“You guys are going to be sweating…”*
Rob Hirst, Midnight Oil
Powderworks is a rock band from Newcastle, Australia formed to celebrate the music of Midnight Oil.
Ross McAlister - guitars, vocals and keys:
Ross’ infectious passion for Midnight Oil and frustration that cover-bands tend to avoid playing their songs fuelled his quest to form a group that could replicate the energy of the early, small-venue Oils shows. Putting the call out for musicians in the forsaken years preceding the announcement of the 2017 Great Circle Tour, Ross fronts and is the guiding light of Powderworks.
Frank Manitta – drums:
Frank was a founding member with Screaming Jets guitarist, Grant Walmsley and frontman, Dave Gleeson of 80s Newcastle band, Aspect. Under Grant’s guidance that an all-Oils show would be well-received, Frank has agreed to mount the kit once more. He is the engine behind Powderworks; a boiling diesel of mighty Hirst proportions.
Neale Brain - guitars and vocals:
In addition to his varied cover projects, Neale was guitarist for Newcastle original three-piece, The Dread Sky. With a keen commitment to accurately presenting the best possible Oils experience, he and Ross seamlessly weave guitars and harmonies; one Rotsey to the other’s Moginie.
Jeremy Hackett - bass, vocals and harmonica:
Jeremy wrote for and fronted The Dread Sky. He joins Frank in the engine-room, covering the diverse styles of Andrew James, Peter Gifford and Bones Hillman, bolsters Ross and Neale’s vocals and replicates Peter Garrett’s iconic harmonica parts.
Some have said that Midnight Oil is the only band to develop a truly Australian sound. Powderworks seeks to honour that legacy by bringing a representative selection of their songs back to the place where it all began; the local pubs and clubs of Australia.
*Rob expressed this sentiment when shown the Powderworks set list during a Backsliders' gig at Lizottes, Newcastle in Feb 18 for which Frank was his drum-tech.