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RAMBAL ON: A night of soul, funk, and blues at The Stag

Melbourne’s Rambal has been winning over live music fans all across the country serving up lashings of soul, funk, and blues. The band hit the Stag & Hunter Hotel in Mayfield on Friday, 23 April, so we caught up with them for a chat.

In 2019, The Justin Yap Band joined forces with musos Sunny Reyne, Sam Watts, and Jordan Pereira and decided to change the name of the group to suit the new lineup.

“With the slight change in our lineup, it only felt right to change the name of the band as well. The name ‘Rambal’ came about partially inspired by Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble sessions, and the spelling is a nod to sambal and my Malaysian heritage and love for its food,” the guitarist Justin Yap told Newcastle Live.

The group shot to national attention with the release of singles ‘Let Love’ and ‘Live in Newcastle’ and went on to pick up the 2017 Australian Blues Music Awards and a number one spot on the Australian Blues Charts in the same year.

Their latest release, Hold Your Fire draws on influences from the sounds of New Orleans and ‘70s soul. Thematically the album is focused on the stories and issues that have become important to the band in recent year and shines with solid grooves and free-flowing jams.

“We’ve been working on songs for this album for a couple of years now and we were lucky enough to receive a grant from Creative Victoria to help record the album. We initially had a studio session booked in June 2020, but due to the Melbourne COVID lockdowns, we only managed to get it done in December 2020. This was a blessing in disguise though, as this allowed us more time to work on the arrangements and songs, and we think it has become a better album because of it,” Justin said.

“We’ve been pretty blown away by the response from our friends and fans so far, everyone’s been loving our new songs with different people having different favourites. The songwriting for this album has been our most focused and collaborative effort yet, with most of the bases of the songs written by Justin and Ollie. As a result, it feels like this is our strongest work yet, and it feels like a lot of people agree”.

The show at The Stag, with support from local artist Sophie Aked, is the first interstate gig the band have played since the lockdowns began last year.

“We’ve played at The Stag and Hunter a couple of times before and have always had great shows there, even recording a live album (Live in Newcastle – Justin Yap Band) a couple of years ago. We’re pumped and ready to finally hit the road again and play our first post-covid interstate show,” Justin Said.

Rambal plays The Stag & Hunter on Friday, 23 April. Tickets are available now via