Metropolis Fremantle, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 16th February 2020
Supports: Strung Out and No Fun At All
The formula for a successful Aussie tour if you’re a punk band from the 90’s seems to be to either do an anniversary tour of a seminal album and/ or bring along another band of similar genre, fame and success. Pennywise did it in November 2017 by touring with The Bronx and playing Full Circle in its entirety, and The Offspring and Sum 41 sold out their whole Aussie tour in a few days. If it aint broke, don’t fix it, as Pennywise decided to replicate their previous success by bringing the 20th anniversary tour of the album Straight Ahead to Australia, along with fellow Californians Strung Out and Swedish rockers No Fun At All.
First up No Fun At All. Starting with ‘Spirit’ and performing around 10 songs, the band played to a room that was still filling up, but the crowd ready and waiting for them was incredibly receptive and appreciative of the band. Playing a polished set, full of energy, vocalist Ingemar Jansson has an unassuming charisma about him that naturally draws you to him, similar to Greg Graffin of Bad Religion or Milo from Descendents. The set ended with ‘Master Celebrator’ which got the crowd singing along and ending with a rapturous cheer.
Coming out singing the opening line of ‘Velvet Alley’ with the crowd responding by singing “you don’t understand where I’m coming from” Jason Cruz stood front and centre, before the rest of the band joined in. Playing about a dozen songs, one to the next with little banter due to time constraints, Strung Out played a tight, powerful set, like they normally do. Ending with favourite ‘Matchbook’, the crowd was happy and ready for Pennywise.
Tinkering with the sound, which was desperately needed, to ensure a clearer and somewhat crisper sound, the crowd, made up of predominantly white men over the age of 30, started chanting “Pennywise”. With some atmospheric lighting, Pennywise opened with ‘Greed’ and proceeded to work through the tracklisting of Straight Ahead in chronological order. By third track ‘Can’t Believe It’, the crowd was going off, with 6 foot 6 blokes being thrashed around like rag dolls. The level of energy and ferocity the crowd had, was unrelenting and kept up for most of the entire set, ‘Alien’ got a big response, but towards the end of the album, the crowd’s energy levels had wanned slightly.
Not bothering to pretend to come back on for an encore, Pennywise played some of their greatest hits including ‘Fuck Authority’, ‘Same Old Story’, ‘Society’, the Men At Work cover ‘Down Under’ before the crowd completely lost its collectively minds for the song that embodies Pennywise and all they stand for, ‘Bro Hymn’.
If you have ever been to a Pennywise gig before, you know what to expect and on a Sunday night in Fremantle, WA, was no different. Following a formula that worked for them last time, including the order of performing the songs, Pennywise managed to sell out most of the tour, with the last leg in WA, being, if not at, close, to capacity. Bringing Strung Out and No Fun At All, just ensured that most of the punk population in Perth were at Metro Freo that night. And if you weren’t, well there is always the possibility that in a few years’ time they will do a 30th anniversary tour of About Time.
Review by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos
No Fun At All