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When singer/songwriter/guitar ace Penny Ikinger introduced Ron S. Peno (Died Pretty) and Cam Butler (Silver Ray) at the Fitzroy club Yah Yahs in 2008, she couldn’t have guessed the bigness of the bang that she’d catalysed. At the time, Butler, a brilliant guitarist and composer, was seeking a singer to enhance his music’s emotional sweep. With a voice that can kiss your eardrums one moment then rattle the planets the next, Peno, a livewire frontman possessed of old-school charisma and known for giving every performance his all, was a dream candidate. The pair hit it off.


It wasn’t long before, armed with a mic and a laptop, Butler was visiting the singer at home to lay down some demos. During these sessions, entirely off the cuff, Peno would improvise vocal melodies over Butler’s instrumental sketches. The results clearly indicated that they shared an uncommonly intuitive artistic chemistry: Butler marvels that “85% of the time,” what Peno “came up with on the spot” wound up being what they used.


New Ron S. Peno and the Superstitions songs still make their first steps into the world like this today.


To breathe full life into the songs—and get the show on the road—an ensemble of crack hands was assembled: Mark Dawson (Ed Kuepper, The Blackeyed Susans) on drums and percussion; Tim Deane (Charlie Marshall, Kim Volkman) on keys; and Andy Papadopoulos (Deborah Conway) on electric bass guitar. Here was a band!


Audiences and critics agreed. Ron S. Peno and the Superstitions’ debut LP, Future Universe, was released in 2011 to widespread acclaim. Anywhere and Everything is Bright followed in 2013, furthering the band’s reputation for masterfully passionate songcraft. The group’s dramatic, groove-driven live shows have won them an avid fanbase in Melbourne, and seen them touring Australia, Spain and France (including appearances at Brittany’s Binic Festival, in 2015 and 2016), performing always to rapturous audiences.


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