01 Freedom Samba 5:18

The Herd

@ Factory Theatre, Sydney, 14 June 2008

The Herd formed in 2001 after the core members of Elefant Traks record label decided to collaborate rather than submit individual tracks for a compilation. They retreated from the city for weekends and days off to record at a lakeside house on the Central Coast. What resulted was the self-titled album that featured the Triple J (national youth broadcast radio station) hit ‘Scallops’, a song that became an Aussie backyard anthem. Mid-2002 The Herd put the final touches on the follow-up album, called An Elefant Never Forgets. What started out as a group of individuals working together had now developed into a tight and cohesive band, with members performing shows with each other constantly. The new album was released in February 2003 amidst the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces. The first single ‘Burn Down The Parliament’ hit Triple J radio just after the devastating bushfires in Canberra. Fans turned up to the launches in droves, and The Herd became a regular fixture on the road. The second single, ‘77%’ immediately sparked controversy with print, electronic media and talkback radio hosts like Stan Zemanek. The Sydney Morning Herald ran stories on the song and The Herd while talkback hotlines rang hot with curious and furious callers wanting to know more. Despite the uproar, Triple J continued playing the song and hundreds of listeners requested it, eventually being voted into the Triple J Hottest 100. After years of solid touring, and two solo albums from Herd members (Urthboy and Unkle Ho), The Herd set up a studio in inner west Sydney and created their most ambitious album to date, The Sun Never Sets featuring We Can’t Hear You and Under Pressure. The latter featured Jane Tyrrell, female vocalist and good friend, who subsequently joined the band after some memorable guest appearances at the first two launching shows. Around October 2005, The Herd performed a cover of Redgum’s classic anti-war song I Was Only 19 on Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’. The song instantly connected with audiences and became the most heavily requested song on the station, leading to an extraordinarily moving film clip featuring members of the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia. Redgum’s John Schumann became a good friend of the group, recording and performing the song with The Herd. Countless radio, television and print stories followed (including a half hour documentary on Hack, Triple J’s current affairs program) and commercial radio picked up the song. It rated in the top 20 in 2006 Triple J Hottest 100 once again. The Herd’s reputation as a fiery and electrifying live group only grew in 2006, with high profile spots on festivals, and sold out shows at Sydney’s Metro Theatre and Gaelic Club; The Corner in Melbourne and venues across Australia. In an unconventional set-up, The Herd perform with three MCs, two singers, an acoustic and an electric guitar, bass, piano accordion, clarinet, laptops and MPC 1000s. It’s big!