History



The long version, get comfy...

1996 - 1998

Dandelion Wine began in mid ’96, playing their first gig at the Deakin/Swinburne heat of the NAD Campus Band Competition after being together for four weeks, and were placed 4th out of the 17 bands that competed. After performing for Visual Octopus at the Cherry Tree, a couple of gigs for the Rusden Association of Students and an all acoustic performance at Stonnington Theatre, featuring guest musicians from Genius and Camel Magic, the band endured several line-up dilemmas that almost brought them to halt.

Instead of remaining inactive during this extended period, the core of the band, Naomi Henderson (Vocals, woodwinds, percussion) and Nicholas Albanis (guitar, dulcimer, mandolin) continued performing as a duo at events such as St Kilda's Not Quite The Melbourne Cup Festival. The line-up was completed shortly after this by Alistair Galloway (bass) and Brett Bridges (drums, percussion). In May 1998, three Dandelion Wine songs were featured on the soundtrack to Hook Turn Theatre's The Edge at Gasworks Theatre. The first live performance for the new line-up was at Mont Park in the criminal psychiatric wing.



1999

Again combining their interest in theatre and music, Dandelion Wine’s first experience of intertwining live music and other art forms was at a short works performance by Stonnington Theatre Company. A short film was made especially for the evening to accompany the live performance of the song 'Garden'. Here the more ambient side of the band thrived and lead to performances at goth clubs and other less pub-like venues.

Later that year the band started to perform at bigger venues such as the Continental Cafe and the Evelyn and Corner Hotels. Their profile was lifted even further with the Melbourne Fringe Festival event Dandelion Wine's EAT YOUR BRAIN. The concept of the show was to experiment with combining other art forms with music through improvisation. Painters, drawer, musicians, dancers, performance artists, puppeteers, all interacted with the music of the band over three weeks of performances. The greatest exposure however, was playing at the Brunswick St Street Party and Artist Parties for the Festival. Around this time, percussionist Dri (Psyburbia) became a regular contributor to the band's live shows. With drummer Brett Bridges away in Africa, Steve Ambrose (Mordi, The Nightshade) filled in on drums for September and October.

Late in 1999 Dandelion Wine found themselves drummerless once again when Brett Bridges left the band to pursue other areas. This time they continued gigging with a mixture of Dri's live percussion and sampled beats and loops. While this new approach added a new element to the band's already diverse base, they soon became frustrated with the limitations that samples and sequencing bring and recruited VCA percussion graduate Ryan McClusky (The Restless) to fill the vacant drum stool for the recording of their debut album ‘Tunguska Butterfly’ (released August 2000 on Crustacean Creations).



2000 - 2001

New drummer Hamza joined the band shortly after the album was completed, in time for the album launch at The Continental Cafe, Saturday September 9, 2000. 2001 has seen the release of the ‘Cat’ single (from Tunguska Butterfly) and accompanying video clip. Shortly after the release of ‘Cat’, Hamza left the band to concentrate on other non-musical pursuits, once again leaving a drummerless void and a lot of Spinal Tap gags. Rather than find a replacement, the band accepted that the universe was trying to tell them something and decided to continue on without a drummer. The band now performs live with a mixture of samples and African and Middle Eastern percussion taking care of the beats. In the studio, rhythm tracks are now recorded with a blend of guest drummers/percussionists, samplers and programmed beats.



2002

Alastair left the band in mid-2002 to follow other non-musical pursuits and was replaced by Steve Wheeler (Heligoland, Procession) who joined just in time for the launch of ‘Rejiggered’, a collection of remixes from 'Tunguska Butterfly'.

The band undertook their first European tour in late 2002, in support of their first European release ‘Light Streaming Down’. A number of labels in Europe, Australia and the USA distribute the CD and the tour included Germany, Switzerland, Poland and the UK.



2003 - 2005

The band then returned to Europe shortly after in May 2003 for a short tour including Romania, Poland, Netherlands and Germany.

Following this, Dandelion Wine returned to Australia to begin work on their next album ‘~An Inexact Science~’. Somehow they found time for the Dark Exports tour of the east coast of Australia with Ikon and Immaculata.



