Opinion: The Rubens showed me the power of music

I don't often buy tickets to live music, but every time I do I wish I'd do it more often.

My arm was easily twisted when Crookwell Gazette reporter Clare McCabe asked if I wanted to see The Rubens at the Astor Hotel in Goulburn on August 10.

The Rubens play at the Astor Hotel in Goulburn on August 10. Photo: Hannah Sparks

The Rubens play at the Astor Hotel in Goulburn on August 10. Photo: Hannah Sparks

I've been listening to the four-piece indie band on and off for years. I'll admit, they'd somewhat disappeared from my radar until they released Never Ever featuring Sarah last year. I was hooked again and enjoyed re-playing songs from their 2012 album The Rubens and 2015 album Hoops.

I'm told by locals that The Rubens were the biggest act to come to the region for a long time. Snow fell across Yass, Crookwell and Goulburn on the night they played, but that didn't stop anyone from going; the Astor was jam-packed.

To say The Rubens pulled everyone out from the warm comfort of their homes is to show the power of live music in bringing everyone together, creating a community.

The journalist in me had done some digging on the Saturday afternoon before going and found there was an interesting backstory to why The Rubens had travelled to Goulburn. They'd also recently played in Dubbo, Bathurst, Young and Wagga Wagga.

In 2018, The Rubens spoke at the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the state of live music in NSW, which has been impacted by new legislation introduced in the past few years, particularly the lockout laws in Sydney.

After that, the band decided to launch a brand called Chucka Buckas and run a monthly night to showcase emerging talent at Sydney's Botany View Hotel.

This tour was the next stage of that, giving young, emerging artists Milan Ring and Shady Nasty the chance to expand their reach and get out to new regional touring hubs across NSW.

The Rubens come from the small village of Menangle in NSW, so my guess is that they understand what a gig of this size would mean to other regional villages and towns.

It was great to hear some new music and Milan Ring has made her way onto my Spotify playlist. She also joined The Rubens on stage to sing Never Ever, so my night was made as I'm sure it was for many others.

As the drought continues to impact those in the country, I think live music is one of the things that can give us hope, something to look forward to, and strengthen our communities.

I hope Chucka Bucka lives on and its message grows.