LIVE: March Of The Real Fly, Sures, Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, 23rd Oct

For the first time in living memory, Brighton Up Bar opens its doors and gets the first band on at the time they said they would, which means I miss all of Bowl Cut except the last half of the last song, which seemed like a lot of fun and something that I would have enjoyed. Dang it.

Still, mild surprise and irritation is swiftly sent packing when Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis start to belt out their thing. Normally, this sort of band name would trigger a lengthy and foul-mouthed rant about daft band names, but for one night only we can skip that part because – and only because – they’re dead funny, and actually rather good. It’s wonky indie guitar pop like Ok:Go, except with lyrics about throwing up in Marrickville and having your date hit on by Willis Earle Beal. They end on a song called “Sydney” which may be the most insulting love letter to a city ever penned.

See our photos of the actual Max Quinn furiously amusing himself here

The fact that Sures are playing tonight is a secret, a secret so covert that it needs to be made clear by the sign outside the Brighton Up Bar that says “Sures (secret show)” on it. In case you’re not one of the million people who walk up and down Oxford Street every day, they also helpfully put it up on Facebook, which of course nobody reads, to make sure it remained a secret. Thanks to all this secrecy, no-one is surprised to see Sures come on stage.

What is a surprise is that – for those of us who saw them a few times back in 2012 or 2013 – they’ve gone from dishing out a smoky, reverb-heavy, surfy, lo-fi buzz to smashing you in the face with some razor-sharp guitar pop of the Superchunk or Biffy Clyro variety. Aside from the fact that I rather enjoyed the crashing vibe of “Poseidon”, this is not a bad thing. The album’s coming next year, and based on tonight’s set of new material, it’s going to smash your teeth in. Energetic, pumped-up and fizzing, it’s a great set – God knows why they wanted to keep it a secret.

See our photos of Sures looking all moody and stuff here

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Various members of March Of The Real Fly have been doing other stuff this year – stuff like Shaky Handz, or Tim Fitz’ excellent solo album – so it’s good to see them all back on the one stage again, if only because the world somehow feels a little more boring when it doesn’t contain a guitar-less punk band who use ukeleles and Casio keyboards.

They’re slightly less manic and unhinged than they were a year ago, but the songs feel like they’ve beefed up a bit, filled out. “Fossil Dreams” is as wide-pupilled as ever, their cover of “Ring Of Fire” is jerky and a little deranged but a killer version for it, while “Flower” (the hero of tonight’s single launch) acts as a mid-tempo break in the set with some added live tweaks to give it some oomph.They close on “Poison” – still a favourite, all mischief and lunacy and fun.

Inventive, playful, relentlessly cheery and good-humoured – more bands like this and the world would be a heaps better place.

Go see some photos of singer Cam clambering all over his drums here

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