Perch div­ing into fam­ily fun

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD - – ROSE SADLEIR

GROW­ING up on a prop­erty 10kms out of Uki with seven sib­lings, an ‘‘ec­cen­tric’’ mu­si­cal fa­ther and a house full of in­stru­ments can only lead to an in­trigu­ing out­come.

For Camilla, the el­dest of the Hodgkins tribe, that out­come is The Perch Creek Fam­ily Jug­band.

Camilla shares lead vo­cal du­ties with her two brothers Christi and Lear, sis­ter Eileen and her part­ner, James Chan­dler.

Now based in Mel­bourne, the quin­tet swap be­tween a range of in­stru­ments as di­verse as the trom­bone, frail­ing banjo, wash­board, dou­ble bass, over driven blues harp, mu­si­cal saw, tap danc­ing and a whole lot of other stuff in­clud­ing, of course, the jug.

‘‘There are a lot of in­stru­ments in the mix – we are al­ways adding more but I think cur­rently we have more than 20 on stage,’’ says Camilla.

The banjo and key­board player says each of the eight Hodgkins kids started with one in­stru­ment and grad­u­ally added more strings to their bow.

‘‘It comes from hav­ing an in­spired and ec­cen­tric fa­ther who loves col­lect­ing in­stru­ments and hav­ing them around the house – that’s why we’re all not pi­ano or gui­tar play­ers,’’ she says.

‘‘Dad cul­ti­vated the be­gin­ning of the band. We would play songs with him and we started go­ing out and busking as a fam­ily. It feels re­ally nor­mal to me, but from the out­side it’s eight kids, a wild dad and all th­ese in­stru­ments.’’

The Perch Creek Fam­ily Jug­band’s sound is fringed by their vast ar­ray of influences – in­clud­ing other jug bands, jazz, blues, roots and coun­try artists and new con­tem­po­rary flavours.

The five-piece ar­rive on the Coast this weekend for three shows at The Mul­lum Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and a venue gig at Cur­rumbin’s The Sound­lounge.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be ac­tion packed but that’s how we roll,’’ says Camilla.

‘‘We are used to be­ing busy. We have done a lot of big sum­mer tours and fes­ti­vals. The band’s been to Europe twice in the last two years. It’s a big ad­ven­ture and there’s lots of char­ac­ters to look at on stage.’’

Camilla says per­form­ing live is an art­form for The Perch Creek Fam­ily Jug­band.

‘‘We all love dress­ing up and it’s def­i­nitely five strong per­son­al­i­ties on stage,’’ she says.

‘‘There’s a lot go­ing on with all the in­stru­ments. The lead singing gets thrown around and there are heaps of har­monies. We also tell a lot of fun sto­ries about all our adventures and re­la­tion­ships – just funny fam­ily ban­ter.’’

Skits and tricks aside, Camilla knows the au­di­ence warm most to the fact they are watch­ing a fam­ily per­form to­gether.

‘‘We are all born about two years apart, the youngest is 10 and I’m the el­dest at 26 – we have a whole soc­cer team in our fam­ily,’’ she says.

The Perch Creek Fam­ily Jug­band play The Mul­lum Mu­sic Fes­ti­val to­day, Satur­day and Sun­day and The Sound­lounge, at Cur­rumbin RSL, with Daniel Cham­pagne tomorrow night.

The Perch Creek Fam­ily Jug­band

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