Gang of Youths’ appearances at Ohana Festival, Neighbourhood Weekender pushed to 2021

If you were hoping to see Gang of Youths at the Ohana Festival in California in September, or the Neighbourhood Weekender in it’s time to practice patience. It’s still going to happen, but not for another year.

Organizers announced this week that the 2020 festival — originally scheduled the last weekend of September — is being postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That should come as no surprise to anyone at this point. As the official announcement says,

“While this decision was not taken lightly, the health and safety of every individual in attendance will always be our top priority. Our audience, artists, community, and crew are what makes Ohana a one-of-a-kind event, especially in its idyllic setting. We must put safety first. So we thank you deeply and want to express our gratitude.”

What’s pretty remarkable is that they managed to get the entire 2020 lineup to commit to performing at next year’s event. And as best I can tell, everyone’s performing on the same day they were supposed to play this year.

So that means Gang of Youths is still on day two with Eddie Vedder as the headliner. But it’ll happen on September 25, 2021, instead of this September. If you have tickets for the 2020 festival, they’ll be honored for next year’s event.

Meanwhile, the same fate has befallen the UK’s Neighbourhood Weekender festival. Originally planned for last month, organizers postponed it to September … but have now also pushed it back to 2021.

Most of the artists booked this year are on the lineup for next May. In the case of GOY, they’ll play on day one, which is May 29, 2021.

That leaves New Jersey’s Sea.Hear.Now festival as the lone standout on GOY’s 2020 itinerary. Kinda shocked that it’s still scheduled for September 19-20, but if I were a ticket holder, I wouldn’t hold my breath that it actually happens.

Donnie Borzestowski’s New Side Project, Special Friends, Releases “Big Sur” Single

No one’s gonna accuse Gang of Youths’ drummer Donnie Borzestowski of slowing down.

While his main gig with GOY is on what appears to be a pandemic-induced slowdown (hiatus?), Donnie has just released a new song called “Big Sur” with his latest side project called Special Friends. If you follow Donnie or some of the band’s associates on Instagram, you’ve been seeing some sneak peeks mentioning this new project.

The song premiered Tuesday night on Triple J and is now available on all the major digital music platforms. Here’s the official lyric video:

The song has a great, laid-back sound that kinda sounds like the California landmark that it’s named after.

Special Friends consists of Donnie and friends who are only listed by their first name in all the news I can find about them: Keith, Randal, David, Alan and Jerry. According to Triple J news, Special Friends is working on more songs and has plans for an EP release eventually.

The official announcement about Special Friends includes what has to be the most wholesome launch story in music history, which includes a mention of Donnie’s first kiss with his wife, Anna, and then transitions into the other guys in the new band. Here’s a screenshot from the Triple J article linked above.

This is the third side project Donnie’s been involved in just within the past year. In November, he released Blue Coloured Mountain, an EP featuring songs by his late brother Szymon. He also appeared last August on Jesse Madigan’s new album. Talk about keeping busy….

New Pêtr Aleksänder EP Includes Dave Le’aupepe in Spoken-Word Contribution

Pêtr Aleksänder — the duo that includes Gang of Youths’ newest member, Tom Hobden — is featuring none other than Dave Le’aupepe on their just-released EP.

The EP is called Another Worldwe mentioned it was coming about a month ago when Hobden and partner Eliot James were releasing sneak previews of some of the new music. What we didn’t know then is that Dave Le’aupepe would appear on the EP, too.

He provides a spoken-word contribution on “The Real Thing,” which is track No. 3. Over a lush combination of strings and keyboards (and some light whispering voices in the background), Dave recites a few lines from C.S. Lewis’ classic theological book, Mere Christianity:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthy pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.

The song is a beautiful piece of music in its own right but becomes even more compelling with Dave’s vocal contribution.

You can find, buy, and/or stream the EP from any of the sources listed here.