LIVE: Royal Chant, Wasters @ The Town Hall Hotel, Sydney, 16th Sep

One acoustic set, one electric, but songwriting quality shines throughout

Wasters‘ drummer, apparently, has a never-ending nosebleed, so instead of the full band, we get singer James and an acoustic guitar. It’s a bummer to miss their modern-grunge pop, but an unexpected pleasure to see the distorted machine stripped back.

James’ voice is exposed in this setup but stands tall nonetheless, seeming a bit more powerful over the rich, clean guitar. Songs that normally get my bounce on in full-band version, like recent single “I Don’t Believe In Jesus”, aren’t just de-electrified, instead revealing the strength of the songs behind them. It’s a pleasure to watch.

Royal Chant kick off and by the second song – a double-speed rendition of “I Can’t Make It On My Own” – all memories of acoustic peace are blasted out the back windows.

James from Wasters eventually gets to play with electricity tonight, joining Royal Chant for a version of “High Low”, as roaring and fun a version of a roaringly fun song as you’ll hear.

It’s a good length set too – and apparently the last we’re likely to hear in Sydney before the new record – and it’s as zany fun as we’ve come to expect, singer Mark a ball of hyper-wired energy and the tunes screeching around the room like a bull-sized puppy with a taser stuck in its ear.

There’s a brief moment of concern when I realise that “Just Trying To Meet You” is only marked down on their setlist as ‘(if needed’). As I prepare to yell and heckle and – if necessary – bribe them to play it, they pile into it anyway, one of my absolute favourite tracks not just of theirs, but of recent years. On a Friday night, songs like this – bands like this – are always just what’s needed.


Royal Chant