When the Bondi Cigars were first gigging around Sydney, late 1989, they moved in a blues/R&B circuit which, while robust enough since the 60s, had then been sparked into new life by the “blues revival” of the mid-80s, spearheaded by Robert Cray, Joe Louis Walker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and similar crusaders. And while many of the Sydney bands from that era have vanished, become historical footnotes or undergone major changes, the Cigars – true survivors – have battled on, without ever compromising their distinctive no nonsense style, to become a leading force in Australian R&B.
Apart from the timeless, unpretentious nature of the music, an obvious reason for the longevity of the Cigars must be the ongoing musical team work of 2 foundation members, Shane Pacey and Al Britton, who continue to co-lead the band. This also explains the consistency of the bands sound, instantly recognisable for 17 years now, despite personnel changes and occasional stylistic variations The Cigars have consistently delivered the goods; with Down In The Valley nominated in the 2003 ARIA awards for Best Blues & Roots Album, 1995s After Closing Time awarded Best Blues Album at the 1996 Lithgow Blues Festival, and two of their songs, Lead Me Not Into Temptation and Intensive Care, chosen to feature on the popular ABC Seachange album.
As with all great bands, the sum of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts and the Bondi Cigars are no exception.