Sooki for the soul

Bob Evans is coming back to Belgrave.

Kevin Mitchell is looking forward to his return to Belgrave’s Sooki Lounge.

The solo artist better known as Bob Evans will make his fourth appearance at the venue on Friday 29 March.

“I can remember playing shows there many years ago when it was Ruby’s,” he said.

“That would have been in about 2006 with my old mate Josh Pyke.

“Josh and I played there again in 2016. By that stage it was called Sooki Lounge.”

He said it’s unlike any other venue.

“The thing that most artists that play there talk about is the door to the backstage room is like a fake bookcase,” he said.

“It’s got a secret door.

“It’s just got the quirks like that.

“When you’re touring all the time and you’ve been doing it for as long as I have, it’s these little quirks that break up what can sometimes be a mundane sort of thing.”

This tour will be in support of new album Full Circle.

“It’s a collection of past songs,” he said.

“But I didn’t put it together like a best of or a greatest hits or a collection of singles.

“I wanted to put together an album that took in all the different aspects of the songs I’d written.

“I’ve put together a more holistic collection than if I put all my radio songs on there.”

Bob Evans was born thanks to a T-shirt Kevin unearthed in a Perth op-shop in 1998, when he was fronting indie-rockers Jebediah.

“A lot of people who perform under their own name, they will play songs from their band,” he said.

“I never ever had it in my mind that I would go out and play Jebediah songs.

“I decided I was going to give myself this other name and would start all over again.

“I played at the public bar of the local hotel to empty rooms and just played my own songs and built it from the ground up all over again.

“I don’t think any of my contemporaries have done that.”

There’s been good and bad about taking that road.

“I’ve managed to build my own very separate audience to Jebediah and I can exist in these two very separate worlds,” Kevin said.

“From a marketing point of view it would probably be easier if I didn’t have two different names.”

When he released his first Bob Evans record back in 2003, interviewers asked how he’d got big names like Katy Steele (Little Birdy) and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun, The Sleepy Jackson) involved as an ‘unknown artist’.

“I did a lot of interviews with the person I was talking to having no idea I was in Jebediah,” he said.

“That all kind of changed in 2006 when Suburban Songbook came out.

“I was on major label and on the radio. That’s when the secret was out.

“In some respect I’ve made it harder for myself but in other respects I’ve made it more interesting.”

A raffle draw is bound to make his Belgrave show more interesting.

“People are always requesting songs. I usually don’t play them because I haven’t rehearsed them,” he said.

“Midnight Oil years ago did a tour with a big wheel they spun around with all different songs on it.

“Ben Folds got people to make requests on a piece of paper and make an aeroplane and throw it onto the stage.

“The raffle thing is cool because I draw a raffle ticket out of a hat and the person in the crowd shouts out the song.

“There’s no way I can rig it. It’s as real as it gets.

“I have to refresh my memory on a lot of old songs.

“Sometimes I stuff it up. Sometimes I make a mess of it.

“If I do make a complete mess of a song that somebody asks for I will give them a free stubby holder.

“It’s a lot of fun.

“It’s kind of terrifying for me, but it’s fun for the audience and that’s the main thing.”

Madeline Leman will be supporting Kevin at his Victorian shows.