LIVE: The Pretty Littles, Neighbourhood Youth, Sun Sap @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, 5th Nov

Big sound and daft antics to light up Saturday night

The Brighton Up Bar has a habit of lighting up joss sticks during gigs, and while I usually recoil a bit at it, it perfectly suits Sun Sap’s smoky West Coast garage groove. It’s my second time catching this six-piece – crammed onto the Brighton’s stage like a pair of meggings – and it’s a sharper set this time. The sunsets and dusty roadtrip vibes are still there, but it’s got a more honed edge, like the flashing glint of sunlight off a hot car bonnet.

Neighbourhood Youth make massive sound. This is song as architecture, towering and looming and as big as the damn sky. Recent-ish release “Atlantic” was well-regarded in most quarters and is suitably gigantic tonight, but the whole set is full of technical skill and enormo-sound. It’s like watching a jumbo jet take off – the last two in particular (including the utterly brilliant and newly-recorded “Lately”) are enough to strip the hair out of our ears. Jumbo songs, with even more promise to match – they might not be local to Sydney, but that sort of show is always going to be welcome round these parts, or any other for that matter.

The Pretty Littles are the sort of band that can cover “Chop Suey” and reference Bush (“they used to be kind of a big deal”), and not only get away with it, but smash the living heckers out of it musically and make us all laugh like idiots. It’s pure good times tonight – despite knowing their onions inside and backwards, they try really hard to make it seem like they’re just messing about. The banter is meandering and daft, and the songs are raucous and bouncy, but don’t be fooled – this is as sharp an outfit as you’ll see. Despite their insistence that the songs are all the same, the set varies in intensity, pace and humour – either they’re lying deliberately, or its just their nature, but either way the effect is like injecting a mix of joy and vodka directly into a vein. It’s the Aussie larrikinisms of a Bad Dreems mixed with the heedless mayhem of The Replacements. They flail and grin and slice their way through one razor-edged riot after another and it’s bands like these that soundtrack the most bonkers Saturday nights everywhere.


The Pretty Littles


Neighbourhood Youth


Sun Sap