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Btmi!, Smith Street Band, Bennies, Summer Blood

Saw The Smith Street Band, Bomb the Music Industry!, The Bennies and Summer Blood at a youth centre in some shifty ass neighbourhood.
6 Summer Blood

These local fellows, a fairly intense punk act, opened the show and I must say I was impressed. The group's live sound was a solid, straight up punk sound, though the vocals and guitar solos were entirely buried by the rhythm guitar and drums. However, it was clear by the second song that the group's material were hardly close to fully formed, but their live energy was more than enough to compensate. They performed with this extreme rawness and the overpowering, heavy punk grooves which their demo CD (issued for free at the merch table) simply does not demonstrate. The demo is up on their Bandcamp (http://summerblood.bandcamp.com/) but, to be honest, their live show is the only way to fully experience them.
5 The Bennies

Before coming to the show my only idea of the existence of The Bennies was that they were a local band. And as such, I did not have high hopes. However, the four-piece skacore act came into the show with an immediately ridiculous atmosphere, and their music began no different. Yet, it took only moments for me to absorb the brilliance of the group. The four personalities of the members came together in this incredibly explosive way: the vocalist had a talent for hardcore eccentricity, the bassist was like a hardcore Roger Manganelli (his technicality, especially), the guitarist had this brilliant contrast between his punk riffs and upbeat ska strokes, and the drummer absolutely teared it up. Especially for a local band, these guys floored me with how developed their sound and energy were. Clearly an act to look out for in the Australian punk scene. (final note: the regular guitarist of Bennies got stabbed in Byron Bay so Lee from SSB filled in)
4 Bomb the Music Industry!

Bomb was most certainly the band I came to see, as this was quite possibly their final all ages Aussie show. And my word, they absolutely KILLED IT. I honestly believed the quirk in their music wouldn't be quite so evident in their live energy, but Jeff was going nuts with these intense seizure-like freak-outs, John adapted weird robot movements into his bass playing and Matt just kind of improvised his dancing when he wasn't playing his trombone or keyboard. They went mostly through a whole lot of stuff off "Get Warmer", "Scrambles" and "Vacation", and the crowd went freaking nuts during "Even Winning Feels Bad" and "Everybody That You Love". A bunch of people were even singing along to the ODB outro at the end of "25". Jeff ultimately climbed up onto the speakers during the outro of "I Don't Love You Anymore" and stage dived into the crowd, who carried him around and crashed into a whole bunch of people. They weren't even the last band of the day but it was clear how much this set meant not only to Jeff but also many of the crowd who, like me, had actually come to see Bomb and not the headliner.
3 The Smith Street Band

Of course, these guys were the band that most of the kids came to see. If any of you have payed attention to Hanson's perfectly rational man-crush on frontman Wil Wagner, you guys should know that The Smith Street Band definitely have something special amongst a comparably barebones Australian punk scene. Despite the extreme humidity in that dodgy little auditorium filled by the hundred sweaty young fans, the band gave it their all. The extremely powerful lyrics and choruses that came with the band's material also helped out with keeping the energy alive. The room erupted with the song "Young Drunk", the ultimate testament to the band's anthemic discography, and I can't say that anyone was burnt out by the time closer "Sigourney Weaver" came around. The amount of fist pumping and general audience shouting was momentous, and the front row found themselves treated when a sweaty, towering Wil Wagner came down into the crowd and bounced off the many audience members who formed a circle around him before finally falling flat on the floor.
Shit I got

Distro LP copies of At the Drive-In's "In/Casino/Out" (grey, pink splatter), the Tigers Jaw self-titled (white), Smith Street Band's "No One Gets Lost Anymore" (clear blue) and Dangers' "Anger" (clear blue). Also, a copy of the "Laika" book (a book, printed on 100% recycled paper and bound with a piece of string, featuring the lyrics to the song "Laika" and accompanying illustrations to each of the lyrics), a Smith Street Band shirt (the design is a cover of The Smith's "Meat is Murder" with graffiti over it), a free sticker, a free tour poster, and a free copy of Summer Blood's demo.
Shit I'll remember

How sweaty Wil was, Jeff's gay hand gestures, Matt's green trombone, that beautiful Telecaster Deluxe, the copy of "Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag" that some bastard bought before I could snag it, the hot Asian chick with the same "Cat Flag" shirt on that the frontman from Japandroids wears, and the drum delay effect that The Bennies had for some reason.
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