Performing a gorgeous amalgam of R&B and roots music, the Bondi Cigars have amassed a faithful following through relentless touring and a commitment to quality performance. They deftly blend the classic sound of blues, soul, funk and R&B with a new millennium relevance. The result is a unique and accessible sound with a longevity that often eludes pop and alternative rock.
Now in their 11th year, The Bondi Cigars first came together as an informal jam band while its component members were committed to other outfits. The line up with Shane and Alan stabilised early in 1990 with the band releasing a debut, self-titled album for ABC Records in that same year. "Bad Weather Blues" followed in 1993.
In 1994 the band underwent a line up change adding some classic Hammond organ sounds and going by the name of Shane Pacey and the Cigars. "Got the News" came from that period.
The Bondi Cigars were back performing by 1995, releasing After Closing Time. The album went on to be awarded Best Blues Album and The Cigars declared Best Blues Band at the annual Lithgow Blues Festival in 1996. The Bondi Cigars had lost none of their early promise. The popularity of the band was further cemented when two of the songs from the album were selected to appear on the soundtrack album to the popular ABC series, Sea Change. "Mercy", released in 1998 is the latest album from this hard working outfit. It features 13 original tracks, mostly penned by front man Shane Pacey with strong contributions from Alan and Eben. Mercy boasts a diversity of fells and grooves, readily accessible to a wider audience. From the eclectic vibe of "Save a Little Mercy" to the intelligent and thought-provoking "What a Sweet Relief", this is a strong album of memorable songs. We also see Shane contributing some delectable slide and acoustic moments.
As with all great bands, the sum of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts and The Bondi Cigars are no exception. Shane Pacey, the principle songwriter and vocalist, came to the Cigars after playing with bands such as Sydney’s. His song writing and dynamic vocals, teamed with the fluid rhythms of Alan, have largely defined the sound and direction of The Bondi Cigars. Alan Britton brings to the band his many years experience playing with some of this country’s foremost roots outfits including Mangrove Boogie Kings, the legendary Dynamic Hepnotics and the Foreday Riders. His instinctive feel for the groove and ability to ride the rhythm, lay the base for those great Bondi tunes. Though still relative newcomers to the band, Eben and Andrew have nevertheless subtly altered the dynamics of the Bondi’s sound, lending it a youthful exuberance and adventurous edge.
Eben was a driving force behind the successful Blue Mountain Blues Club before he joined the Cigars four years ago. He played in the house band at the Club’s meetings as well as taking a behind-the-scenes role booking acts and ensuring their events ran smoothly. Eben’s burgeoning song writing talents and effusive guitar lines add an extra dimension to the already vibrant sound of the Bondi Cigars. Andrew also came to the band around the same time. Though based in Cairns, he toured frequently to the southern capitals in many well-known Queensland outfits. He honed his craft on the road, giving him the versatility to play to any crowd. His ebullient rhythms carry the groove and fuel the fire. The Bondi Cigars are as committed to their music as they are to the business of it and their live performances never fail to win an audience. Their energy and vibe are evident in every song, irrespective of hectic touring schedules, dodgy venues and other calamities. It’s their professionalism on and off stage that have won them a diverse but faithful audience spanning all age groups.