LIVE: Lunatics On Pogosticks, Hunch, Mac The Knife, Buddy Holliday @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, 20th Feb

Buddy Holliday

During the pre-gig wait, Pixies’ “Wave Of Mutilation” comes on and there’s a handful of twenty-something kids singing along to the chorus which makes me feel both old and terrible and awfully happy all at the same time. To be fair, that might also something to do with the Brighton Up Bar’s nightly deployment of joss sticks, which also has roughly the same effect on me, in that both basically remind me of Camden, London in 1990.

I’ve harped on about this for ages but if there’s one thing I love more than anything it’s when artists take a ton of influences from across the ages and blend them all into one, because really with all music just one click away, why the hell would you not? Buddy Holliday, thus, makes me tingly in all the right spots. Wilco, Dylan, Guthrie, Pixies, Nirvana, Pavement, and probably a ton of bands I’ve never heard of all rear their influential heads tonight in a genial, moping, glorious mess of tune and enjoyable-ness. There’s a huge collection of fun in this set, delivered on a platter – with the help of a couple of Lunatics On Pogosticks – by the scruffiest, most likeable butler ever. This is the sound of someone truly enjoying themselves. You will too.

See a full photo set of Buddy Holliday here

Holy bums, so *that’s* what happens when you take your eye off a band. I last saw Mac The Knife in May of 2015, but since then they’ve basically grown massive Pixies-shaped fangs, and tonight they peel the enamel off our teeth with a series of tunes that incorporate Cure-ish guitars, belted vocals and enough energy to keep a small outback town air-conditioned for the next hundred years. It’s energetic, it’s brim full of spine, it switches between monster head-banging and a spiky sprinting pogo, and is a million miles from where they were a year ago. Fuck yeah. Fun.

See a full photo set of Mac The Knife here


This is the third time I’ve seen Hunch now and they’ve gone from a virtually brand new band to one that tears the back of your damn retinas off. Confidence, practice, spreading of wings, whatever – it’s bloody impressive. It roars in all the right places, soars in the rest and leaves you panting ever so slightly. Not only that but they’ve learned some badass stage shapes to throw too, standing on drums and amps and surging out into the crowd as the beer flies. The last song – my longtime favourite – sends the band and the crowd totally ba-nay-nays, and is one of those glorious moments of potential becoming reality. At this point, I become genuinely concerned for my safety. This, my friends, is a damn show.

See a full photo set of Hunch here

Lunatics On Pogosticks

By the time our ex-local heroes Lunatics On Pogosticks make the stage, the crowd is basically made of bands, mates, and a decent percentage of proof alcohol. Which makes it the less surprising – but no less fun – when the beer starts spraying and the determined ignoring of the Brighton Up Bar’s legendary “No crowd-surfing” sign starts in earnest. To escape bodily injury, I’m clambered up on a speaker, the better to both shoot some awful photos and to enjoy what is an absolute belter of a set, high above the young bag of total bloody loonhats losing it in the front row. Mixing in some Saturday night stunners – “Less Than Sober”, “100% Mambo” – as well as newer stuff like “MDMAtes” from the upcoming debut LP, their Pistols sneer, their occasional hardcore screams, their wig-flipping energy, and their total and never-ceasing commitment to massive tunes makes a compelling argument. Keep Sydney Open? Hell yeah, *this* is why.

See a full photo set of Lunatics On Pogosticks here