Few names invoke as much majesty in the world of melodic death metal than Swedish …
MARMOZETS with Vacations
Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney
Wednesday July 18th, 2018
After rising, falling and rising once more, the Lansdowne Hotel is in the midst of an identity crisis.
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From the outset, the historic Sydney venue doesn’t look like more than your average watering hole. Tired tradies go in, happy drunkards come out, and the world keeps spinning exactly the way it always does. But when the lights are cut and the upstairs PA gets cranked all the way up to 11, the Lansdowne becomes a scuzzy punk hub the likes of which simply aren’t suited for the faint of heart.
Their policy on moshing? I actually have no fucking idea, but I do know that punters will thrash their limbs to shit regardless, as will the floor become a toxic mess of sweat and spilled beer. It’s just the spirit of the Lansdowne—which makes it the perfect venue to host a viciously off-chops set from UK math-punks Marmozets. The first of their two intimate Splendour In The Grass sideshows, the five-piece were not letting Sydney stand idle for their hour of sheer, unremitting chaos.
Brewing the hype for it was a 30-minute showcase from the local vibe-rockers in Vacations. Their laidback brand of smoke-soaked pop-punk had us in a trance from start to end, lashings of tight reverb and hazy, pseudo-placid vocal melodies washing over us with a palpable warmth. The quartet were admittedly reserved in their ardour, instead placing all focus on noodling and musing to the best of their abilities. And for that, we’ll admit it: these blokes probably weren’t the right choice to open this show. Marmozets live and breathe ferocity, so to have their opener be an act so lowkey was nothing short of perplexing.
But at face value, we have no real complaints. Not a note off-beat did Vacations stray for the whole duration of their set; frontman Campbell Burns sung with inescapable passion, strumming some inhumanly brilliant lines to home his every quip, too. The setlist was mostly built on cuts from their debut full-length, Changes, and with the LP only two months old, it shouldn’t come as any sort of shock to know that the jams felt as fresh as our beer was cold (and our beer was stupidly cold).
However placid the crowd were for the opener’s set, all hell broke loose once Marmozets darted out. The venue’s capacity sits at a tight 250, and even though it wasn’t sold out, space to move was limited with the mosh a hot-tempered blur of elbows and shins when the band launched into defining jam Move, Shake, Hide. It’s the quintet’s first time down under since 2015 (where they were also in tow for Splendour In The Grass), and amped up with a new record of pulverising party-starters, the band and their fans shared a caustic, incandescent energy.
And though the vibe was as loose as a first grader’s shoelaces, the band themselves were impossibly tight. There was a venomous rage to every soul-crumbling guttural that Becca spat, heavier cuts like Meant To Be and Particle proving that if she were to ever ditch the band for a hardcore setup, she’d have no worries behind the mic. But the frontwoman was expectedly dynamic, swerving into an angelic, honey-sweetened hum on more atmospheric numbers like Captivate You and the anthemic Run With The Rhythm.
Her brothers were similarly eager to flaunt their talents, Sam a force to be reckoned with spinning rhythms so fierce that if you were there and didn’t find yourself involuntarily shaking your butt, a trip to the doctors might be in order; and Josh, behind the kit, pushing the PA to the limit with every merciless cymbal crash and rumbling thwack of the rack toms. Will Bottomley’s suave bass tones were often buried in the mix, but when they shined through, they did so with a brightness that puts any mere solar eclipse to shame. And the sheer violence of the riffs that his brother Jack yielded on the lead guitar… Fuck, mate. (Please don’t) calm down.
The setlist offered a solid balance of Marmozets’ two (phenomenal) albums, with cuts from this year’s Knowing What You Know Now—the vicious Habits, sprightly Major System Error and grandiose Like A Battery all notable standouts—gelling with Weird And Wonderful (2014) standouts like Why Do You Hate Me? and Is It Horrible?
When all is said and done, it’s mind-boggling that Marmozets aren’t playing bigger venues here by now. The scope of their pandemonium far outweighs the cramped confines of such a minuscule pub stage, and given a platform like the 800-cap Factory Theatre (which they could easily fill with the right promo campaign), we’re certain they would conjure an absolute mecca of a show. But even in their current state, the boisterous Brits made the most of what they had, and poured every ounce of their spirits into making us leave with the highest of them.
Hopefully their next tour isn’t another three years away (and makes it to more than a couple of cities, so our mates in all the major states can cop a taste of the Marmies’ mania).
Marmozets are currently on tour across Australia. Catch them at the following dates:
Thursday July 19th – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
Friday July 20th – Splendour In The Grass, Byron Bay SOLD OUT
Tickets on sale now via marmozets.co.uk