Reviewed on Friday October 25

If there was any doubt concerning Australia’s current adoration of Brisbane four-piece Violent Soho, one need not have looked any further for clarification than an electrifying performance at a sold-out Oxford Art Factory.

In lieu of local act Housewives, who pulled out of the show earlier in the week, Brissy party rockers Dune Rats kicked things off in true Dunes style. Fans got down early to catch the trio, the floor almost at capacity by the time they began. Blazing through a dynamic set with signature exuberance, it stood testament to the band’s penchant for inciting good vibes.

Next up were Sydney’s own Straight Arrows. Tapped for the full run of dates alongside Violent Soho on their national tour, the hometown show saw the ’60s garage rock revivalists deliver an undeniably infectious performance, closing with catchy-as-hell favourite ‘Bad Temper’.

With beers flowing freely and a palpable buzz stirring throughout the room, Violent Soho took the stage to a veritable roar from below. Due to a relentless touring schedule that’s seen the outfit hit Sydney stages several times this year, fans knew what to expect – not that it hampered the joyful response as the band kicked into ‘Dope Calypso’, the opening track on new album Hungry Ghost. Over the next hour the same ecstatic energy could be felt in spades as the Sohos played a generous set comprised of tracks from Hungry Ghost as well as gems from their eponymous 2010 album. Tight and cohesive as a sonic unit while maintaining a sense of recklessness, the band performs with the confidence of almost a decade’s experience together, and it shows. The shared vigour in the room was epitomised towards the end of the night, with latest single ‘Covered In Chrome’ shouted back word-for-word and providing an ample backdrop for mass stage dives (and the dejected glares of security unable to dissuade revellers.)

Leaving the venue, a slightly older punter could be heard noting that the show made him reminiscent of the kind of excitement present when seeing ’90s alternative rock acts in his teens, and that ultimately sums it up. Youthful and vivacious, Violent Soho (not to mention Straight Arrows and Dune Rats) capture the unpretentious glee of everything a sweat-soaked, uniquely Australian rock show should be, and it’s little wonder they’re riding a wave of hype throughout the country at the moment.


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