Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
August 11th, 2018
Supports: Glitoris and Stress of Leisure
Stress of Leisure
For those of you who aren’t familiar, these guys are pretty much straight-up indie-pop-rock extracted right out of the 1990s. If you grew up in Brisbane in that period and had any exposure to 4ZZZ or Triple J, you’d recognise the distinct sound that came from that era — and that’s exactly what they sported. That’s unsurprising, really, given that’s where they hail from. And even better, the band is 75% women (sporting the sole male support for the night).
Their set was solid as an opener for the evening, all told. There was a lot of very funky vibes, with surging bass swells and huge drums. The guitars and synths smacked of bands like Custard. There’s also Devo, Violent Femmes, and Talking Heads in there, all mashed up with messages like, “Aim High, Get High“, and an ode to the eponymous anti-hero and its sedative properties in the song “Pulled Pork“. We even got a cover of R.E.M.‘s “The One I Love (Fire)“, so it was a fairly diverse collection.
A good value set. Solid rock with neo-jazz wank and indie sensibility. I approve.
This quartet from Canberra came on stage with one mandate: if you aren’t cool with girls who rock, you can pretty much fuck right off. They sport a look befitting their moniker and that mandate, with glittery jumpsuits and haircuts that are lifted straight from 1980s glam metal, mashed up with Mighty Boosh‘s Vince Noir. Clearly aware they’d be sexualised by a male-dominant industry, they have taken every effort to reclaim that and weaponise it against both the audience and the industry itself. I approve – it makes for a rather excellent stage show.
Their music is kind of a force unto itself. Moments are strikingly reminiscent of The Sweet‘s “Ballroom Blitz“, but others are DIY glam rock complete with bold riffs and tear-your-face-off solos. SO MANY SOLOS.
Lead guitarist, Andrew Glitoris (I’m guessing that’s a pseudonym… I’m hoping it’s a pseudonym?), absolutely shreds on a level I’ve not seen in quite some time. If I’m being honest, they all do. Their drummer (Tony Glitoris, whose birthday it was – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) has moments that bridge the gap between a solid rendition of the ‘Purdie Shuffle’ (a-là Bernard “Pretty” Purdie) and Animal from the Muppets, it’s fucking surreal. Singer/Guitarist, Kevin 007 is a striking throwback to Ziggy Stardust, and bassist Malcolm Glitoris gyrates like Flea. There’s so much going on, you sort of lose your breath a little bit trying to keep up.
Musically, they are excellent. They’re all hugely proficient players, and they know it. They also know that it puts them in a position to be outspoken, and oh boy do they use that. They cover topics ranging from “cock rock” and the virtual immunity from consequences it offers, the ‘boys club’ sexual conquest, and even the disproportionate representation of the indigenous in Australian law enforcement efforts. The criticisms are equal parts sardonic and scathing, with no stone left unturned or taboo.
Sometime around the end of the set, cider and fists start to be thrown at the front of the crowd, and yours truly is in the crossfire. Somehow, that feels entirely in keeping with both what’s transpiring on the stage, and, the venue itself. It’s hard to say if it was the music that was responsible, but I’d like to think that it was.
By the time the set was done, everybody was riled to fever pitch, and the wait for the boys of the night wasn’t going to last for long.
I often start my stories for Wall of Sound by saying I’ve been listening to a band since the 90s but I’d never had a chance to see them, and this is no different. Despite being from the same city, I somehow managed to totally avoid ever getting to see “The ‘Gurge”, darlings of stations like Triple J at various points during the last two decades. Riding on a wave of a string of both minor and major hits around the time of their Unit and …art releases, it was hard to go many places where they weren’t at least occasionally being played.
I wasn’t game to try to push my way towards the stage to try to shoot my allotted songs in light of “the unpleasantness”, in part because I was still saturated in cider and I’m not confident my camera would appreciate a repeat. I pin myself in a corner which isn’t the greatest vantage I’ve ever had, but it gives me a great perspective of the audience I’m well and truly part of for once. In hindsight, it was probably better that way.
This tour is in support of their first new record in half a decade, Headroxx. Diverging from their earlier sounds and continuing in the more electronic- and rap- driven efforts later in their careers, the music is pure party. Everybody in the building knows it, too. As some of the newer tunes like “Party Looks” and “Don’t Stress” are offered up, the venue is swelling in unison towards the stage and several feet in the air. This obviously buoys the now well-seasoned musicians, with huge grins and laughs struggling to leave their faces. This seems like one of those cases where they’ve come back from hiatus because they missed the joy of playing, not because they had bills to pay. The energy is electric.
No era is left alone, with classics from the early days like “Kong Foo Sing” (one of two songs I was hoping they played – SCORE!), right through to (relatively speaking) newer works like “Fat Cop” (with guitar solo instead of turntable solo) and “My Friend Robot“. The best bit of all was that they sounded like they hadn’t been on a break for the better part of 5 years after the birth of singer/guitarist Quan‘s son, sounding every bit as good in the flesh as they do on the records they’re mimicking. Throw in a chorus of drunk punters who know all of the words to ditties like “I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am” and “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” (the second song I was hoping for – DOUBLE SCORE!!) and you’ve got a very compelling mix of nostalgia and fun.
The set isn’t without its struggles, however. About halfway in, Quan‘s effects rig randomly failed, meaning some of the songs weren’t quite as melodic or “electronic” as they could’ve been, but they took it in their stride and just got on with it. I guess after this long of performing, anything short of outright war breaking out is a bump in the road, not catastrophe.
When they realised it was approaching 1AM, they “left” the stage — by which I mean they didn’t leave the stage at all. All so they could play “encores”. Honestly, they couldn’t have gotten off the stage even if they tried, we were packed like sardines, tightly enough that we managed to sweat on a freezing Hobart winter night.
Was it everything I’d hoped? Pretty much. I knew I’d be getting a good show, so it came as little surprise when it actually arrived that that’s what I got.
Stress of Leisure
Regurgitator – Life Support Tour 2018
FRI 24 AUG kingscliff KINGSCLIFF BEACH HOTEL
with GLITORIS and THE STRESS OF LEISURE
ticket from kingscliffbeachhotel.com.au
SAT 25 AUG brisbane THE TIVOLI
with GLITORIS and THE STRESS OF LEISURE
ticket from thetivoli.com.au
SUN 26 AUG sunshine coast SOLBAR
with THE STRESS OF LEISURE
ticket from solbar.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets