Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Lily and King - A Musical Circus For The Eyes And The Ears

What do you get when you combine sweet and sassy vocals, trombone, toy piano, guitar and half a drum kit?

Lily and King is what; a self-proclaimed “carni-junkyard”.

Lily and King are making the trek from Melbourne to Airlie Beach next weekend for their third Airlie Beach Festival of Music and their first major festival since the pandemic.

“I’m so looking forward to walking around town in shorts and thongs and a singlet,” laughed Tony King, who plays guitar and half a drum kit with his feet.

Lily and King formed 15 years ago, almost by accident, when Lisa “Lily” Baird asked then workmate Tony to play guitar on some original songs she had written.

A double bass player in a jazz group at the time, Tony agreed and, 15 years later, Lily and King have crafted a unique sound and infectious performance.

“It was a fairly quirky kind of thing, we gradually added instruments to what we were doing,” said Tony.

Starting as a guitar/vocals duo, more and more instruments entered the mix over the years, giving Lily’s trombone and toy piano talents an opportunity to shine.

“It’s basically a little junkyard play by two people,” Tony said.

A Lily and King set is made up of entirely original songs written about unusual themes, drawing on elements of folk, blues and jazz.

“It can go from really quiet ballads to full-on folk punk, in your face stuff for dancing and everything in between,” Tony said.

“As soon as Lily gets on that trombone, pretty much everybody’s listening.

“She’s a very demanding player and it’s a fairly dominating instrument.

“The act varies a fair bit depending on where we are and the environment.

“We rarely work with a setlist, we normally change things to suit.

“We’ve got so many songs now that we’re pretty adaptable.”

Tony says audiences can expect something out of the ordinary from Lily and King.

“It’s as much something for the eye as it is for the ear, just watching how the sounds piece together,” he said.

“We guarantee it’ll be quite unlike anything they’ve seen before.”

Having played on the festival circuit for the last decade, Tony says he can’t wait to get to Airlie Beach and see friends new and old.

He’s excited to check out all of the other bands playing the festival, namely The Animals.

“I remember when I was first learning how to play guitar, the first song I always wanted to learn was House of the Rising Sun and I couldn’t bloody play the thing and decades later I’m on the same bill as the Animals, which is exciting.”

“We love the festival vibe and the fact that you can be in one setting and not have to get in your car or take public transport, you can just walk around from one place to the next and eat, drink and see great music.

“That’s the beautiful thing about a festival.

“I think that infects the performers; we go about things with a different mindset.

“We’re pretty keen on getting there, that’s for sure.”

Quick Quiz

Favourite band of all time: Led Zeppelin - “That changes from week to week.”

Least favourite song: “I can’t even think of one … I’ve always been careful not to bag anything. There’s things that I really don’t like for one reason or another but that might be someone else’s cup of tea.”

Favourite song to play: “The Mermaid’s Last Chord. It’s a really slow ballad but it ends up being different every single time we play it.”

Last song you listened to: Rue The Day by Ed Kuepper

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