Gold Coast rock goddess Leah Martin-Brown flew the coop last year. Now based in LA with her band Evol Walks, she’s spread her wings and hasn’t looked back. Except for frequent homecomings for gigs.
We catch up at BIGSOUND, where Leah is just another punter with a shock of gorgeous red hair. She’s champing at the bit to tell me about her adventures and I couldn’t be more stoked. Since discovering Leah through her prior project Lily Rouge and having many conversations via email and social media, this is actually the first time we’ve met in person.
“I left LA in July and went to Europe – I’m living between the two at the moment,” she tells me. “We had Musexpo this year and that gave us a lot of opportunities and since then we’ve played the Viper Room, Rainbow Bar…,” she rattles off a list of classic Sunset Strip music venues, making me green with envy.
“As part of Musexpo, they were doing an opportunity where Andy Gould who’s the manager for Rob Zombie was looking for new acts for his label – and our management said we should submit. There were 200 people who submitted and we got into final seven being considered,” Leah said.
“We didn’t get the opportunity but at the end they were announcing the decision, then the guy from polish Woodstock who could only speak Polish – he started excitedly speaking – and his translator said ‘don’t end the panel yet – if that Australian band want to come play the festival at Woodstock, we want to put them on the main stage.’ So they came to see us that night at the showcase, and we got the chance to play at the festival over there.”
Leah said they got to Woodstock and were completely floored to find out they were playing the main stage, and late in the day. They also scored a really popular Polish band on the stage immediately prior, so they had a huge crowd already there.
“We had a good crowd to start with, as soon as we started playing,” she said. “Then half way through our set the crowd had doubled and by the end of our set there was a sea of people who’d just appeared.”
“We had all these people saying we were the dark horse of Woodstock.”
“We really worked hard during the performance and people loved it. It was great,” Leah said.
Leah and her band are now touring to launch their EP The Other Side but she tells me that that release will just be a soft launch with the EP only available in Australia.
“We’re doing an Australian tour,” she said. “Which is very heavily focused on Victoria.”
Plus they’re at Michell Creek this weekend and have an acoustic gig at The Loft on the horizon.
After that, Leah will be focused on doing some writing with her old producer, Stuart Stuart who worked on Sheppard’s album.
“Then we’re flying back to the states ‘cos we have a west coast tour,” she said. “Then I come back here until January and book all the shows until next year.”
Evol Walks’ west coast tour starts in Phoenix before moving on to LA for a home crowd, then Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Oregon, Washington. There’s nine or ten dates up the coast.
Leah says the EP The Other Side is their debut, recorded in LA with Brian Howes. “We’ve released three singles already,” she said. “I just hope people like them on the CD as much as they love them live.”
But back to Mitchell Creek this weekend. Leah says punters can expect an extremely energetic performance.
“It’s going to be very loud. Very big guitars. Just an awesome classic rock show that’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.
“We’re only a serious band when it comes to our work ethic – but we love to muck around, we love to have fun… you can definitely expect us to be having a lot of fun and partying with everyone there,” she said.
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Evol Walks, Australian tour dates 2015
19 September, Mitchell Creek Rock and Blues Festival – Kandanga Creek
25 September, Mr Boogieman Bar, Fitzroy
26 September, Musicman Megastore, Bendigo
29 September, Brunswick Hotel, Melbourne
2 October, Whole Lotta Love, Melbourne
3 October, Back in the Day, St Kilda Melbourne
7 October, Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
9 October, The Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour
15 October, The Loft (acoustic showcase), Gold Coast
16 October, New Globe Theatre, Brisbane