Brisbane-based pop group Cub Sport debuted at #1 on this week’s ARIA Albums Chart with their fifth studio album, Jesus At The Gay Bar.
Club Sport was formed in early 2010 with Tim Nelson on lead vocals, Sam “Bolan” Netterfield on keyboards and vocals, Zoe Davis on keyboards, bass guitar, lead guitar and vocals, and Dan Puusaari on drums. Jesus At The Gay Bar is the band’s second ARIA top 10 album.
Their fourth album Like Nirvana (2020) peaked at Number 2 on the Australian music charts.
First #1 Album
The band took to social media to celebrate their success. “This is such an important chapter of our story and to see it connect like this is more than we could have hoped for,” the band posted on social media.
“We’ve been a band for over a decade and to achieve our first #1 record with our fifth album is so cool. A beautiful reminder to trust the journey… and if you believe in something, stick with it. So proud of the four of us for the years of hard work and for building to this moment as a self-managed and independent band. Above all, we’re so grateful to our beautiful fans – thank you for making this dream come true!”
The new album also debuted at Number 2 on the vinyl chart.
“Cub Sport are an incredible home-grown act who absolutely deserve to be celebrated. Congratulations to the band and their team for an incredible triumph, particularly as an independent band. All of us at ARIA are thrilled to be welcoming another Australian album to the top of the charts,” ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd said in a statement.
”We Dated In Secret’
Nelson told NPR that the album’s title was inspired by a poem by Jay Hulme. “(The poem) basically depicts Jesus at a gay bar. A boy comes up to him asking to be healed of his gayness, and Jesus tells him, my child, there’s nothing in this heart of yours that ever needs to be healed.”
“For me, growing up in a pretty religious world, being told that who I was and my sexuality was something that I should be ashamed of and that I did need to be healed from, reading this poem, like, really impacted me,” Nelson told NPR.
Nelson revealed that he and his bandmate Sam had dated since they were teenagers. “We had dated in secret for a year when we were 17 and then spent the eight years after that kind of trying to deny the fact that we were in love.”
Backlash Over Album’s Title
The album’s title did receive some backlash online. In a post on Facebook, Nelson said he wanted to emphasise why queer visibility was important, especially in religion.
“People have called ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ blasphemous and a mockery but to see it like that misses the point. I’m really grateful to all of the accepting people of faith who have left supportive comments and DMs – your acceptance is saving lives,” Nelson said.
“I’m not a Christian but I don’t think Jesus can be gate-kept and queer people should be allowed to be part of faith and religion if they want to.”
“Also, to the people informing me that it’s ‘bad marketing’ to ‘alienate 2/3 of the audience,’ I can assure you that this is not about catering to the masses and being who I think they want me to be. I already did that for 25 years of my life. This is about authenticity, creating a space where people like me feel safe and seen,” said Nelson, adding, “I’m not looking for success in an existing landscape. I’m trying to break down walls and open up a space that hasn’t been filled before.”