Standing Waves with Band of Frequencies

Band of Frequencies will soon perform at Queensland Conservatorium as part of a unique collaboration. (Photo by Kate Nutt.)

Progressive surf roots rockers Band of Frequencies will take to the stage at Queensland Conservatorium on 5 September, alongside emerging popular, classical, and jazz musicians of The Con Artists — an 18-piece big band.

The one-time collaboration is the pet project of Steve Newcomb who heads up the Jazz Department at the QCGU.

He says it will combine the extraordinary talents of a band who has graced stages and festivals all over the world with the latest in local talent, fusing multiple musical styles.

“I’ve been inspired by some of the collaborations taking place in the jazz arena that bring together contemporary or pop artists and expand their shows with orchestrations.”

“After completing similar work with artists like Katie Noonan, Ben Folds and Augie March, I dreamt up the idea of staging a project like this with the Conservatorium community, featuring a local but internationally successful band, while giving some other local arrangers the chance to experience this sort of collaboration.

“So this was a dream to stage something that hadn’t really been done before,” he says.

Steve Newcomb on stage with The Con Artists
Steve Newcomb on stage with The Con Artists

Steve also hopes such a unique collaboration will give students an experience in bringing different genres and areas of the music industry together, while reflecting on a worthwhile cause.

“I’m particularly excited by the message that is carried in the music of the Band of Frequencies, as they have long been active in the arena of ocean conservation and protection, not in a protesting way, but with strong and positive messages through their music,” he says.

Owen Newcomb of Band of Frequencies is an alumnus of the Queensland Conservatorium, and a former member of The Con Artists having studied bass in the classical department. Since graduating and forming the band, he has played all over the world with the likes of Donovan Frankenreiter, John Butler, Angus Stone and Ash Grunwald.

Band of Frequencies has also performed at some of the world’s most amazing festivals and events, including the Billabong ‘Banzai’ Pipe Masters, Hawaii; North Shore Film Festival, Hawaii; Surf & Sound Tour, Tokyo; and Australia’s premier festivals such as Splendour in the Grass, Mullum Music Festival and Woodford Folk Festival. Their environmental / activism work

Part of the show will combine visual footage from some of the bands work where they have collaborated with many of the world’s surfing icons.

A team of student and alumni arrangers, including Rafael Karlen, Andrew Garton, Kayleigh Pincott and Brodie McAllister, will orchestrate the Band of Frequencies songs for the joint ensemble, with rehearsals underway now.

Emerging artists Sophie Koop, Liv Dennis and Jordan Pineda from the Bachelor of Popular Music degree on the Gold Coast will also each collaborate with The Con Artists on one of their original songs.


7.30pm, Saturday 5 September
Queensland Conservatorium Theatre
140 Grey Street, South Bank

Tickets via qtix.


“There are plenty of accomplished musicians out there. But only a few manage to attain a state where they become a finely tuned antennae to swirling cosmic forces, channelling unseen spiritual energies and transforming a live music performance into a transcendental experience. I know, I’m gushing, but I just happen to believe Band of Frequencies and their other-worldly frontman are that good. Catch them if you can.”
Tim Baker (Surfing World Magazine)

“True to their coastal heritage, their latest album is a like a stoned rollercoaster of music; rolling up and down, drifting through blues, rock, roots and psychedelic vibes.”
VULTURE Magazine, Melbourne