ANYONE who witnessed The Hauntingly Beautiful Mousemoon live on stage in the early 2000s would be hard pressed to forget the experience.
Unlike many Newcastle bands, Mousemoon were a unique experience. Weird and wonderful.
I remember clearly the five-piece's final performance at the Cambridge Hotel in 2007. To mark the 30th birthday of drummer Erling "The Duke" Gronhaug, the band reunited a year after their initial break-up.
It was like stepping through a rabbit hole into a rock'n'roll circus. Led by flamboyant Jeff Buckley-esque frontman Zackari Watt - decked out in his trademark top hat and Adam Ant make-up - Mousemoon carried the audience through a dramatic evening of musical theatre.
Combining elements of art-rock, cabaret, psychedelia, prog and Eastern mysticism, it was an intoxicating, bohemian mix. And that was just the music.
Their performances often involved interludes of group screaming by the audience, hugging pits, wrestling matches, juggling and Middle Eastern dancing.
Since that 2007 performance the line-up of Watt, Gronhaug, Dave McCarthy (guitar), Fenton K (bass) and Esther La Rovere (keyboards) have only reunited once in 2013 for a gig at the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel, which raised funds for the old Morrow Park Bowling Club.
The Wickham club was destroyed by fire in May 2013 and had previously been the home and rehearsal space for Mousemoon and other prominent creatives like musicians Kira Puru, Mojo Juju and Jamieson Shaw.
Then last year Gronhaug received an interesting request for Dashville marketing guru, Nick Milligan.
It turns out Milligan is a massive fan of Mousemoon and wanted to know if the beautiful ones who be interested in reuniting for the 14th Gum Ball music festival at Lower Belford?
"None of us had ever thought to do it," Watt tells Weekender. "We've all got our own projects now on the go.
"We do sometimes work together, the different members, but it was pretty much initiated by Gum Ball.
"Duke contacted us all and asked what did we think? I was surprised. I thought everyone would go, 'nah' but it seemed like everyone was in a good position to do something."
So for just the second time in 12 years Mousemoon will perform at Gum Ball on April 26. This will be preceded by a special warm-up show at the band's spiritual home of the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel on April 24.
Given their reputation as an electrifying and theatrical live act, does Watt feel pressure to recreate the Mousemoon of their mid-2000s prime?
"I feel like it's less difficult than it was back in the day because we've all been working on different projects in this field professionally," he says. "We just need to collate it all and get into a cohesive expression.
"One of the challenges will be making it Mousemoon enough in what people expect and what they saw back in the day, but also make it relevant for today without anyone thinking this isn't what it used to be.
"At the same time we don't want to just press the full 'repeat' button. There's definitely things we'll be doing that were signature Mousemoon moments."
It's difficult to not view Mousemoon as a lost opportunity. During their stint as a band between 2001 and 2006 they toured the country relentlessly, performed at festivals such as Sydney's The Great Escape, collected numerous 1233 ABC Music Awards and developed a passionate cult following.
However, the band released just two EPs and never made a full-length album. Their first self-titled EP was released through ex-Screaming Jets guitarist Grant Walmsley's label One Henry Records in 2003.
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Two years later they released their mostly live six-track EP, Cry Baby Cry, through Melbourne-based indie label Rubber Records. Watt admits he's disappointed that more songs were never recorded.
"There was some beautiful music we were playing, and some of the tracks that we played a couple a hundred times live, there's no recording of them whatsoever," he says. " They just don't exist apart from in the memories of us and people who saw them.
"Nobody had smart phones recording bits and pieces in the audience either."
There's no animosity and I feel like if we pursued that success concept maybe we wouldn't have ended up pals.Zackari Watt
Modern technology means musicians today can arm themselves with full recording equipment for a few hundred dollars and simply upload their work to streaming services like Spotify.
"I feel like if Mousemoon was around today we probably would have produced a lot more musical content, and musical content that I feel would have been a more satisfactory expression of what we were," Watt says.
"We were very much a live act. We toured and toured and played live and I guess we got a lot of relative success from that."
Watt believes Mousemoon "were right on the cusp" on mainstream national success when they broke up.
However, their enduring friendship 13 years on is proof they made the right decision to quit.
"Personally I don't look back and regret that and say, 'we could have made it', because I feel we all went on and did our own fun things," he says.
"I see a lot of people who have made it and it hasn't necessarily been a fun, fantastic experience.
"I don't know if everyone would agree, but I feel like we made the right choice and we've all ended up great friends and worked with each other on tons of projects since.
"There's no animosity and I feel like if we pursued that success concept maybe we wouldn't have ended up pals."
The Hauntingly Beautiful Mousemoon perform at the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel on April 24 and at Gum Ball on April 26.