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Thursday, January 20, 2022

‘CRY BABY’ ready to set new festival alight

Featuring the likes of internationally renowned artists such as Vera Blue, Briggs, San Cisco and Client Liaison, Queenscliff’s newest festival ‘By the Pier’ will also be showcasing some of the Bellarine’s best local talent over three days from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th of March.

‘Crybaby’, a six-piece band who bring punchy, energetic and dynamic twists to songs of love, loss and redemption in their own unique style, will be playing the opening night. The band’s members are Brianna Dahlstrom (vocals), Andrew Pham (drums), Matilda Baker (trumpet), Rachel Hobbs (saxophone), Georgia Rodgers (guitar) and Liam Bushell (bass). 

Their silky smooth drummer, Andrew Pham, said he’s heard the audience describe their unique sound as ‘Soul Punk’, ‘Powerhouse RNB’ and ‘Bluesy Rock with a Soul vibe’.

“I love that everyone seems to have a different take on our music when it hits their ears. To me Cry Baby is truly a melting pot of our rich musical background, giving you a taste of rock, soul, punk, jazz and funk through driving grooves and melodic twists and turns”, he said.

Over years of playing together Cry baby has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to play at events in Queenscliff, including playing on the Freezer stages at the Queenscliff Music Festival and more recently at the Queenscliff Community Market last November.

“When the festival director reached out to us to play at the upcoming Festival ‘By the pier’ in Queenscliff it was an instant and unanimous yes from the band, without even knowing how stacked the final lineup would be”, Andrew said.

Prior to ‘By the Pier’, Cry Baby’s biggest performance was in front of 100+ people at the Piano bar in Geelong. Having won their inaugural Geelong’s Got Talent contest, they were given the opportunity to fill that venue for a one show epic.

Cry Baby’s  trumpeter, Matilda Baker, said the band was ecstatic after being offered the ‘By the Pier’ gig.

“We’re super excited to perform down in Queenscliff in front of such a large local audience. I’m really excited to mingle with some of Australian music ROYALTY and hopefully take a dip with the boys from Client liaison”, she said.

Preparing for festival gigs is inherently different to preparing for a normal gig. Crybaby’s guitarist, Georgia Rodgers, said there’s a particular energy to a festival that makes them what they are.

“People are running to a tight schedule so it makes us as a band tighten our belt buckles when it comes to organisation. You want to stand out as a group and give your all amongst other great lineups that take festival stages, so tightening, polishing and delivering a little more of a charismatic performance is a small difference in preparation you go through”, she said.


Things first began for the band in 2017, when lead singer Brianna Dahlstrom asked now bass player, Liam Bushell, if he was interested in playing in a funk and soul group. A year or two later they found all the current members and started regularly practising together.

“At this point things really started to kick off. We settled on a name and started to mould our unique sound”, Liam said.

Brianna said the band has always been super collaborative in the songwriting process, with no song ever solely written by one person. Rather, their songs will start with one small idea, a riff or a melody, and each member adds their own interpretation onto what they think the song needs.

“We’ve created a great space as a band where we can freely share ideas and workshop each other’s parts. It’s such a safe place for us to push each other and ourselves”, Brianna said.

As for the lyrics, Brianna said she writes them from lyrics or poetry she’d previously written, or will often write them according to what the instrumental parts evoke.

“The lyrics writing process can also be collaborative. A few of our songs have sections of pre-written lyrics from someone other than me and then I wrap it all together”, she said.

With 6 members in the band, scheduling times to rehearse and even perform can be difficult. With everyone having their own outside lives and other work schedules, Liam said it was something each member has always been respectful of.

“Good communication is important, as it can be difficult to make sure everyone is on the same page. I think with song writing is where our larger group shines”, he said.

“We have amazing ideas and contributions coming from every direction. Everyone in the band makes up our sound too. With fewer members we wouldn’t be nearly as punchy, energetic and dynamic”. 

On the saxophone, Rachel Hobbs said the size of the band has helped draw in an array of different influences within each member.

“In the earlier days of Cry Baby, our sound was far lighter and the influences of soul and RnB were much more present. With the addition of Georgia on guitar came a heavier tone colour and more energy. This led to more creative and experimental song writing practises from the band which are now evident today in our music”, she said.


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