As we draw down on 2016, and get ready to put it in the dirt nap, there are precious few better things to do than to cram into the sweatiest box of a venue in the whole city and to see whether a massive eardrum rupture or near-total fluid loss will kill you first. Or at least before the headliner finishes up.
First up tonight is Forest Hall, who bring a two-piece set up, but whose shred is so blistering that I start to see through time. The vocal could do with some time in the gym, but this is strong liquor, and there are some bouncing tunes behind the squall, and it’s delivered with both gusto and some insane technical skill. The last song, “Unloveable” goes on for about three days, but contains so much screeching guitar mayhem that we keep losing track of whether we’re watching one song, or several melded into one, or whether our eyes are just bleeding now. There’s recorded stuff on the way apparently, so keep ’em peeled.
Billy Puntton is both furious and hysterical, which is a fairly disturbing mood, like he’s about to go for your throat. He comes off like Billie Joe Armstrong, Rik Mayall, Emilio Estevez’ Billy The Kid from “Young Guns”, and gets repeatedly called ‘Dad’ by the audience. He sings about things that make him cross, which seem to include everything in the news, prescription drugs, and old men who fondle him in Adelaide. It is made even madder by the fact that this particular hardcore set is performed on an acoustic and a harmonica. It’s precisely as brilliant as it sounds.
Viral Eyes are not into ‘subtle’. This is a set that turns the heat even further up, that pounds through the eyeballs and starts to tear at the fabric of being, rich and fast and tuneful and relentless and featuring a bearded guy in a dress who keeps performing high kicks while playing the tambourine. If there is any chance you get to go and see them, it should be a given that you will. What a fucking show.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Trouble In Paradise have a drummer who is basically taking the piss out of all of us. He is young, carved out of wood, he is dressed like a fucking Chippendale, and then spends much of the night peeling his clothes off. If any of the chaps in the audience aren’t sinking into insecurity by this point, you can assume they have been simply blinded by noise and heat and simply aren’t aware of what is going on. Thankfully, the rest of the band divert attention by being rather awesome. This is muscular pop-rock, hints of Elvis Costello, The Hives, even Eric bloody Clapton. It’s like your dad’s stereo actually worked out how to be amazing one day. Fun stuff, bags of talent, and a fine old way to end the year’s gigging.
2016 – that’s a wrap.