2006

In mid 2006 they signed with Ars Musica Diffundére/Black Rain for the European/North American release of ‘~An Inexact Science~’ and also teamed up with Reverberation for the Australian release of the album.

At the end of 2006 the band embarked upon their biggest Australian tour to date, with shows in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Also of note on this tour was the Melbourne album launch at the Northcote Social Club, which saw Dandelion Wine performing as a nine piece with a string section and choir, plus a helping hand from old friend and accomplice Steve Wheeler on bass.



2007

Early 2007 saw Naomi and Nicholas again running around the country for another tour before heading overseas.

They then headed off on their first Japanese tour and their largest ever European tour, which saw the band performing in their favourite haunts Germany, Poland, Netherlands and Switzerland, plus their first shows in Belgium, Czech Republic and Portugal. Of particular note was an appearance at the world's largest festival of dark alternative music (Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig, Germany) which resulted in an extended standing ovation encore in the beautiful and historic Schauspielhaus.


2008

At the start of 2008 the band started work on the follow up to ~An Inexact Science~ in various rural and city locations in Victoria, Australia and in a very short time ‘Selected Anachronisms’ (Ars Musica Diffundére/Black Rain) was born. This new album of more energetic and intense music was partly a result of the bands hectic touring schedule over the last two years and featured the bands largest array of instruments to date. The album was quickly heralded by critics and received glowing reviews, especially in the European alternative scene, including a 10 out of 10 from Orkus Magazine (Germany).

To coincide with the release of ‘Selected Anachronisms’ the band set forth on their fourth European (and second Japanese) tour. The tour included a return to Leipzig's Wave Gotik Treffen (for the second year in a row!), their first castle festival at Schloss Burg in Solingen (Germany), their first shows in the UK in six years and their first ever concerts in Lithuania and France.


2009 - 2010

Dandelion Wine's fifth European tour began in April 2009 and included Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, including Elf Fantasy Festival at Castle De Haar (NL), Haunting The Chapel (BE) and a guest appearance at Trolls et Légendes (BE) with celebrated Australian ethereal singer Louisa John-Krol. Following this the band relocated to Europe and used their adoptive home of Berlin as base to play other festivals such as Menuo Juodaragis (LT), Summer Darkness (NL) and German multi-arts festival Dionysien MMIX.

Naomi and Nicholas then leased the apartment and studio of artist Katarzyna Pollok. They set up a temporary recording studio in Katarzyna's painting studio while she was studying sculpture in India. Surrounded by the warm glow of Katarzyna's artwork and the freezing snow and ice of the coldest German winter in twenty years, the duo began work on ‘All Becompassed By Stars’, their first recordings down outside their native Australia. Once the album was completed, they headed off to Clisson in France's beautiful Loire-Atlantique region to have the album mastered by Frédéric Chaplain at Magic Mastering.

The launch of the album saw Dandelion Wine set off on their sixth tour of Europe, returning to their favourite haunts in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Switzerland, culminating at an appearance at Anthinoises celtic festival in Belgium. Before returning to Australia, Dandelion Wine played one last small intimate farewell show to a packed house of friends and fans (some of whom traveled extraordinary distances to be there) at a small medieval bar in Berlin.

Dandelion Wine then returned to Australia to launch ‘All Becompassed By Stars’ in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide before once again settling in to record the next album.


2012 - 2013

2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the band’s landmark
Light Streaming Down EP as well as the tenth anniversary of their first European tour. Anniversary celebration shows were held in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide as a precursor to Dandelion Wine’s 2012 European Tour. This tour was the first all acoustic tour and included concerts in Estonia, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland, including Noorderzon Festival in Groningen and Bruchtal Festival in Vättis.

In 2013 the band successfully crowdfunded their Europe/Hong Kong tour via Pozible... which not only resulted in a great tour but also left Naomi with Atlantic Blue hair, as voted on by the followers of Germany’s Festival Mediaval. The tour included Festival Mediaval (DE), a repeat performance at Brühtal (CH), Rakever Castle (Estonia) and club shows in Poland.

2015

After an absence from the public eye, Dandelion Wine returned to live performance with the addition of New Zealand cellist Francesca Mountfort and currently completing a new album and preparing for a 2018 tour...

Banner image by Colin Page