|MUSIC: 07 JUNE 2016
If it ain't loud you're just not doing it right
Anyone who asks why the music they play at rock concerts is so loud is simply missing the point.
It’s what rock concerts are about. Music should be being pumped out at distortion level. You shouldn’t be able to have a conversation. And above all, you should be able to feel the bass line physically thumping your chest. Especially in a small, intimate venue.
That was certainly the case recently when I ventured to Sydney for the annual Vivid festival and took in a concert at the Newtown Social Club, a twee name for what is really a loud, hip King Street pub.
It was headlined by the Hard-Ons, a seminal Australian hardcore punk band that formed in the 1980s and have charmingly titled albums such as Smell My Finger and Dickcheese to their credit.
They disbanded in 1994 but have re-formed (certainly not reformed) under several guises since and now have original drummer Keish de Silva out front with the microphone.
Like legendary British band The Who, Hard-Ons seem to have a strongly male following made up of some pretty tough young types you treat with definite respect.
They delivered a good hour of pulsating, edgy rock that had the capacity crowd banging their heads and occasionally surfing.
I also like their first support act, a female Wollongong three-piece (lead guitar, bass and drums) called Baby Machine, with lead vocals being handled by drummer Bec.
They’ve been around for quite a few years and their delivery of loud, dirty rock has a definite political edge to it, with songs such as Abort pointedly delivered to Tony Abbott.
Well worth keeping an eye and an ear out for.
The next night I was back in the same stomping ground, at the much larger Enmore Theatre, and with an older, though only slightly more subdued, crowd to wind the clock back to the late 1970s with Melbourne alternative band, Models.
They’re big enough to have been induced into the ARIA Hall of Fame and to have had Kate Ceberano and Wendy Matthews as back-up singers.
This night they were supported by synth-pop masters Machinations and Dave Mason, ex of The Reels, who topped the charts with Quasimodo’s Dream.
All up, a fantastic flip back to days when sythesizer-wielding punks shared the stage with long-haired rockers ... and an excellent example of how Vivid Music is connecting a new generation of rock fans to roots laid nearly 40 years ago. Good stuff.