Amplifier Bar, Perth
25th April 2018
Supports: Castle Bravo and Alex The Kid
Apart from seeing your all-time favourite band, the best gigs to go to are the ones with a small, devoted crowd. At Amplifier Bar on the 25th of April, everyone was there for the pure joy and unadulterated fun of seeing Good Riddance live, no more and no less, and as a result it was one of the best gigs I have been to in a long time.
Kicking off the nights festivities were Castle Bravo, otherwise known in small circles as Castle Fucking Bravo, thanks to super fan Angharad Omodei. Dubbed Castle Fucking Bravo, because they are fucking awesome and are easily the most underrated local band in the Perth punk scene. Comprised of four talented musicians whose experience in playing their instruments, really translates on the stage, by the end of the second song ‘Hide’ the crowd certainly seemed to appreciate the punk rock sensibilities of the band. A few hiccups throughout the first few songs, did not derail the band, whose live performance mirror the sounds of their recorded music. After ‘Hey You’ the band relaxed into it, joking with the crowd, with the main banter coming from drummer, Blake ‘Dicko’ Dickson. Ploughing from one impressive guitar breakdown in ‘Australian Genocide’ to another great guitar riff and vocal performance by Todd Fishwick in ‘A Way Out’, the crowd was certainly feeling it with one member loudly commenting “that was fucking sick”. By the final song, local favourite ‘Higher’, the crowd were totally on board the Castle Fucking Bravo train and showed their appreciation with enthusiastic cheering and clapping. Personally, I was totally stoked that Castle Bravo got the support slot for Good Riddance, because, unlike other support acts at other gigs, their sound complements Good Riddance, and because they really do deserve more exposure as a band.
Despite now being in their late 20’s, Alex The Kid are like your younger brother and his stoner friends formed a band, and I mean that as a term of endearment. The lads, best known for playing Triple J’s One Night Stand in Geraldton two years ago, just love to play live. They put their heart and soul into the performance, getting into the groove of things, by jumping around, rocking out and generally throwing themselves into it. Seriously just check out the photos by Kim Anderson, to see what I mean. Launching into ‘Unbearable Kid’, the crowd were swept up by the infectiousness of Alex The Kid’s skater punk sounds with their head banging, and Aussie twanged vocals performed by singer James Matthews and bassist Trent Brand. Performing songs from their album Speak Up and their EP’s, the boys showed a more melodic side with songs such as ‘Vinyls’, aggression with ‘Tenderloins’ and their love for all things pot with ‘Let’s Blow This Joint’. By the last song ‘Skate or Lie’ a small crowd decided to kick things off with some serious moshing, which led to some irate security guards keeping an eagle eye on one patron who, drunk as he might have been, was just enjoying himself.
Coming onto the stage to music sounding like something composed by Ennio Morricone, Good Riddance commenced with ‘Last Believer’, which got the crowd jumping, nodding and moving along. Although there was a surprisingly small crowd (maybe because it was a mid-week show, or because Good Riddance don’t get the credit they deserve, or because it was ANZAC day) every member of the crowd was happy and excited to be there, and as the show went on this energy just amplified and increased. Apart from asking for more sound in the vocals, drums and guitar, Good Riddance didn’t talk and just hurled from one song to another, before ending ‘Heresy, Hypocrisy and Revenge’, with some impressive guitar work and drumming. The crowd went wild! It was then that singer Russ Rankin joked that they are “here every Wednesday night”, before Rankin and bassist Chuck Platt conversed with a crowd member about how if he stood next to the pole in the center of the room, his ears would thank him.
Moving on to a slightly slower pace with ‘Out of Mind’, Good Riddance continued to impress, playing solidly, and briskly moving from one tune to the next. Russ Rankin’s voice soared over the music, singing clearly over every boisterous note. After ‘Shit Talking Capitalist’ the band showed their appreciation of how the crowd knew every word of every song, and Good Riddance revelled in the fact that they had come all the way from Santa Cruz to Perth to witness such an ardent fan base. Asking what they wanted to hear next, a few members of the crowd asked for ‘Weight of the World’, which just happened to be the next song; the fist pumping, singing and movement by the crowd was intoxicating. The band loved it nearly as much as the crowd. Seguing nicely into ‘Running on Fumes’, Good Riddance kept up the pace the entire night and the crowd just lapped it up.
Before playing ‘Slowly’ Platt and Rankin told the crowd to dance with the person on their left, but in reality, even though there was plenty of space at Amplifier, the crowd did not need any encouragement. Lots of cameras were out taking photos and recording the action during ‘Yesterday’s Headlines’ as Platt spent some time amongst the crowd. With ‘Fertile Fields’ the mosh pit increased its intensity and without prompting, the crowd chanted back at the band. With only four songs left, Rankin and Platt acknowledged the quiet, yet impressive work of Luke Pabage on guitar, then Chuck Platt talked about his love for the Australian version of Family Feud, particularly how everyone says “yeah” after each answer and asked if the crowd could do that after every song, which they happily obliged. Finishing with ‘Shadows of Defeat’, the crowd’s adoration for the band was on display with the way they were singing ‘woah, it’s time to go’ with such zeal. Chuck Platt decided to play a bit of bass behind his back as the band finished off, leaving the stage high fiving the audience.
After a brief interval and the crowd staying put, Good Riddance came back for a quick encore, playing ‘Mother Superior’ before Sean Sellers came out from behind the drums to start the crowd clapping in time to the opening of ‘Pieces/ Almost Home’, a song that starts off slow but kicks in with a ferociousness after a minute or two.
Impossible as it seems, given the night and average age of the crowd, the night ended with the crowd more energised than when they went in. All three bands played solid, compelling, impressive sets. All three bands are seemingly underrated in their fields and genres. All three bands captivated the audience. This was a night where the music was the first, last and only priority for both the crowd and bands. It wasn’t about getting drunk or acting like you knew more than the next person or being ‘let off the leash’ to be a dickhead, it was just a night of music and fun, pure and simple. And if you weren’t there, you missed out.
Review by Carys Hurcom
Alex The Kid
Good Riddance – Australian Tour
Thursday April 26 – Enigma, Adelaide
Tickets from Moshtix outlets and www.moshtix.com.au
Friday April 27 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets from cornerhotel.com