Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hard-Ons. 23-7-2010.

Useless Children
Friday 23-7-2010.
East Brunswick Club, Melbourne.

(As posted on Word On The Street)

It’s constantly on my mind, the resurgence of the old school legendary bands making a comeback. Mainly because they seem to be the only bands I’ve seen lately. Some broke up and some may have just taken a break. Some just never went away and kept on doing what they do best, rock. The Hard-Ons are one such band, apart from a 4 year hiatus, for 25 years they’ve consistently stayed at the forefront of ball grinding punk. It’s great seeing these bands again and even refreshing to see when I walked into the East Brunswick Club, Ray Ahn was writing the set lists while sitting at the merch table. Ahhh the good ol’ days.

Useless Children had just started when I got there and came at me fiercely. They were aurally intimidating, cutting and abusive in every sense. Just the sheer level of distorted screaming from the drummer was immense. Coming at you like the souls of 1000 tormented children in eternal pain. It was awesome. Useless’ sound is bipolar punk. From the rhythmic and hypnotic grooves to the manic chaos that ensued. The punters looked on but some weren’t so sure. Later during the Hard-Ons set Ray seemed quite impressed comparing them to the current wave of bands coming through, they’re “more punk than some of those kick boxing bands going around”. Check out the Useless Children LP Sky Is Falling, it features an awesome 3D sleeve complete with glasses!

It’s been years since I’ve seen the Hard-Ons. Is it age, on my part, or are the Hard-Ons getting more hardcore as the years go by? Bludgeoning the front row with their punk rock ethos. As Blackie added between songs “It’s not life changing rather than life threatening”. Without Keish they lack the surf-punk style vocals, one of the things that originally drew them to attention but they certainly make up for it in kick arse attitude.

Blackie and Ray still ripping up front and it’s like you’re standing in your mates lounge room watching them play. Chatting to the crowd, remembering old friends, this is for my “favourite person in Melbourne. This is for Kevin”, Blackie adds to Rays thoughts, he’s “alteast top 5”. Ray looks over…”what are we doing?”. The joy is seeing Pete Kostic make those drums bleed. I’m hoping for a trifecta. He recently played at the East Brunswick Club with Regurgitator, now Hard-Ons, I’m hoping he will bring Front End Loader back in another few weeks. He seems pretty chilled until you see him up behind his kit where the power’s thrown down.

They may be in their 40’s, but the Hard-Ons will still take the skin off your face kickin it live and even add in some comedic relief along the way. When talking about the comfort of throwing the horns in the air at a metal gig and all the yelling between songs, Ray adds “the lead singer from Opeth sounds like he’s calling a snooker game”!

The band mainly covered material from their latest release ‘Alfalfa Males Once Summer Is Done Conform Or Die’, with Cigarettes, Feisty, Pretend It’s Vanilla and Near The Casino amongst others but it was they pulled out the classics like Don’t Wanna see You Cry from 1989’s Love Is A Battlefield Of Wounded Hearts and especially Think About You Every Day from 1986’s Smell My Finger that you could feel the love in the room. The classics will always get the crowd going.

For me, the Hard-Ons nailed it. As mentioned, Ray applauded Useless Children being more punk than most, but I think the Hard-Ons have taken it to a new level. I’ll just repeat what Blackie said, don’t wait so long to come next time.

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