Icons return from three-year break
■ It has been 23 years since the Waifs formed as a three-piece, with the world-renowned group set to headline the Red Earth Arts Festival as part of a highly anticipated WA tour.
It has been a whirlwind journey for the trio, who have released their seventh album Beautiful You, and will wow a Karratha audience with a mix of new material and all the old favourites.
Sisters Donna Simpson and Vicki Thorn first travelled from Albany to Broome as 20 and 16-year-olds back in 1992, where they met guitarist Josh Cunningham and immediately hit it off.
The trio, one of Australia’s most recognisable bands, have had worldwide success since.
Over the years the band’s style and sound has evolved, with appreciation and an ardent following all over the globe.
The Waifs have won four Australian Recording Industry Awards and have played alongside some of the most prestigious artists of the modern day.
The band finished their Temptation Tour at the Mangrove Resort Hotel in Broome back in 2011 — which proved to be their last show for three years.
Waifs songstress Vicki Thorn told The Pilbara News the gig in 2011 had the potential to be their last.
“We did that show in Broome four years ago as the last gig of our tour — something about that gig felt like we might have come full circle, ” she said. “After that Broome gig we didn’t play for three years and we didn’t really know whether we would play again, but we finally decided to get back together and start to tour.
“We found there was a renewed love and passion for it and we wanted to keep going.”
Beautiful You has won acclaim from critics already, with Thorn revealing a different method to writing the album this time round.
“We tried to write this album together, we set aside some time and rented a house on the south coast, ” she said.
“The band has never written a song together, we always write independently so I had the idea of writing a whole album together — but we got there and we couldn’t do it and couldn’t find our mojo together — it was really strange and funny.
“We ended up writing a heap of songs there but it would be one of us going off to the bedroom, writing a song and coming back to the kitchen table and playing it.
“That’s how the album came about — it wasn’t the collaborative process we were looking for but it happened anyway.” The first single, 6000 Miles, has Thorn contemplating the distance between her old home in Albany and her new one in the US State of Utah.
Thorn said the new album had fitted into the band’s back catalogue perfectly and the new material had been a hit in recent shows.
“It is fairly common in the Waifs’ songs but this theme of being away from home, travelling, longing — that’s what we do, that seems to be what we write about,” she said.
“Lyrically and emotionally the songs haven’t taken a big change, but it’s an upbeat album. The first few songs are fairly nostalgic and melancholic but from there it gets pretty upbeat.”
Thorn said that she hoped WA audiences would relate to the new material, but that an eclectic mix of the band’s material would be on offer.
“The new stuff is rockin’— it will be a fun show, ” she said.
“This is our seventh album so we’ve got a lot of material to choose from to keep it upbeat.
“It is fun to put together these outdoor shows and put together a really rockin’ set.”
The Waifs will play alongside The Rubens, Katy Steele from Little Birdie, Melbourne soul outfit Saskwatch, Winterbourne, and Thom Lion and the Tamers on September 19 at Windy Ridge Oval for the REAF opening weekend.
Tickets and information are available at www.thewaifs.com.
The Waifs will play on September 19 at Windy Ridge Oval for the REAF opening weekend.