Brothers Grim & The Blue Murders
Gig Seeker Pro

Brothers Grim & The Blue Murders

Band Blues Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"PBS presents the ‘Live and Local’ outdoor stage"

Brothers Grim began as the Inabinet Brothers duo, ripping out 20/30’s style delta blues songs with a furious fervour. Over the coarse of the next two years they slowly bought on board a string of musicians to settle on their current band ‘the Blue Murders’ – a fat and sweaty combination of Drums, Double Bass, Dolbro slide guitar and Howling vocals.

The result has been described as “…Skip James on too much cocaine, tempered with that ol’ fashioned morphine that’s good enough for your gran-pa, a truly engaging experience ”

But the short of it is: Brothers Grim and the Blue Murders are the filthiest Country-Blues band to come out of Melbourne in some time. It is not the clean homogenised ‘white-boy’ blues repackaged again and again, but rather straight up ‘country-blues’ – fired at you like a buck-shot!

Order a whiskey, sit down and strap in…this is gonna be a bumpy ride. - High Street Northcote Music Festival Website

"Grim Medicine"

Medicinal Sunday featuring Brothers Grim and the Blue Murders @ The Front, 26th July, 2009
Words: Shelley Clarke. Photographs: Pamela Martin

On the last Sunday in July, I was fortunate to attend the marvelous Medicinal Sunday at The Front Café and Gallery and went with all good intentions of writing a TIMELY review. I even took along my friend Pamela, who is an excellent photographer, to capture some images of the event to accompany said review. However, and here I have to apologise to all involved, life ‘intervened’, as it sometimes does, and my review had only made it as far as being keyed-up notes from the (brilliant) evening.

UNTIL NOW when I hear Brothers Grim are SOON returning to Canberra for another gig! This fact has acted as an efficient ‘kick up the bum’ for me because I really want to spread the word about this act – they are mega, ultra, super fabulous and you would be completely insane to miss the experience of witnessing the spectacle of at least one of their gigs. If you have had the pleasure, you will know I speak the truth and if you have not, you have seriously MISSED OUT and would do well to heed my advice. Here’s a run down of their last gig as part of magical mayhem that was Medicinal Sunday:

On 26 July, Brothers Grim and Min Mae teamed up to bring us Medicinal Sunday - Music & Medicine featuring Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Fifi Noir and Candy Goodthighs (aka Alice Cottee) plus the illusive Medicine Tent, with various visceral delights and fleshy spectacles. Billed as, ‘An intimate little Sunday event of sin and debauch to resuscitate the nerve endings’, it certainly delivered the goods.

The PR blurb contained an excellent description of what was in store, describing Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders as ‘the bastard project of Matt and James Grim…joined by Chris Knuckles and Devil D…drawing from the music and themes of Delta greats such as Son House, Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt…mixed with the misspent upbringings of rock excess and murder ballad sensibilities, delivered with the subtlety of a nail driven into concrete or crooned like a wounded animal to its captor, the Brothers Grim are genuine blues…’ and the Medicine Tent, as ‘a hospital sheet construction in the gallery, housing and hosting an array of interactive therapeutic live art performances and installations, to which the audience will be invited, nay compelled to submit’. Getting the picture???

Doctors and nurses in a range of medical outfits (some pretty scary looking), bustled and wandered about having fun with the audience. Medicinal Sunday’s medical staff included the infamous Hadley who amused himself playing with a bunch of fresh, meaty organs. The indignities suffered by poor Ted do not ‘bear’ description.

After much moving of furniture to set up a stage area, Medicinal Sunday’s MC appeared. Looking like a cross between a butcher and a barber (perhaps an old-school surgeon?), he introduced the always delightfully entertaining Candy Goodthighs (aka ‘Jazz Siren’ Alice Cottee), who was accompanied by wonderful guitarist, Cal Clugston, and talented alto flute player, Sarah Nielsen. Candy’s first song was a gorgeously breathy version of Perhaps. At this point, about half the crowd was listening but the other half were talking and talking LOUDLY. What a pity. Song two, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, fared a little better as Candy’s strong and clear voice, so obviously suited to cabaret, managed to rise above the by-now slightly subdued audience noise. I particularly enjoyed this song’s theatrical and lovely instrumental interlude – Cal strummed his guitar and Sarah’s flute carried on with the tune whilst Candy flashily flourished her red fan. Off to a good start.

Then it was time for something COMPLETELY different as the ‘dirty, hot, gypsy-dance firebrand,’ Fifi Noir was introduced. She presented a very modern exotic dancer image - an ample-bellied belly dancer sporting a vest, trilby, dangly jewelery, plaits, heavy eye-makeup and pearls. She managed to grab some audience attention as she began to dance to recorded music. I’m not sure what it was but if I had to guess the genre, I’d call it modern, tinny, faux Turkish. Soon the hat came off and Fifi began working on knees. The crowd really started to warm to this act with its traditional looking moves in amongst her dance routine plus some amazing whirling, which was rewarded with enthusiastic applause.

Just after 8.00pm, Brothers Grim and the Blue Murders appeared on stage, all resplendent in waistcoat vests. Brothers James Inabinet, who provides vocals, and Matt Inabinet, who plays a mean but gorgeous Resonator guitar, were joined by Devil D, on drums and occasional tambourine, and Chris ‘Knuckles’ Lichti, on upright bass. At this stage punters were still arriving, squooshing themselves through the door and the crowd into the slightly off-kilter world that had been conjured within the walls of the Front Café. In an effort to focus attention back on the stage area, James, who was perched on a stool, delivered his first comment to the room, in general, and a possible audience, in particular, ‘I’m yelling. I’m going to yell louder soon!’

