LIVE REVIEW at The Underdog Sat July 12
Story by Matt Thrower
Photography by Rick Ng
With burlesque dancers performing eroticised Minnie Mouse and Princess Leia (Jabba Slave mode) routines, it’s clear that tonight is not your standard boozed up punk rock night. Using the 30th birthday of Thirteen Seventy’s Clint Morrow as an excuse, tonight we all have a beer for the late great Tommy Ramone and let the craziness ensue.
Looking like the most sunlight-deprived IT department on Earth, Galapagos sound even bleaker – rumbling, cosmically gloomy psych-rock and nihilistic, hilarious monologues delivered with deadpan authority. World is f*#@d.
Still, no need to despair. BMX-Rays are on-hand to wipe away our blues with no-frills punk rock and no shortage of humour. “Can we have more Phil Collins in the foldback?” sweary front dude Nathan requests at one point. This set is proven to work particularly well with beer.
Perhaps the most musically mysterious band of the evening is the aforementioned Thirteen Seventy, sounding at times like an updated take on the fuzz-drenched pop/rock of ‘90s outfits like Screamfeeder and Smudge, at others going for a sky-reaching psychedelic meltdown of the Explosions In The Sky variety. It’s a quite disorienting experience, but that’s also the set’s strength – we never quite know what’s coming next.
There are no such musical wormholes from the next act. Hits have gained a reputation as one of this city’s, heck, this NATION’S most compelling live bands. Their new album Hikikomori (produced by Radio Birdman/New Christs frontman Rob Younger) is deservedly copping massive amounts of critical acclaim, while their set is yet another paradoxical experience – self-hating punk rock that makes you feel ecstatic and alive. Backed with riffs that can take your eye out, frontman Evil Dick stalks the stage with red and white face paint, Stacey and Tamara provide the shouty Greek chorus and twin guitar attack, while Gregor and Andy B keep it anchored with their thumping rhythm section. No one leaves disappointed.