive music industry.”

The winners will be announced in Brisbane on October 10.