PHIL Jamieson knows what to expect at Newcastle's Scene & Heard music festival.
Last year the Grinspoon frontman was spotted among the 5000 revellers at Wickham Park watching the likes of Eskimo Joe and The Dandy Warhols.
After completing Grinspoon's massive Chemical Hearts tour the night before in Brisbane, the "rascal" of Aussie post-grunge flew into Newcastle to let his hair down at Scene & Heard.
"I had a really good time last year, as you probably noticed," Jamieson laughs.
On Sunday, February 21 Scene & Heard returns to Wickham Park for the festival's third edition. However, this time Jamieson will be on stage with his Grinspoon bandmates Pat Davern (guitar), Joe Hansen (bass) and Kristian Hopes (drums) as the headline act.
Joining the Just Ace and Chemical Heart hit-makers will be fellow Australian '90s and early 2000s acts Regurgitator, Ratcat, Frenzal Rhomb, Killing Heidi, Custard, Cog, Caligula, Minx and Discovery "Daft Punk Tribute".
"Back in the day, and I hate saying that, there was Fat As Butter and we used to play that a fair bit," Jamieson says. "Fat As Butter morphed into This That and then they realised that people like us and Dandy Warhols fans or whatever didn't want to go to This That.
"I'm stoked to be playing this one with Grinspoon, because we didn't know when that was gonna happen again. It was difficult to think of a time when we were gonna play live because of COVID."
Scene & Heard is targeted at the 30 to 50 demographic and admittedly aims to create pangs of nostalgia for the era of alternative rock and mega festivals like Big Day Out and Homebake.
During that era Grinspoon were among Australia's rock elite. Their albums Guide To Better Living (1997), Easy (1999), New Detention (2002) and Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills (2004) electrified the music scene with Davern's crunching riffs and Jamieson's cocksure delivery.
During that same period fellow Scene & Heard bands Regurgitator and Killing Heidi enjoyed massive success with their albums Unit (1997) and Reflector (2000).
Jamieson is particularly close with Frenzal Rhomb and Regurgitator from the Scene & Heard line-up.
"Regurgitator were so influential to everyone back when we first started," he says. "The hamburger [Regurgitator] EP and the New EP had just come out and they were just up the road from us as well.
"So I'm great friends with the Gurge, I love them dearly."
Scene & Heard will be Grinspoon's first gig since the outbreak of COVID-19. However, Jamieson has been as active as ever.
Last weekend he played The Mighty Hunter, formerly Potters Brewery, in Cessnock. Jamieson also played the first paid gig in the Hunter after COVID restrictions were eased when he performed two sold-out 100-capacity shows at the Cambridge Hotel in July.
Grinspoon's last visit to town was in November 2019 when they played their biggest ever Hunter show at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on their Chemical Hearts greatest hits tour.
Jamieson admits he was nervous whether crowds would turn up for Grinspoon in arena-sized numbers.
"I try to do what I can control, which is me trying to sing well and do some excellent jumping," he says. "I held my breath through most of it.
"We did two nights in Brisbane to finish and after that Saturday evening I let out a big exhale.
"It was fairly nerve-racking seeing if people would turn up. Thankfully they did. The Hordern [Pavilion] was awesome and Newcastle and they were all in a row, so it all felt like a blur now."
While Grinspoon's live performances are arguably more potent than ever, it's been eight years since they released their last album Black Rabbits. Jamieson has also not released any solo material.
Davern revealed last year he and Jamieson had started writing together again. However, Jamieson says reaching a consensus on a musical direction has been difficult.
"We did do a bit of writing and in the classic Grinspoon thing we write and then, we don't fight, but we have disagreements," he laughs.
"We were plodding along and then this year happened and it grounded everything to a halt. I've got some songs from Joe [Hansen] on my email which I plan to go through today.
"It's one of those things where we're pretty funny when we all get together in a studio. There's a fair bit of push and pull happening.
"Some of the tracks sounded great, I just don't know what we'll end up doing with them just yet."
Jamieson agrees it's important for the longevity of Grinspoon, and himself as an artist, that they continue songwriting, whether it's released or not.
"The short answer is yes, it's important to write new material," he says. "I just don't want to do it for longevity sake, that would be disingenuous. I want to do it because it's awesome."
Scene & Heard pre-sale tickets are available from December 1, before the general sale starts on December 3.
If the festival is cannot proceed due to COVID restrictions it will be postponed to Sunday, November 7. All tickets will be transferred to the new date and full refunds are available.
READ MORE: What happened at last year's Scene & Heard