And so he did. Their first song ‘off the album*’, a jangly Jesus Gonna Be Here, was a Tom Waits number and a good choice to set the tone of what was to come. ‘This song is about faith…I’m religious. I believe in chocolate’. And he proceeded to do it plenty of justice with that passionate, raw ‘blues’ voice of his.

Holding and sipping from a small brown medicine bottle that was to feature frequently throughout the evening, James announced, ‘This is the last show of our tour’. As Matt urged him to ‘remind them that we are evil’, they launched into another album track, Bound to Burn, an excellent original with a loud, strident beat. James remained seated on his stool but only just as he was moving so much, both hands and feet in on the action. His years of acting and drama teaching have definitely paid off. On top of THAT voice, James has an enviable stage presence.

Perpetrating Blues, ‘about instant karma’ was fast and full-on with a touch of bop and Matt’s beautiful guitar work. James seemed to be heading straight for manic, whooo-hooo, but, incredibly, still managing clear diction. There was more of Matt’s IMPRESSIVE guitar in the slower-paced Love n’ a Shovel, a sad narrative introduced with ‘It’s fair to say we all have an illness of some kind’ and explained as a song ‘about the last lover I buried’. ‘When love goes bad – what it’s like when you walk away.’

In between songs, the banter kept coming from James. ‘Should say at this stage I don’t know where I’m sleeping tonight.’ ‘Who thinks I’m going to fall off this stool?’

Matt starts up a pretty guitar intro, featuring some lovely picking but by the time James gets into singing Morning Light, ‘actually a nice song…written about some of the people in this room’, some of us are beginning to wonder how long his voice is going to hold out. (He later told me years of singing in ‘other’ genres have prepared his voice for this level of strain.) During another swig from the medicine bottle, there’s an audience request for Lucille, but James said it was being saved for later in the set. Instead, he offered the full of regret, emotional, true story, Last to Know, and delivered it in such a passionate, expressive style there was no doubt he had been there or at least somewhere near there.

James acknowledged some old faces in the audience with Friends Like These, ‘cause I got my friends here gonna keep me company’, which saw Matt treat us to a little ‘thrash’ Resonator. Very cool sound. James Inabinet is a total entertainer with charisma to burn and this was much more than a gig. This was a show. Next up, brother, Jesse, was acknowledged with ‘an old one’, All the King’s Horses (God Bless You Jesse). I noticed the bass player was not miked but he was singing backing vox all the same. I also noticed James taking another swig and started getting very curious. What WAS in that medicine bottle, James?

Then it was time for another cover. ‘You might know this one…one of the most beautiful riffs ever’, suggested James, as he introduced Skip James’s Hard Time Killing Floor Blues, which he proceeded to sing with all his words rounded off as if they had no edges. Some especially gorgeous bass sounds were produced by Chris for this one whilst drums were more of a focus, adding extra emphasis, in the shrieking, intense Exit Wounds. Time was running out when the Brothers were given the signal for ‘Two more’. Finally, we heard the previously-requested Lucille, the last track on their album and a definite highlight for me. The story goes that Matt came up with the riff, James wrote the words and the pair recorded it ten minutes later. This is a sparse song with a slightly raw edge and James sang it from the pit of his guts with a voice of gravel over Matt’s subtle but strong Resonator.

With his parents in the audience, the next song from James held messages with a special poignancy. Sung a capella, Broken Branches was ‘a little song I wrote coming down from a whiskey bender in a $2 love hotel in Laos’ where he had experienced an epiphany about his parents. I’m sure his ‘I appreciate all you have done for me and I love you’ touched many of the assembled. The atmosphere changed considerably due to The New Song with its touch of Violent Femmes and almost punk aesthetic. When James announced ‘Here’s a dancin’ song’, there was no room for dancing but the people sitting on the floor soon made room and, finally off his stool, James danced and sang at a frenetic pace.

Along with the very bluesy, last song of the evening, Dirty Dog, came ‘Thanks to Min Mae and all the volunteers’. A slow start led into a raging number with sensational guitar, tambourine flourishes and heaps of dancers, including some of the ‘nurses’. But there was no way that was enough for the crowd, which actually BEGGED for another one. The encore, Silver-Tongued Devil, brought more raunch, more shrieking, more drama and more dancing

Then with a ‘Thank you to The Front’, they left them begging.

Congratulations to all involved. It was a BRILLIANT night’s entertainment. I LOVE this band and I LOVE their album.

* 2008’s For those who have not, produced by Matt Inabinet



" For Those Who Have Not" - EP: 2008

"PBS Live to Air Recording" - Live: 2009



Brothers Grim has been described as "Howlin Wolf in an AC/DC t-shirt, on too much cocaine, tempered with that ol’ fashioned morphine that’s good enough for your grandpa". It is the bastard project for the Inabinet brothers (Matt and James of Hellbent Revelators) and draws from the music and themes of Delta greats such as Son House, Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt – and mixes them with the misspent upbringings of rock excess and murder ballad sensibilities, delivered with the subtlety of a nail driven into concrete or crooned like a wounded animal to its captor.

The Brothers Grim is stripped back blues, delivered through the barrel of a shotgun. At its core, Brothers Grim is a two piece that can hold it’s own against amplified rock, and has done so many times, but with its ever expanding backline its possibilities and dynamic can be completely adjusted to meet any environment.