Punks Against Poverty
The Boston, Northbridge WA
March 31st, 2017
Featuring: Blindspot, Scalphunter, Bläckwitch, Stumped, Lionizer and Hope Street
This was the third in a series of shows raising funds for Street Smugglers, a group who fights homelessness and helps to educate the community. With wonderful performances by all the bands and a strong turnout, it was a great night for all.
Hope Street kicked things off early, bringing their staple energy to a growing crowd of punters. Not only did the band sport a brand spanking new bass player to the show, but they also played some new material (Back to the Grave?) from their upcoming album. The new song wasn’t as aggressive as some of their older work but it did give vocalist, Owen Williams a chance to push his voice into some new regions – and the result was impressive. It contrasted well with their older material and proved that the band is growing as songwriters and aren’t afraid to expand their sound. Hope Street finished off their set the fan favourites This is Our Home and On To The Next One.
The Boston was still filling up as Lionizer hit the stage. It’s great to see a band that has their vocal harmonies dialled in, and Lionizer has done just that. The dual vocals of guitarist Vez Litten and drummer Bailey Lioniser have a great dynamic, and it’s never overused. Much like Hope Street before them, Lionizer also have a new bass player and they played new material from an upcoming album. Everything about this band is well thought out, from the use of backing vocals to the counter melodies coming from bassist Cliff Wieczorek. It all works and shows that these punks are clearly working hard at their craft and the result is fantastic. They also managed to get people dancing which is no mean feat that early in the night.
If Lionizer were professionally polished, then Stumped were unashamedly sloppy. Not in a bad way – the chaos is exactly what gives this band its charm. Which isn’t to say they weren’t tight when they needed to be, in fact, the harder the song the tighter they seemed to get – Dan Taylor, especially, shredding it on bass. Either way, most people can’t even play as fast as these guys, let alone keep any semblance of musicality. The best part is that these guys have just as much fun playing on stage as the crowd has dancing to them. Being able to keep the crowd moving is a tough job but Stumped pulled it off. They even managed an unexpected cameo from members of both Blindspot and Two For Flinching.
If Scalphunter know anything it’s how to make an entrance and that’s exactly what they did – opening their set with the fury that they are famous for. But you would expect nothing less from the kings of speed rock. Fronted by the incredibly talented Steve Knoth, Scalphunter turn punk rock into high art. Theirs is more than just a rock show, it’s a performance piece. It’s not that they are engaging in theatrics (at all) but it’s the unrelenting energy and enthusiasm backed by the sheer intensity of their music that makes their live show so special. Even when Knoth is talking to the crowd in between songs he gives it the same intensity as his singing, every word keeping to a tune. Their set was an absolute ripper and it finished off with the crowd-pleasing There Will Be Change.
Tonight was the night for Bunbury’s Bläckwitch to release their new album, Sealed in Blood, and the crowd marked the occasion by cramming as close to the stage as possible. Bläckwitch bring an old school heaviness to their sound – think Sabbath or Deep Purple infused with modern hardcore sensibility. It’s a unique sound but pleasantly familiar, and probably a part of why the crowd responds so well. It’s hard not to love what they’re doing. Given that their entire set seemed to be new material it wasn’t clear if the crowd knew the words to their songs to the songs going in, but whatever the case they sure didn’t mind trying to sing along throughout the set.
Blindspot were down a member but were lucky enough to be joined by the delightful Andy Storey, filling in on bass. They opened their set with Breakfast Beers, a song which is a perfect encapsulation of the Blindspot sound and attitude. It wasn’t long until the stage was rushed by the crowd – including the entire Stumped lineup – but that’s just the type of show it is, and it’s all the better for it. With a set that included music from as far back as their first album all the way through to their latest EP, it was hard not to get excited. Blindspot finished up with Ska Wars, but not before inviting anyone and everyone to jump up on stage and sing along – whether they knew the words or not. And plenty did. Although the crowd chanted for one more song, it seemed like the band was at their limit and did not oblige. But you gotta leave ‘em wanting more, right?
Review by – Dave Mullins
Photo Gallery courtesy of event organiser Kim Anderson. Big ups to Kim and everyone behind the scenes for the work they did raising funds for Street Smugglers. Get in touch if you want to contribute and help out here :
Punks Against Poverty