PENNY AND THE MYSTICS
Coalcliff Surf Life Saving Club
Kiama band Penny and the Mystics have a hard-earned reputation as one of the busiest bands on the South Coast, and their blend of reggae, rock, folk and blues can be heard most weeks in one venue or other in the Illawarra.
This weekend is pretty typical for the band. They are headlining at the Heritage Hotel on Friday night and then following it up with what should be a more laid-back gig at the Coalcliff Surf Life Saving Club on Sunday afternoon.
Singer Penny Hartgerink says she is looking forward to the gigs.
"The Heritage is a great venue. I've been going to shows there since I was very young and was always dying to play there, so it's great to be playing our own shows there now," she says.
"I played at Coalcliff last summer just as a duo with our drummer, but our whole band will be there this time.
"It's got an awesome view and they've got a bar - it's a really nice afternoon up there."
While they have been giving their South Coast fans plenty of opportunity to see them perform, this year Penny and the Mystics are determinedly aiming to take their music to the rest of the country.
"We've been playing more in Sydney and have made it onto the line-up of a few festivals. It's been a good year," she says.
Rhythms magazine labelled them a "must-see" act following their recent performance at the Sydney Blues and Roots Festival.
"That was great, so much fun," Hartgerink says. "There were a lot of really good artists on the line-up so it was really exciting for us to be included in that festival."
Hartgerink describes playing on the festival circuit as "our favourite thing to do".
"That's our ultimate aim - to play as many festivals as possible.
"It's just a really good feel about festivals and you get to see and meet all these other artists.
"People are there for the music and are keeping an open mind for new music. It's lots of fun."
The band released their debut album in 2010 and have been back in the studio recording , but Hartgerink won't be pinned down on a release date.
"We've just been recording because we enjoy doing it and enjoy getting our new material recorded."
"We're not exactly sure what we are going to do with it, whether it will be an EP or an album. Hopefully a new album in the not too distant future."
The band have been making some changes recently, following the departure of guitarist Sam Hathaway, with guest musicians joining regulars Hartgerink, Joe Winkler and Jedd Bradmore.
"It's good having new people with fresh ideas - there's always a lot you can learn from playing with new people."