The Mess Hall

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The Mess Hall
The Mess Hall @ Amplifier Bar (31 12 2009) (4255899449).jpg
Background information
Origin Sydney, Australia
Genres Blues-rock
Indie rock
Garage rock
Years active 2001–present
Labels Shock Records
Ivy League Records
Associated acts Silverchair, The Tremors, Noah Taylor and the Sloppy Boys
Website Official website
Members Jed Kurzel
Cec Condon
Past members Anthony Johnsen

The Mess Hall are a two-piece drums and guitar combo based in Sydney, Australia specialising in "raw, edgy bluesy rock." The band consists of Jed Kurzel (vocals/guitar) and Cec Condon (drums/vocals).

When plugged in and turned up, the duo produce enough energy to power a house full of floodlights[1]
The Sydney Morning Herald

The band often find themselves being compared to The White Stripes but Kurzel expresses otherwise. "When we started to do our thing there was no White Stripes around. A lot of people I'm influenced by are a lot of old poor guys from the Mississippi who just play really honest and a dirty sort of blues. That's where The Mess Hall come from. We really never set out to be a two piece. It was just something that worked out that way".[2] However The White Stripes had released two albums before The Mess Hall formed.


Early days[edit]

Original members Jed Kurzel and Anthony Johnsen began playing shows in 2001 and quickly gained a reputation as an exciting live act. They also recorded their self-titled lo-fi album, to distribute at live events. In 2003 the band signed with Shock Records and released the EP, Feeling Sideways. Produced by Matt Lovell (Something for Kate) and Chris Joannou (Silverchair), the short album earned an ARIA nomination for Best Independent Release.[3] In early 2004, Johnsen left the band and was replaced by drummer Cec Condon[4] of The Tremors and Mexico City.

Notes From A Ceiling[edit]

In 2005, The Mess Hall released Notes From A Ceiling after a lot of anticipation. Jed Kurzel said the only recollection he has of recording the album is that Cec Condon nearly set fire to the studio whilst barbecuing, and that while he was suffering vertigo, the attending doctor was more interested in whether the band were touring on the next Big Day Out than attending to his illness.[5] As well as releasing the singles "Metal And Hair" and "Pills", the song "Disco 1" received consistent radio play time on Triple J. The album won an ARIA award for Best Engineer and was included in both Triple J and Rolling Stone's[1] Top 50 Albums of 2005.

Devil's Elbow[edit]

During September 2007 The Mess Hall signed to Ivy League Records and released their new album "Devils Elbow". Soon after its release, the album won the Australian Music Prize, gifting the band $25,000 in prizemoney. As their momentum started, the Mess Hall also won the support slot for the Foo Fighters' Australian tour.

For the Birds[edit]

The Mess Hall released their latest album, For the Birds, on 13 November 2009 in Australia. The first single released from the album was "Bell".

Return to action[edit]

After years dabbling in other projects, the band returned to playing shows in 2015. There is no word on another release.


The band have played on the same bill as[6] Tenacious D, You Am I, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Jet as well as playing at the Splendour in the Grass, Homebake, Falls and Big Day Out festivals. They have toured to Japan[1] and the USA, including performances at SXSW[7] in Austin. The band has such covers on their live set list such as Nirvana's "Breed" and Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick". They also supported fellow aussie rockers Wolfmother on several dates of their 2005 "Dimensions" tour.


Albums and EPs[edit]


Awards and nominations[edit]



  • 2003 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release for Feeling Sideways[1]
  • 2005 ARIA Awards, Producer of the Year for Notes From A Ceiling
  • 2005 Australian Music Prize, Album of the Year for Notes From A Ceiling
  • 2006 Jack Awards, Best Live Band
  • 2006 Jack Awards, Best Lead Guitarist - Jed Kurzel[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Songwriters: The Mess Hall". Mushroom Music. 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-02. 
  2. ^ "The Mess Hall". Australian Musician. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  3. ^ "The Mess Hall:Poised To Release New Dirty Blues". Faster Louder. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-02. 
  4. ^ "THe Mess Hall - Jed Engine". X-press Online. 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-01. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Notes From A Ceiling". Australian Music Online. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  6. ^ "Homebake 2003 bands". 2003. Archived from the original on 16 June 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2006. 
  7. ^ "SxSW Welcome An Australasian Talent Influx". Faster Louder. 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-02. 
  8. ^ "The Jack Awards Nominees Announced". 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2006-06-05. 

External links[edit]