LIVE: Horror My Friend, Shaky Handz, The Water Board, Bruise Pristine, Sleepy @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, 9th May

First in the ring in tonight’s five-round contest are Sleepy. The temptation to  start talking about dwarves while they fix an irksome power problem during the first song is swiftly blown away after the restart as they slice their way through a set of cacophonous little gems that raise the eyebrows and smack the eardrums. For a new band, they’ve got a vice-like grip on both tune and sound, and despite there only being three of them, there’s a storm of sound here, with enough thunder in the guitars to curl your earlobes. Wallop, what a great way to start a show.

Full Sleepy photo set here

Bruise Pristine take their name from a ridiculously early Placebo single back in the 90s, and while there’s less of the  pharamaceutical and high-energy whining of the young Molko, there’s more than enough moodiness and general grump  to satisfy a new generation of bedroom miserabilists. Dark and discordant in all the right ways, the guitars clang and bong, the bass and rhythm rumble menacingly, and singer Kate alternates between seeming very cross and about-to-go-for-your-throat. Great stuff.

Full Bruise Pristine photo set here

I’m going to write nice things about The Water Board now, and it’s not just because their bassist is the size of two bouncers. They veer wildly and chaotically between some wildly modern guitar antics and some classic 80s indie, with the overall effect of bringing the fuzz and drawl of Jesus & Mary Chain into the 21st century, giving it a large fizzy drink and some sugar and letting it careen around the house breaking the china. It’s not particularly fast, nor particularly bruising, but it sure leaves its mark. Fun, and not a little unhinged.

Full photo set of The Water Board here

It’s always a pleasure to see Shaky Handz – fans as we are of all their various works – and tonight is once more proof that being smart, funny and fast is a classic and ever-winning formula. Not so much performing their set as crash-landing on it, we are poured a straight shot of their high speed good times. Use irresponsibly.

As well as photos (full set here), we also shot that video above of them doing their set opener ‘Not Safe In The City’. You should watch it, despite the fact it looks like it was shot by a drunk old man with a gammy eye. It was, but it’s still a great tune.


It’s nearly the next day by the time Horror My Friend come onstage, but it’s both worth the wait and a sure way to wake us all up. Another of tonight’s three pieces who sound nine times bigger than should be possible, they strip the skin from our faces with the sound and fury that only rousing, sweaty, guitars can deliver. There’s an obvious sonic connection to another young band currently destroying it right now, and given Horror My Friend’s South Australian background, I’m really just trying to find an excuse to call them Hockey Dad-elaide – but that’s a bit unfair, despite being a deeply satisfying pun. As the guitarist and bassist swap instruments and vocal duties, it’s just one relentless crashing wave of Japandroids distortion or MBV wall of noise or loudQUIETloud after another, none of which can fully hide the songs that lurk inside it all. Case in point – if you’ve not copped a feel of the new one ‘Mazes’, you’re going to want to remedy that before children mock you in the street.

It’s impressive, kickass fun and leaves us wandering back to the late bus home with our ears ringing and our bloody great grins lighting up the night.

Full Horror My Friend photo set here