Poor British India. In recent years it seems like everything that could go wrong for the band has wound up happening. From troubles with their distributor to their old rehearsal space being flooded and then a show at The Metro only being half-full. But these guys are resilient buggers and they don’t let things like that stop them from putting on a great show. They came out with their guns a-blazing and were able to showcase their fine blend of defiant rock.

But firstly there was the Sydney debut for The Love Junkies, a young trio from Perth. They proved an excellent choice of opening act as their young and hungry rock music was in some ways quite similar to the headliners. The boys had their own heady blend of bratty punk, blues and grunge references chucked into the mix, meaning they could go from sounding like Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana and then to Clash and The Black Keys within minutes.

Guitarist, Mitch McDonald was in rather good form and proved to the audience that he is a very talented musician. In one song you could’ve sworn he was playing “Foxy Lady” at quadruple speed while another riff hinted at Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”. McDonald screeched like a banshee and along with his mates helped create fast music that could hold its own along contemporaries like Papa vs. Pretty and Step-Panther.

They put on one helluva guitar-fuelled racket. Recent single “Maybelene” piqued your interest and was almost like you were being picked up by the scruff of your collar. In much the same way, “Oxymoron” built on this earlier energy and momentum. The band proved to be a little rough and raw, but they’re definitely ones to watch and be sure to check out their recordings online because you won’t be disappointed.

British India may have been plugging their fourth studio album, Controller but their set began with a quick trip back to 2009 with “You Will Die & I Will Take Over”. This was the perfect opportunity to use their old tunes to lull people into the new material. The Controller songs certainly gel well with the oldies as they often fit the same mould of defiant rock (with the exception of a few rare cuts where the music has been slowed down – at least by their standards – to create something more epic and grandiose).

The name of British India‘s game is to create one ultimate party out of feedback, fury and distortion. At times the guitar rock is throwaway and the songs blend into one fun, long and hedonistic mix that is probably better placed at a festival because it’s like a huge all-nighter or scene from The Hangover. In many ways the guys are like AC/DC in that they’ve produced a number of albums that haven’t messed with the “formula” too much. Instead, they stick with what they know best, i.e. fist-pumping guitar rock with hooks, dirty riffs and passionate drum beats.

“Blinded” was one of the first new songs to get people moving along to the eighties-infused, pub rock guitar. It was a raw and coarse number that was reminiscent of those bad old days where you had a beer with your mate at the local which was served up with a cloud of thick, heavy cigarette smoke. There were no poker machines either, just a band playing furiously and drenched in power and volume.

New single, “Summer Forgive Me” was played fast and this sharp fury had people dancing and playing some air-guitar (or at least wanting to) while “We Don’t Need Anyone” was as caustic and energetic as The Living End’s finest. Old favourites like: “Tie Up My Hands”, “God Is Dead (Meet The Kids)” and “Vanilla” were played with a spirited vengeance and although Declan Melia’s vocals were delivered in their usual way, they weren’t too whiny.

The boys put on one red-hot set and proved themselves to be a rather tight band. There were plenty of riffs worthy of the status of “Million dollar” ones plus drunken dancing, rumbling bass and tub-thumping drums. The set had some real gold towards the end with “I Said I’m Sorry” and “I Can Make You Love Me”. The latter track – one voted into this year’s Triple J Hottest 100 – was not the gentle affair like the recorded version, but was more like a sharp left hook to your cheek and hit to your heart. It was brilliant!

The band returned for an encore which included a mash-up of “This Ain’t No F**king Disco” and “Black & White Radio”. A circle pit formed in “Houseparty” but this had been eclipsed by the band’s two best songs at the end of the main set. Not that the audience minded, they were just like mirror images of the enthusiastic rock band that were giving it all on stage.

The Metro was a pumping heartbeat of rock this Saturday night. These angry young men had entertained a small but devoted crowd with their party-flavoured rock tunes that made you want to pump your fists, shake it up and dance. It also proved that Controller may be this year’s best kept secret. But remember that you heard it here first.

Originally published on 14 April 2013 at the following website:

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