GIG REVIEW: SMITH STREET BAND //Factory Theatre SYDNEY // 24.11.14

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

@ Factory Theatre SYDNEY 24.11.14
Review written by - James Frith 

Photographer - Hayden Nixon

On Monday 24th of November, The Smith Street Band headlined their 2nd Sydney show for their Throw Me In The Rivertour. Packing out the Factory Theatre, the bands that took the stage that night were all on top of their game, providing an exhilarating night of music.

Walking into the Factory, the floor was already starting to fill as the first band Fait Accompli took the stage. An animated 3 piece punk group, their energy was infectious to the eager crowd. After they finished their set, Apologies, I Have None followed, to a continuously swelling crowd. Hailing from London, an impressively large fanbase was present in the crowd, many singing along. Chris Cowburn, The Smith Street Band’s drummer made a surprise appearance when he jumped on backing vocals for their final song. No offence Chris, but lets be honest, there’s a reason he’s on drums, not vocals.

The taking the stage as the penultimate opening act were The Front Bottoms. From the first song, a swarm of smartphones were in the air, Snapchats and camera apps at the ready. By the time they broke into their third song, the floor of the Factory was literally shaking, a taste of what was to come. Frontman Brian Sella had some excellent crowd interactions, being corrected multiple times by fans as to what day it was, telling them about his cliff jumping experience earlier that afternoon, and the time he accidentally took steroids. Touring guitarist Ciaran O’Donnell was a particularly impressive multi-instrumentalist, effortlessly flowing between guitar, keys and trumpet

Once Front Bottoms finished up their set, the Factory was quickly filled to the brim in anticipation of the headliners. A hush came over the crowd when the X-Files theme started as The Smith Street Band took the stage. What was immediately noticeable about their live sound as they opened with Something I Can Hold In My Hands was how close it was to their studio recordings. In an age where music is far too often over processed in the studio, this was quite refreshing to hear.

Just like on the album, Smith Street immediately launched into Surrender, with its unforgettable opening riff. If the floor had been moving before, it felt like it was about to fall about by now. Refusing to let up, they continued straight intoSunshine and Technology

By the time they moved into fan favourite Sigourney Weaver, sweat was pouring from the bands faces on the hot Sydney night. Will Wagners powerful voice bellowed across the Factory, often his microphone proving pointless. The crowd, starting to get more and more excited screamed the lyrics right back.

“I’m quite a disgusting person in case you hadn’t figured out from me sweating through my socks since the moment I stepped on stage” Will told the audience between songs. A roadie came on a swapped his microphone for a new one. “I also spit too much to use one microphone for an entire set” he chuckled.

The set continued, with everyone dancing and singing along. However, once Smith Street began ‘Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams,’ that when things began to lose control. Each chorus the crowd exploded, the mosh turning into a swirling melee, and numerous fans crowd surfing over the barrier into the security. Wil even had to stop mid song to tell everyone to keep safe, after one girl was dropped by the security guards. “I don’t wanna see any of my friends get hurt” he said.

They supposedly moved into their final song, but it didn’t take long for them to return to the stage to play their encore. The crowd was insane by now, the security guards struggling to catch all the crowd surfers. The energy unrelenting, a few fans rushed the stage. One particular young man made it up there, then realising he hadn’t thought far enough ahead, spontaneously threw a huge bear hug upon Wil. The Front Bottoms appeared on stage, to sing along to the chorus’ and generally cause mayhem, tackling the members of Smith Street

When The Smith Street Band finally finished their set, it could be with none other than Young Drunk. The crowd couldn’t contain itself, drowning out Wil in the chorus’. Wil told the Factory they were one of the best and most intense crowds they had ever played too, which was met with a roar of approval. Absolutely drenched in sweat and looking exhausted, The Smith Street Band stumbled off the stage, beaming.

In all, it was a great night of musical entertainment, with strong performances from all acts, particularly The Front Bottoms  and The Smith Street Band. Everyone left the venue buzzing, and I’ll be definitely attending Smith Streets next shows early next year.