Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Picture this. It’s Friday night at the Bendigo Hotel on Johnston St. Four bands, almost every genre of honest punk, surf and thrash you could ever want and $1.99 pizza slices down the road within smelling distance of the beer taps. Sounds good? 
That sounds PERFECT, and when the dust settled and the Bendy’s stage lighting rig and speakers were left shaking there wasn’t a punter in the venue who thought otherwise.
First up were surf thrash monsters, Cosmic Kahuna who set the energy bar to level “Mike Tyson” and the party dial to level,  “Ozzy Osbourne”. Cramming as much riffage into their 30min set as possible, lead singer/guitarist the Doz, Jack – Drums and Adrock on Bass lean more towards the thrash side with surf elements. Cosmic Kahuna are everything you would want and/or expect out of a thrash band, at times the mix sounded a touch thin but being a 3 piece this can be forgiven. They’re loud, frantic and full of aggression, and while I don’t agree with The Doz’ assessment that those of us in the audience were “D***snaps”, the delivery and execution of such banter won me over in the end. Great set for a bunch of D***snaps. 

Even with Cosmic Kahuna setting the energy bar high, Party Vibez (as the name suggests) managed to lift to another echelon of Partying excellence. Tight and balanced with a polished, yet still raw and primal set-list, Party Vibez are quickly becoming a Melbourne riffing stalwart. A set list replete with fun-pun filled punk/metal crossover anthems such as Legends of Gnarlia and Indiana Cones and the Temple of Goon, Party Vibez also threw down a blistering new track Who Laughs Last. More genuinely entertaining songs, (such as their ode to Robocop: Prime Directive) and stage presence than you can poke a power chord at, Party Vibez toe the line between ear destroying chaos and groove. Regular patrons of the Melbourne local scene and Aus east coast tours, they’re a band who; play a genre from the recent past, for lovers of the riff in the present, with a big future ahead. 

Wedged in between local thrash animals and skate/pop punk kings Guttermouth, Strickland stood out like sore vocal chords. While there was nothing inherently bad about the set, unfortunately there wasn’t much to set them apart from the hordes of pop punk bands from the last two decades.  Emotionally strained vocals and lyrics, and melodic but generic, grooves and song structure contributed to the bulk of the set.  A respectable 30min set that suffered from a mismatch in genres with the other bands.  Strickland have some way’s to go to perfect their show but definitely have a core sound and performance that will resonate with fans of pop/emo punk.
E.p’s available

11:30 rolled around quickly and the crowd decided to turn up for the aforementioned kings of skate/pop punk Guttermouth. Wasting no time, but wasting plenty of energy Singer Mark Adkins delivered a red hot slap to the face of the crowd, (amongst other literal slaps to the face and head-butts to and from the crowd). Technically, the set wasn’t perfect. Let’s admit this fact right now, but making up for the lack of textbook perfection, they delivered a show. A true punk gig. True punk shows are few and far between in recent years but the excitement, raw effort and energy Guttermouth have thrown down on stage for the past 27 years is second to none. Guttermouth ripped through an hour long set, throttling out fan favourites such as Bruce Lee vs. the Kiss Army, Lipstick and 1-2-3 Slam all the while managing to incite the crowd into higher stage dives and a faster pit. A glorious amount of expected debauchery and banter infused with pop and skate punk was provided in spades and the crowd responded heartily.  Entertaining from start to finish, their blend of ridiculousness and punk is a must see for any fans of the live music scene. 

Written by Dave Undy