They were one of Ballarat’s most successful musical progeny, and almost 30 years after they started gigging, the lead singer of The Mavis’s is coming back to play at the Songways Festival.
Matt Mavis, aka Matt Thomas and now Matt Doll, will be previewing songs from his forthcoming solo album and revisiting songs from the past in his show at Babushka Bar on Friday night.
The Mavis’s formed in Ballarat in the era of post-punk independent Australian music. Aged just 15, siblings Matt and Becky Thomas and their partners in music gigged regularly at the now-closed and much-lamented Bridge Inn, despite being underage.
Moving to Melbourne, they found a following and musical success, releasing three albums and gaining Aria nominations. They toured with Kylie Minogue and Green Day.
Now Matt Doll is returning to play in his home town.
“I’m going to do a solo gig,” says Matt.
“It’s going to incorporate old Mavis’s songs that I’m going to start playing again, and I have a new solo album that I’m mixing at the moment; that’s going to be ready in January I think.
“I’ll play songs from that.
“I’m going to play guitar, and have synth and drum machines, kind of like a one-man band.
“I’m going to start doing more of that and I thought this would be a good way to test the waters and have some fun in Ballarat doing it.”
The Songways Festival will feature over 30 artists playing in venues across Ballarat, from traditional spaces such as the Main Bar, Karova and Sutton’s House of Music to the Titanic Bandstand, Bridge St Mall and the Lydiard Street Anglican Church.
Artists include Ballarat legends the Dead Salesmen in a tribute to the music of Pat McCabe, Kevin Borich, the Sweet Monas, Freya Hollick, the Haddon Brass Band and Amie Brulee among a host of others.
Matt says that as young person, Ballarat was a great place to start a band.
“We were so young; we just decided we’d walk down the street and meet someone, and they’d be in our band,” he said.
“And we bumped into this guy, Andrew Craw, who was from New Zealand and he was passing through Ballarat, and he had this amazing record collection and instruments – and we were born, just like that.”