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VIOLENT SOHO w/ DZ Deathrays + Dune Rats + The Gooch Palms – 10 May, 2016 – The Tivoli, Brisbane
If we were in the business of making profitable bets, then tonight’s sold out show at the Tivoli, the first for the nationally sold out Violent Soho ‘WACO’ tour, would give us due cause to invest heavily in the stocks of bucket hats, weed socks and those choker necklace things the chicks wear.
We meet up with a friend (let’s call him Jeoff) at the Jubilee to share in a precautionary pint for tonight’s revelry, and once done and dusted, we trudge up the road to join the line.
Entering the Tivoli, we jostle our way past the throngs of eager patrons trying to drop all their beer money at the merch table at 7:30pm (bloody amateurs), surf punks The Gooch Palms are already centre stage getting the early crowd warmed up. Direct from L.A. via Newcastle, this duo presents themselves as an intriguing prospect, and from the looks of the crowd, we’re not the only ones transfixed. Clad in their matching Adidas dealer jackets, The Goochies (Get it? Kind of like that shitty film from the 80’s, but like, your butt?) belt out a bunch of tracks, including new cuts Ask Me Why and Tiny Insight off their soon-to-be released album Introverted Extroverts, hitting a party sweet-spot that falls somewhere between Best Coast on angel dust, or the members of The B-52’s having kids, and said kids picking up instruments. Old mate Leroy Macqueen bring the riffs to the table and the best mullet we’ve seen this side of a Booval servo, while his partner in crime Kat Friend takes a standing swing at her minimalistic drum kit. She does it with a kooky and endearing demeanour that disregards her fast and loose approach to hair dye. While Jeoff tearfully laments the lack of a discernible kick drum, the crowd eats this shit up, with bobbing heads and tapping feet. Whatever a Gooch Palm is, get one. They’re catchy as fuck.
The lights come on, and we shift from the Tooheys to XXXX Gold. Two parts patriotism, to one part being old and having responsibilities (read: deadlines). Queues form and die out, piss breaks are taken and everyone gets ready for home-grown hippies Dune Rats. If there was a band that so perfectly encapsulated that 90’s sense of ‘get fucked, whatever’ slacker culture, it’s this band. But far from taking it easy, Danny Beusa and the boys crank the energy up to 11 and storm the stage with a thunderous rendition of Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana. Despite the sheer banality of its lyrical content, it’s still a bona fide jam and utterly infectious, which is evidenced by everyone fervently singing along, including those dastardly plutocrats up on the balcony level. Someone on YouTube once poignantly summed up the Dunies sound as ‘Adventure Time on acid’, and we can attest to that being 110% accurate. The Brissy three-piece speed through tracks like Superman and new banger Bullshit, talk about doing drugs in Thailand, say thanks to their Mums and even bust out a deadly cover of Violent Femmes’ Blister In The Sun. To cap off a stellar set, we catch a glimpse of some poor bastard letting his old fella loose and giving a red hot crack at nude crowd-surfing. Now that’s commitment to the cause.
Bathed once more in the house radiance, Jeoff and I set about restocking beers, protecting our lean-to vantage point from some Ivan Drago looking mouth-breather, and chuckle when a poor, lightweight girl takes a brief respite on the sound guy’s chair (presumably suffering from selfie fatigue) only to be unceremoniously booted. Unlucky love. As the lights dim, a huge banner reveals twin skulls emblazoned above the DZ Deathrays logo. With such a stylistic announcement, it’s no surprise that these Brissy boys pull off the most polished set thus far, with a sound that worms its way into our ears like the spasmodic fusion of Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, and a sex dungeon of bluesy rock riffs.
Shane Parsons’ vocals cut through the crowd’s roar, while he and touring member Lachlan Ewbank trade vicious guitar leads for buzz saw power chords. Simon Ridley’s rhythmic backbone punches along at a frightening pace, whipping the audience into a veritable frenzy, as the group thrashes through cuts from their latest record Black Rat. We hear the rollicking Gina Works At Hearts, which easily sports their best chorus, along with the sleazy pop of Reflective Skull and the angular fury of Less Out Of Sync. Their set blurs past a swelling audience, fuelled by a chaotic maelstrom of distortion and dirty deeds. Tonight’s crowd are the first to take in this WACO tour and it’s almost all-QLD bill, and as the DZ boys wrap up, the tension has them sitting like a tightly wound guitar string, anxiously waiting to get plucked.
Fortunately, the Tivoli have their shit sorted, because set times are running like a Swiss watch this evening. With minimal preparation, the lights fade out for the final time as we prepare to take in the main event: Brisbane’s favourite sons, Violent Soho. The first few notes of How To Taste, the opener to their newest record and tour namesake, ring out across the full room to rapturous chanting, all before Luke Boerdam’s empathic ‘Yeahhhhh!’ rips the place wide open. It’s likely that a good half of these kids don’t remember the era of grunge, and that’s just fine when you’ve got bands like Soho keeping the spirit alive and well. The four piece scream through a huge track list that pulls heavily from their new record WACO and the breakthrough Hungry Ghost. The call and response on ragers like Like Soda and In The Aisle is immense, leading guitarist James Tidswell and bassist Luke Henery to pace the stage with their luscious locks in perpetual tornado-like head bangs. At one point, we glimpse an enthusiastic punter slapping herself in the face mid-riff, almost as if she’s in a state of delirium and disbelief.
During the rousing So Sentimental, an inebriated daredevil manages to climb into the rafters and walk over the crowd across one of the lighting rig walkways. It’s clear that he’s a tad cooked, complete with gyrations and crotch grabs. Someone else gets in on the fun, but only has the stones to crawl across the walkway and look like they’re doing the worm. Pussy. As the song finishes, Tidswell diffuses the situation by calling them out and saying, “If you want to get up there and steal the show, then get naked.” Bluffs called and suitably shamed, the show must go on.
At one point, we glimpse an enthusiastic punter slapping herself in the face mid-riff, almost as if she’s in a state of delirium and disbelief.
Drummer Michael Richards gives a suitably inhuman performance on singles Viceroy, and the neo-classic Dope Calypso, beating his cymbals like they owe him money. Watching Violent Soho work the room, it’s almost hard to imagine that they’re the same group of dudes we saw play Club 299 to a handful of fans close to a decade ago, but we guess hard work pays off eventually, and these boys deserve all their credit and then some. They contrast their slower and more sombre moments like OK Cathedral, Fur Eyes and Slow Wave, with older jams like Neighbour, Neighbour and Son Of Sam. Playing for over an hour, Soho never suffer a dull moment, and this crowd are with them all the way, right to the obvious closer Covered In Chrome, which warrants an ear-shattering singalong.
Despite what the adult, ‘normie’ voting bloc and the fun police might tell you, the kids ARE alright and close to 1,500 people came to a gig tonight, had a good fucking time and went home before midnight. On a school night no less. They sipped, they spliffed and they soared. And tomorrow they’ll probably wake up with side-splitting hangovers and go on to make more terrible/excellent life choices. Hell fuck yeah. Hysteria out *drops mic*.