The Bennies Bongnanza
The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne VIC
April 20th 2017 (420, mother fucker!)
Supported by: Dedmedics
The Bennies were so fucking great. Just so wonderful. They celebrated marijuana with abandon both belligerent and positive in equal measure on a day close to the hearts of official stoners everywhere. Their rapturously stoned and immersed crowd did likewise, and there wasn’t a wet eye in the house as a result. For one all-too- brief night, The Evelyn Hotel became a time machine somewhere in to the presumably near future (or just a teleportation device to modern-day Berlin), where Melbourne – nay, the world – takes a more open-minded approach to people’s bodies being their own fucking business. If folks want to smoke weed, let them smoke. Don’t you reckon? Some folks don’t like gluten, others love pineapple on their pizza, and a small group of folks in the world like to blaze the devil’s lettuce. Gambling ruins millions more lives than a conservative government could ever imagine weed would, and it’s advertised during family programming down here in Australia. What say we keep gross contradictions like that in mind, and let folks have their red-eyed and hungry fun while on their few short trips around our ancient and indifferent sun?
“Let’s hot box The Evelyn” gleefully stammered Anty, (The Bennies’ front man/ modern stoner rock deity) at the beginning of the show, and hot boxed it was… with aplomb. Nary a gob in the house didn’t have a jay or the occasional stray bong wackily jammed or classily passed in/ through/ down it throughout the extremely blazed band’s short-and- sweet set. It’s really awesome that security didn’t give a shit about any of it, and management never once even looked like shutting the gig down. Contrarily, several dudes from the venue casually graced the stage a few times with Melbourne tinnies to help the band get rid of their understandably dry mouths. The Ev deserves a huge, huge kudos for taking that risk; if the cops got (literal) wind of the show’s pretext and decided they didn’t like it, the joint (pardon the pun) would have been in a truck load of trouble, lawfully and financially.
They also had a horn section and an awesome DJ. Who plays a trombone that well while cripplingly high? The brass section played out of their skin, and musically lifted the whole show ten-fold. Oh yeah, there was a rap group supporting them whose name I have to Google just now because I can’t immediately remember it just this second for some reason… it was Dedmedics. They were pretty fun, although the crowd wasn’t really packed in to watch, because they were all outside right then for… some reason. I think the dudes understood.
Anyway, what else is there to say? Some kid hung off the rafters a few times above a surprisingly excitable mosh pit, every single song was about weed, partying, and being high on life (or whatever else), and not a person in the venue didn’t leave without a beaming smile on their pink, glassy little faces.
Good for you, The Bennies. You pushed legal boundaries, raised spirits across Melbourne, put on a ripper show despite indulging in enough cannabis to kill a donkey, and started the gig early so folks could go home and play Mario Kart. What a wonderful thing. It was Nimbin all over again… sorry if the photos are a bit blurry.
Review and Photo Gallery by Todd Gingell
Please credit Wall of Sound and Photographer if you repost.