Aussie supergroup ARC are taking over the world, one cover at a time

Aussie supergroup ARC are taking over the world, one cover at a time

Words by Tammy Walters

Music legends unite to perform at Werribee’s Pop Up Park.

Darren Middleton, Kram, Davey Lane and Mark Wilson have all been major players in carving out the jagged path of rock music in Australia through their solo and band musical contributions, Powderfinger, Spiderbait, The Wrights, You Am I and Jet, respectively.

In 2019, the foursome announced their supergroup formation to the world, the Australian Rock Collective (ARC), and together they have already imprinted more footprints in the rock music corridor, but Middleton says the project has been slow cooking for quite some time.

“I put the band together because a friend of mine was doing something in Brazil for the World Cup soccer and asked if I wanted to put something together to bring over, so I called Kram up and Davey [Lane] and Mark Wilson and it didn’t take too much arm twisting to get them to South America [laughs].

“We got back from that trip and went, ‘Oh geez, we’ve known each other for years, but this is a really good band’ and we just kind of carried it on from there. It’s actually been about four and half, five years since I put that little group together but it’s only this year that we’ve gone public.”

Their announcement coincided with last year’s 50 years of Abbey Road celebrations which saw ARC play a series of shows around the nation. It wasn’t the standard tribute show gimmick with the classic mop-top wigs and Sgt. Pepper’s uniforms. The group became at one with The Beatles, learning each and every detail of the album and playing it the way a true musician should.

“When you have to dive in and do them justice, it’s such a well of inspiration, detail and the arrangements are really incredible! We spent a lot of time getting it how we felt it needed to be and still treated it the way an artist should treat something which is a homage but with your own kind of character in there as well,” Middleton explains.

“It was a project we had spoken about for a little while, and to be honest, had been a bit disgruntled with the way these things have happened in the past. We wanted to do it the way a band would do this, so no one is reading off of charts, there’s no superstar – there’s the whole band and everyone is equally a part of it. It was fucking amazing.”

It was also amazing for the audience and critics, who, thanks to their high demand, convinced the gents to add an additional tour run for 2020. This isn’t the only project ARC have up their sleeves. They do have more record tributes on their agenda but for the most part ARC have become the cover band of Australia on steroids, celebrating their favourite Australian and New Zealand artists, including their own acts, as part of their live shows.

“We pick a bunch of songs from ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, etc, all Australian and New Zealand artists, and we take the same ethos that we’ve given The Beatles. But the songs we choose for the ARC setlist – there’s always a reason for them. We had known the people in the bands, or we still know the bands or their songs that have really rubbed off or inspired members of the band. We also play some of our own band’s songs which makes it a little bit special!”

With such a high calibre lineup of members, could some original tracks be in the cards for ARC?

“We were in the studio about a year and a half ago and have started putting down songs but the hard thing with this band is that everyone is pretty fucking busy! That is the plan at some point,” he says.

“I’d say in 2020 we’ll get our act together and get some originals together because we genuinely love each other and we work incredibly well as a group of people.”

On Friday January 24, ARC will perform when Werribee City Centre’s Pop Up Park returns to Station Place. Alongside a landmark performance from the aforementioned music legends as part of the Friday Night Live program, there will also be an outdoor cinema featuring screenings of Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Dumbo and Wonder Park across the Saturdays of January and into February.

Sunday Funday will kick off from Sunday January 12 and will envelope Station Place with food and performers harking from Mexico, Asia and Ireland across three different events.

Outside of that, Friday Night Live will also welcome the likes of Pete Murray on Friday January 10, Eurogliders on Friday January 17 and The Black Sorrows on Friday January 31 as part of what is a stellar music program.

ARC perform at Werribee’s free Pop Up Park on Friday January 24. Find out more about the Pop Up Park via the Wyndham City website.