LIVE: Black Zeros, Dumb Punts, Pow Pow Kids, Verticoli, The Ganaschz @ Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney, Aug 9th

The Ganaschz

In a musical landscape that can so often be boiled down to homogenous elements, it’s always nice to see a band that stick out, and since The Ganaschz are a brother and sister two-piece who play three instruments consisting of drums, guitar and the flute and who cover the Simpsons’ ‘Cooling Tower‘ protest song, they stick out further than most. We’re basically well into Gooch Palms territory in terms of sticking out in fact.

The racket they make is a glorious din too, thumpy and growling, but they deliver it with more and wider grins on their two faces than a twelve-piece made up of Cheshire cats. Brilliant fun, and daft as a bag of monkeys.

See a full photo set of The Ganaschz here



Verticoli are through in Sydney from Tassie, and have brought the rock with them. Their whole set is largely made up of grimacing rock faces and loud, squalling, wild guitars that have been raised entirely on a diet of raw meat, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins.

I’m almost as bad a hard rock critic as I am an electronic music critic, so I won’t even bother offering an opinion on whether it was any good or not. I do know it was dead loud, the guitars were blistering, and the whole thing sounded a bit like someone was trying to steer a train through the venue. Which, for me at least, made it bloody entertaining.

See a full photo set of Verticoli here

Pow Pow Kids

Poor Pow Pow Kids. If you’re going to be in a band that delivers buzzsaw guitars, shouty pop songs and bloopy keyboards, you *really* need the keyboards to, y’know, work. Still, if they do fail – as they do after a mere song or so tonight – there are definitely few better responses than to simply claim you’ll “do the keyboard parts with your mouth” and gallantly soldier on. That said, since the band were cheerfully filled with lageritas at the end of a many-date tour, it’s entirely possible we wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

The rest of the set is snottily foul-mouthed, with their singer channelling John Lydon at every opportunity, sneer and wide-eyed goonery and everything. You don’t see that enough these days – since The Libertines, it’s been more common to emulate The Clash than The Pistols, and even if you don’t go down the Strummer route, it’s more often Vicious than Rotten that gets resurrected on stage.

Still, it’s a lot of fun to see, and I’m actually pretty glad the keyboards died a death – the whole thing sounds galactically savage and untethered without them, and stabs an otherwise quiet Sunday night right in the eyeball. Good wholesome fun. In sneans.

See a full photo set of Pow Pow Kids here

Dumb Punts

It turns out that Dumb Punts are basically the Pow Pow Kids, except with one less member and a different drummer. Oh, and slightly more raucous songs. The Pow Pow Kids singer – here the bassist – pulls some more interesting shapes (and has changed T-shirts), while the guitarist stays the same ie gloriously drunk. In fact, given how utterly sloshed they (and we) are it’s entirely possible he’s not clear the previous set has ended, nor that we’d have spotted it either.

As you can guess, by this point in the night the wheels have basically come off altogether and while Dumb Punts are considerably more raucous than Pow Pow Kids song-wise, it’s basically the same set, delivered with more booze, and less people.

Until of course the end, when The Ganaschz, the other Pow Pow Kids, and some other comedy lunatics are all invited on stage to yell at each other while pretending to sing ‘Get Wrecked’. It’s brilliant, it’s rock and roll, and it’s frankly a miracle that the building, let along the bands, are still vertical by the end of it.

See a full photo set of Dumb Punts here

Black Zeros

Now that the maddest troop of punk rock monkeys you’ve ever met have poured themselves off the stage, it’s back to some sense of togetherness with the usually ice-cool and razor-sharp Black Zeros to round out the night.

Or, at least, it would be if singer Joe Jackson didn’t pretty much immediately announce she was wrecked and that she’d quite like another beer, please. Beer duly fetched, it’s a pleasure to hear the Zeros again – hey look, they’ve got a new hot-looking surfer dude bass player! – and in particular the new one which I think is called ‘105’.

New stuff is always fun to hear, especially when it starts to veer away from the old stuff like this one does. Where Jackson was previously all catch-in-the-throat Distillers hoarse, this is almost pure Siouxie. It’s darker, it’s more clangy, and it’s really, really good. The rest of the set is the old favourites, with the chainsaw guitars and thumping and brilliance, but that new one hints at exciting things to come next.

Let’s just hope we’re all a damn sight more sober when they do, I’m not sure I can cope with another night like that.

See a full photo set of Black Zeros here