Love & Despair

new album

With love and despair, we regretfully inform you that we too cannot be a-giggin’ til further notice…. keep you posted!

1980s CANBERRA, ‘a dysfunctional, socialist utopia.’ Politicians, public sculpture and no culture. Home to the Gadflys, a group who emerged amidst the unlikely yet burgeoning Canberra punk scene, they soon transcended the strictures of punk and ’80s synth pop to develop a unique style. Opting to play acoustic instruments – classical guitar, clarinet and double bass – their sound became less abrasive and more melodic though they still retained the urgency and energy of punk.

Founding members Phil and Mick Moriarty’s dad played clarinet in a band called Clean Living Clive’s Good Time Palace Orchestra. He had a record of Benny Goodman performing “Sing Sing Sing” at Carnegie Hall, with Gene Krupa’s drums pounding away like a runaway freight train, a big influence on the boys. The brothers developed an enthusiasm for the tambourine rhythms and melodic thrills of ’60s Motown. They both admired the straight-shooting singing styles of Iggy Pop and Shane McGowan. Mick coined the term Mongrel Jazz to describe the blend of blues, klezmer, skiffle and cool jazz, underpinned by righteously rootsy grooves, which formed the Gadflys sound over four albums two EPs.

After 15 years of constant touring and gigging, the Gadflys’ fortunes were boosted courtesy of a three-year stint on Paul McDermott’s satirical TV panel show Good News Week. Playing original tunes live to camera, they soon won over a legion of new fans. The GNW gig showcased the instrumental verve of musicians at the top of their game. The band also backed well-known artists Neil Finn, Steve Harley, Glen Tilbrook, Diesel and Yothu Yindi.

Recently teaming up with long-time band members Elmo Reid on bass, and Pete Velzen on drums, the Moriarty brothers have recorded the first Gadflys’ album in 19 years, Love & Despair. A single, “Deborah”, will be released October 2019 . They plan to tour and play festivals in support of the release this summer.

“Let’s not understate the talent of this group. The Gadflys’ particular blend of British beat, jazz, skiffle, country and folk is hugely entertaining.”

“Even at four o’clock in the morning … we were baying for more.”

“The musical find of the Edinburgh Festival.”

“Three sets plus an encore, a packed ANU bar and a huge mass of dancing doofuses … soulful, brilliant and original …  So bloody good!”

All Our Love and Despair

The Gadflys

Touring 2021


2020! What a year! Everybody has a hard luck story. Fire, flood and pestilence! In the music industry we’ve had shows cancelled due to bushfires, months of nothing due to Covid 19 restrictions. “Too much of nothing.., can cause one man to sleep on nails.., cause others to eat fire.” sometimes,”… it just makes a fella mean!”, according to Bob Dylan. How to shake things up? Some bright folks have worked the internet to their advantage, bringing ‘live streamed’ music directly to your tablet or phone. The Gadflys though, are a band who made their reputation playing in front of ‘live’ audiences. In the Darwinian scheme of things, ‘adapt or perish’, then if Covid was a meteor , and the Gadflys dinosaurs, it’s adios and goodbye to them but …

In the face of logic and rational economic calculations, the legendary pub band who have had crowds dancing their arses off since the1980s, are filling a suitcase with last years CD release, LOVE & DESPAIR, loading the double bass and drums into the car, lubricating the vocal chords and hitting the Hume once again to bring their jungle rhythms and liquorice stick shrieks to a music starved audience.

Be sure to book early.

band contact

press contact 03 9525 4767

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