Reviewed on Wednesday February 5
Up first, Sydney’s Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys are a filthy mess. And is there anything prettier than fully committed filthy mess? The Sydney dudes are lovers of boozy college rock and all three vocalists separately tried out their best Paul Westerberg impersonations. Of course they fell short, but the attitude was right on the mark and this (along with hilarious banter) made you want to hear more.
Before leaving the stage, Bad Boys bassist Nic Warnock noted that you don’t have to wait for big festivals to see great bands; gigs of tonight’s ilk happen every week in Sydney. This was the perfect segue into Total Control, who aptly exhibited the fierce innovation in Australian underground music. The Melbourne six-piece doesn’t align with any recent trends and the fervour running through the packed room illustrated the canonical status of 2011 LP Henge Beat.The majority of the songs played tonight are more than two years old but favourites such as ‘Retiree’ and ‘One More Tonight’ were still deployed with forceful necessity. Dan Steward’s haranguing baritone presided over the kraut-punk backdrop and the band’s intense authenticity effectively screamed ‘who gives a fuck?’
Brooklyn-based quartet Parquet Courts (playing with a fill-in drummer on this tour) reek of music fandom, but they’re not good by virtue of the bands they recall. The fact is, no-one actually sounds like them, nor causes the same sensation. Tonight they gave us a hit-heavy set, which sounds like an exaggerated statement but the momentum didn’t drop during their sweat-splattered hour onstage.
After introducing some lesser-known numbers, they launched into an eight-song sequence drawn from last year’s triumph Light Up Gold. This commenced with Austin Brown’s sarcastic ‘Master Of My Craft’, swiftly moved into Andrew Savage’s demanding ‘Borrowed Time’, and continued right up to the ascending desperation of ‘Stoned And Starving’.
Throughout, the diverse crowd demonstrated its rapture in various ways: youthful libido prompted stage diving and crowd-surfing aplenty, while the considerable greying contingent submitted to the watt-stressing onstage display, grabbing back some of their youth in the process. Tonight, Parquet Courts confirmed that their minimal punk drive, lyrical irreverence, immersive instrumentals and general ease – well, it’s uniquely theirs.