Saturday 3rd April, 2011.
Hard-Ons / Wicked City / DEAD
The Tote, Collingwood, Melbourne.
I was supposed to head down to the Nash in Geelong to see the Hard-Ons play the night before. Hell hath no fury like hayfever taking revenge on your body for something you must have done in a previous life. I missed out on seeing the almighty Hard-Ons and also a mates band, the awesome Muscle Car.
So when my head started to clear up like Delta Goodrem’s face on a late night infomercial, I was stoked to get on down to the Tote. No Muscle Car on this night but from what I later found, another force also to be reckoned with.
We got in there even before doors. I’ve said it before like many others and I’ll say it again, how fuckin awesome is it to see members of a band manning their own merch table. As we walked in Blackie was setting up. Sometimes you forget that they don’t know you like you “know” them. I said hey and shook his hand. Earlier in the day I was looking on the WeEmptyRooms site and found out that there is also an Australian version of the Hard-Ons / Manges split. I didn’t even realise. I asked Blackie if the one on the table was the Australian version, he shrugged, picked it up and had a look. It was overseas. Thank god, the moths in my wallet wouldn’t have allowed me to purchase another copy when I have the 3 o/s colours already!
I saw a kit being set up at the right side of stage, a bass player on the left. I thought, this looks pretty interesting. Fuckin understatement of the year!
When DEAD started playing they tore shreds of fuck from our heads. If King Buzzo’s break down took punk brutality out the back of the venue and violated it sexually to the extreme, DEAD would be the bastard child born to walk out and brutalise our senses. Frantic, frenzied, chaotic, rhythmic grooves, rumbling distortion and all mesmerising. I have never heard anything like it before and the drumming was fuckin mind blowing. Then again, so was the bass! DEAD are the reason you go to see live music, you have to go to see every band on a bill, that you even pick up an instrument and jump around on your bed only to bounce off and put your head through the wall. The bass was so loud that I could feel the denim on my skinny jeans trying to vibrate against my legs. The very fibres wearing through from the sheer energy coming up through the floor. The last song they played was pretty cool. During part of it bassist Jace was only whistling for a while as Jem drummed along on the snare rim and bass drum. Eerie and haunting groove.
The DEAD guys are also from Fangs Of… amongst other bands. They also run WeEmptyRooms, a record label reasonably new to my heart. A love of vinyl, random one off hand-made packaging and limited releases, kick arse music and awesome muso’s themselves. Perfect. I wonder how the power of the band killin it live would translate into a recording? "So we are waiting impatiently for our album to be mastered, at this stage there will be a cassette release in May for the South East Asia tour and then vinyl/download in August for USA tour and the rest of the universe". They're supporting Unstoppbale Death Machines for the U.S. tour.
Wicked City were up next. I saw them support Spiderbait and Money For Rope at The Meanies 21st Birthday Celebration at The Hi-Fi in June last year. Check out the Something Sweet gig review. Awesome riffed up carnage but tonight for me carnage was the word. After the longest running sound check in history we didn’t think there would me much time left for the set. To me wearing earplugs is like wearing a helmet when you’re skateboarding. It’s a good idea for your own health and safety but it just feels way too weird and throws out your balance. Once they were actually ready to start I was psyched to hear some kickin music but the vocals mix was just too painful to bare. I have been to some louds gigs in my time (Ministry still being one of the loudest to date!) but I just had to get the hell outta there! We went outside in the cold and it actually sounded better. Wasn't the band's fault and it was a pity as I know they’re a great band. I just can’t let it be so long between drinks before I see them again.
Funny point of interest, when the Wicked bass player Patto was leaning forward, with the lighting and his hair style he looked like Bob Downe… Not the best highlight, but we had a chuckle…
I like that feeling of finally arriving home after a long trip away when you go to see old favourites like the Hard-Ons. That sense of family, of finally catching up with old friends. You never lose touch and always have a soft spot for them but you just don’t get the time to see them as often as you’d like.
It seemed to be a bit of a mix of old fans, oddballs and a few punkers thrown in tonight, though all psyched to see the Hard-Ons blow the hell out of the Tote. It’s always balls to the wall full on with the guys. I love it. Never seen a show yet where they didn’t kill it, where Blackie didn’t rock out with the best guitar stance in the world and Ray didn’t throw out a much needed opinion on the knuckle heads on the planet. The Hard-Ons will always be one of the greatest bands you’ll see live.
There are too many highlights at any Hard-Ons gig to remember! The entire set, the comedic talents of Ray, the kick arse music and just being stoked to be a part of it!
I was standing on the left in front of Blackie and kept wondering who this girl was standing on the stage just next to Ray. First she was wandering through the crowd and must have been saying random things by the looks people were giving her. Then I noticed her up on stage. Then she started to get closer to Ray. I thought she must be friends with them or something. Then at the end of 'Don’t Wanna See You Cry' Ray said “No offence but can you get off the stage”. She wouldn’t budge! Ray got more and more stern as she wasn't listening. Blackie walked over to her and gave her a peck on the cheek! Blackie later told me that Ray had "asked her to get off because she was motioning her friends to come up with her". Check out the footage below.
It was a killer set as always. After I got a few things signed and chatted to the guys. Pete was saying Front End Loader are releasing a new album in May and set to tour. He said they still rehearse once a week. Psyched! Ritardando is to be released May 6th with a May / June tour to follow! I wanted to grab a photo with one of them as I was wearing my mates store t-shirt from the Netherlands (Vinyl Grove) and thought it would be cool to post on his Facebook page. When all of the band were on stage I asked them for a photo with all three. Too funny! I have never done that before! The guys are so giving of their time and fuckin cool. Thanx for a killer night and hanging out and chatting!
Check out my Facebook page for more photo's.
Thanx Guys... You're fuckin awesome!