Their positive band name goes hand-in-hand with the shiny and optimistic pop tunes they produce. The opening band of the evening was a duo known as Sures and they were joined by two additional members for the show. With their set-up, composition and music, some comparisons to Cloud Control seemed apt, if not inevitable.
The group’s half hour set started with a swirling rock number tinged with some sixties psychedelia sounds. It was a rocking ditty about dreams while the following tracks were slightly heavier but still managed to retain the brightness from before. It was basically the kind of thing that’s usually synonymous with the likes of R.E.M., Last Dinosaurs, et al. They offered the track, “Poseidon” plus a cover of Kylie Minogue’s hit, “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. The latter made me think of Expatriate crossed with Deep Sea Arcade but delivered by a laidback surfer type and with none of those pesky “La la las”. In short, it was thirty minutes that brimmed with infectious music and more bubbly goodness than a soda stream. Nice.
The &Dimes DJ followed with some cool Triple J playlist songs mixed in with some old favourites. There were hits by Blur, Vampire Weekend and The Strokes with punters delighting in hollering along to “Reptilia” in particular. There were also some surprise cuts like “Respect,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Jessie’s Girl” (by Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins and Rick Springfield, respectively) plus the more typical “Bust A Move,” “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and “It’s Tricky”.
Bleeding Knees Club are a bunch of punks that seem to sit somewhere between the snotty cheek of Straight Arrows and the slack apathy of Step-Panther. Their songs are furious and played with the breakneck speed of an outta control freight train. Clearly influenced by the Ramones, they squeezed in a good dozen or so songs into a 40-minute set.
There were plenty of spat-out lyrics, screams and “woahs”. In “California Eyes” they took some of the big, brash rickshaw guitarwork the Buzzcocks pedal and amplified it to the max. The crowd lapped all this up but Jordan Malane (guitars) wasn’t completely convinced and said, “I reckon you guys could get a bit crazier”. And that’s all it took to kick-start the mayhem and push the crowd over the line from composure to reckless abandon.
Goodgod Small Club holds 200 people and it doesn’t have a particularly high roof but that didn’t stop people crowd-surfing. Don’t ask how, if I hadn’t seen it for myself I probably wouldn’t have been convinced. This tomfoolery almost made a casualty out of the low-slung PA but these soldiers of punk pressed on. Malane was clearly undeterred, because at one point he channeled a young, aggressive Pete Townshend as he hit his guitar on the ceiling. Sadly, the show didn’t turn the guitar into a smash victim, but it seemed like the punk casualty toll rose to include a few bruised bodies and many a sore head.
The kids didn’t need reminding but “Have Fun” certainly provided copious amounts of hard pleasure with lots of dancing and head nodding. There were probably people who never equate public dancing with fun but tonight was about not giving a toss and just moving. This enjoyment also continued when a bunch of people got on-stage for a scene reminiscent of an Iggy Pop show. It was no fun, no way, as this invitation culminated in a crazy cloud of hard, sonic jams and hair flicks.
The guys continued their no-brainer punk with lots of catchy riffs in just three chords, thudding bass and the simple plan to kick out the jams to these motherf**kers. There was a thrashing, “Bad Guys” and a raw and ramshackle, “Nothing To Do”. The closer was a fuzzy “Teenage Girls” where one enthusiastic guy almost took out the disco ball before a number of people left, having had their fill of loud and fiery tunes for one evening.
The Drums DJ set was also great fun. It could basically be summed up as “Get your best friend to man the decks with some fat beats while you pose for an endless line of photographs”. Well, if you’re frontman, Jonathan Pierce that’s kind of how your night went. Of course, this is not to undermine the fine work he did while mixing and dancing.
This bracket was about not acting too cool for school. Instead, Pierce pulled out some of the same shameless moves he does with enthusiasm and ease at The Drums’ gigs. While it’s the kind of thing most people would leave for the confines of their bedroom and an audience of just a mirror, it seems like Pierce relishes it and probably hams it up even more so for the crowd. In doing so, he is cooler and certainly more down-to-earth than his contemporaries who are also musicians that occasionally moonlight as DJs.
The Drums were absolute goofs and turned the affair into a boys club behind the decks. They started with some Gorillaz and would go on to play New Order’s “Here To Stay”. The punters meanwhile, took a page out of the latter’s defunct Madchester club, The Haçienda, and danced, danced away in a darkness that was disrupted by the many flashes coming from various cameras (and more of this kind of illumination than the light coming off the disco ball). They played Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”. Yes, really and this got Pierce even more fired up and animated (possibly even more so then during one of The Drums’ biggest choruses at their own shows) as his bandmates giggled and cringed next to him.
The set – like much of the evening – was silly and fun as Pierce was in his element playing both the decks and the crazed madman dancing. So much so that most people would be looking forward to seeing him repeat it all over again the following night down the road at their headline gig at the Metro. Bring it on…
Originally published on 9 February 2012 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/sydney/live-review-bleeding-knees-club-the-drums-djs-dimes-djs-sures-goodgod-small-club-07-02-2012
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