The Boston, Perth WA
October 7th, 2017
Feat. Scalpunter, Nerdlinger, Alex The Kid, The Lizards, The Beggars’ Way, Blindspot, Two for Flinching, The Bob Gordons, The Shakeys and Freak Vibe
“Try not to drink too much, you’re here to do a review”; I thought to myself as I walked through the doors at the Boston. Challenge not accepted. With ten bands on the bill and a title like Punktoberfest, I’d be doing myself and everyone else an injustice by not getting stuck into a few.
The first band on the line-up was FREAK VIBE who belted out a massive 15 track setlist. A feat in itself, for a half hour slot. The songs were short, but the set went from zero to a hundred, and stayed there. The sun had barely gone down and FV were already getting the growing crowd pumped, a great turn out for 5.30pm. An impressive take on The Kink’s ‘All Day and All of the Night’ was received well, and made for a welcome change in dynamics. Aaron’s kick and snare ramped up again for the last quarter of the set, finishing with ‘Take It Easy‘ and ‘Start a Band’. The perfect start to a night of King Browns of Swan Draught. FREAK VIBE brought some good… vibes.
Next up were The Shakeys, who brought some catchy hooks to the table. The classic-punk style catchy songs sounded somewhere between Letters to Cleo (remember that band from 10 things I Hate About You?) and a less distorted Bass Drum of Death. After hearing a couple of their newer tracks—especially ‘Punisher’ —I’ll be looking out for The Shakeys next release for sure. Their old-school vibe is a refreshing change to what I usually listen to, so they’ll definitely be getting a spin on the iPod.
The Bob Gordons took to the stage relatively sober, apparently marking Punktoberfest as a breakthrough gig for the band. Drunk or not, the BG’s were as tight as ever. ‘Too Drunk’ (lol) got the crowd involved, getting some middle fingers in the air and shouting “I Don’t Give a Fuck”. There’s something about swearing loudly in public. “I’m probably gonna get knocked out at some point for this, but until then let’s have a good night and drink up” stated Horse before ripping into ‘Fuck the UFC‘. Drink up we did.
It’s about here where my notes start getting borderline undecipherable. But I can discern from them that Two For Flinching had kicked arse again. Showing off their new guitarist Ben, the lads showed true musicianship in embracing change, delivering a killer set that could have fooled anyone into thinking Ben was a TFF veteran. He nailed the lead parts in ‘Super’, a song that sounds huge live. Jason Troode smacked away with the fast punk beats, keeping the snare and kick on point. The only thing that was missing was that 3rd microphone, but the Breaking Punk man himself Leigh Shea… Ahem, Stearne held down the backing vocals nicely. My notes say Matt Hatton’s fly kept coming down, I’m not sure why I found that relevant at the time, but it might say something about Hatton’s energy on stage. He rocked his fly down.
Feedback squealed as Melbourne’s The Beggars’ Way prepared to rip into their set. Drummer Glen McDonald had a tight drum sound and made for good entertainment as he mimed the words to the songs as he played. The 3 Vocals up front complimented each other nicely, sometimes a chorus of chants, sometimes ‘whoah-oh’s’. A likeness to Hot Water Music’s calmer stuff, The Beggars’ Way make for good beer-drinking, arm-around-your-mate singalongs. My picks were ‘Heavy Heart’ and ‘Bridges and Bones’.
I was pretty keen to see Blindspot play, having gotten a good rap from various other people in Perth’s punk scene. Aaron drinks a pint at mid stage, sporting a beautiful, traditional German dress. “We take ourselves seriously” he announces. The boys don’t hold back at all, riffing out hard with ‘My Mate Nick’, Chanting “he’s a mad c***!”. Another one of those phrases guaranteed to get a response from the crowd. Slowing it down in ‘Thin Ice’ for a bit of a breakdown and then finishing with a Star Wars themed ‘Ska Wars‘, Blindspot were loads of fun. If you weren’t having fun at this point, you probably had your head in the shitter or you just simply aren’t a Mad C***.
The only three-piece band on the bill had a sound just as big as any of the others. The Lizards from Adelaide got the thrash out, but boasted some clever intricacies in their set such as the clever snare drum intro in ‘Your 2 Cents‘. At this point the solid crowd were well and truly warmed up and had a bit more movement about them. It was hard to not feed off The Lizards aggression on stage, with big lead breaks, power stances and long hair in full swing, it was hard not to throw out a ‘Yeewww!’ after each song of the set.
Alex the Kid delivered a high energy set and I especially liked the group vocals that were expertly layered, weaving in and out of each other in a way that couldn’t be ignored. Unfortunately I missed the start of the set due to the ATM being down at the Boston; I was next door at Rosie O’Grady’s remedying the cash situation, as to not fall out of this Swan Draught stupor that I was happily stuck in. The remainder of ATK’s set was well executed punk rock, simply put. The vocal style—mainly in terms of delivery—had A Wilhelm Scream come to mind. Exciting band to watch, the boys from Geraldton are killing it.
A few songs into the set Nerdlinger got the crowd into a crouch position before exploding into what I believe was a killer track called ‘Hostages‘. The punters were right into the spirit of things at this point, and the crowd rocked and pulsed with every accent of Nerdlinger’s tracks. Finishing on the melodic track ‘Twenty Five‘. “This one goes out to everyone still paying attention” states Scotty McNairn as he clinks his wine glass with someone front of stage. With a live show that tight and well rehearsed, Nerdlinger demand attention.
Finally the boys from Scalphunter took the stage to belt out a heap of new tracks from their new album Lies. There was a lull of quiet—at least from the stage, the ambience of The Boston was far from tame—before Scalphunter struck their first chords. When they did, I nearly lost my footing (probably not hard at this point). I don’t want to say it was a wall of sound, but that’s what it was, you had to be there. These guys have a live show that is all kinds of exciting, Steve gets among the crowd with mic in hand, Matt has himself a crowd-surf as he guitar solos, an inflated condom sails overhead. Closing out their set, they had various members of the other bands on stage and probably some that weren’t in bands at all. A classic example of the camaraderie in the Perth punk scene. The worst thing about Scalphunter’s set is that it wasn’t long enough. Check out Lies, and seriously, go and see these guys in action.
Punktoberfest was truly one of those nights that I wish never ended. When you can go out alone, see a heap of great local and interstate acts and chat with random like-minded people about music, you know the scene is at a high point. Stoked with the efforts of Mark Gregson and Leigh Stearne on getting it off the ground, looking forward to the next Breaking Punk gig—but not the following morning.
Review by Rory McDonald
The Bob Gordons
Two For Flinching
The Beggars Way
Alex The Kid