At the start of the night a friend commented that any one of the five bands on the bill could have been headliner and noone would have complained. As it was, No Anchor were the 'unlucky' band who were given the job of opening the evening. At about 8:30PM, with the venue still largely empty, No Anchor took to the stage and began their aural bombardment of the audience. The set contained a mere three songs yet went for around 30minutes - the opening song was a comparatively laid back (for No Anchor) number that sounded somewhat like Kyuss jamming on a multitude of variations of the one riff for 10minutes, the middle track was a more dynamic number with some fantastic riffs, and the closer was probably the heaviest song the band have yet created (which means it's damn heavy). None of the songs were from the band's debut Fire Flood And Acid Mud from a few months back; instead, all three will be featured on a soon to be recorded album set for release in the new year (full disclosure: I recorded No Anchor's debut album and will be doing the same for their next... and damn if I'm not super excited about hearing those songs over and over for a few days).
On the flipside, not everyone seemed so impressed by No Anchor - while the majority of the crowd were totally into the band's crushingly heavy stoner/doom rock, I did see one audience member turn to his friend at the end of the set and remark 'I just don't get it' to his friend.
By the end of No Anchor's set the crowd was starting to swell, and by the time Turnpike hit the stage the room was nicely filled. I'm sure there were a number of people in the audience who thought that Turnpike could have easily headlined this show, and the band put on a performance that I'm sure had a few more people thinking this by the end of their set. I had seen the band play a smaller show the previous week at Club Russia (with Mr Maps), and that show was one of the better that I've seen from Turnpike. Friday's was even better. As is usually the case in the band's sets recently, most of the material was unreleased - I think there was 'Selling This Century' from their split with Del Toro and 'Do The Broken' from Humans Find Patterns, with nothing from prior to that. It didn't really matter, the new songs have been in their sets for long enough that they've become quite familiar to most fans, and the band plays them with such ferocious energy that it wouldn't matter if noone had ever heard them before. Adam King plays with such energy and intensity that it seems a wonder that he's able to fret a single chord, such is the way that his body thrashes around on stage - by the end of the set there would not have been a single square inch of his shirt that wasn't saturated with sweat. Even in the last song, where the strap kept coming off his SG, he barely missed a beat.
Dick Nasty are not a band that I would profess to having an intimate knowledge of - I've seen them around town quite a number of times over the years (what regular indie/punk gig-goer in Brisbane hasn't?) but I don't own any releases of theirs. That said, they're a hugely solid punk band with few peers in this city. Unlike the previous bands, who both preferred extending their songs well past the 6minute mark (I think there had been a total of seven songs performed between the two bands prior), Dick Nasty's set consisted of track after track of short, concise and precisely played punk rock. With two guitarist/singers flanking the supremely tight rhythm section, Dick Nasty blasted through their set like a finely tuned machine (with just the right amount of chaos thrown into the mix).
Violent Soho were the 'name' band of the evening, and this showed in the packed crowd who stood around to watch (though it wasn't long before people were doing much more than merely standing around, with things escalating to a bit of crowd surfing by the end of the set). I have to admit that I don't hold the band in the same esteem as a lot of other local music fans, but there are two things that are fairly inarguable: 1) they can write a damn fine song around an early 90s guitar riff, and 2) they put on a pretty fantastic show. The band pulled out the majority of their crowd-pleasers: 'Jesus Stole My Girlfriend', 'Muscle Junkie', their cover of God's 'My Pal', 'My Generation' (not The Who song), 'Son of Sam'... actually, they do have quite a number of good songs, don't they?
One other notable thing about their set: it was heart-warming (in a tough, masculine way) to see the band so clearly appreciative of the people who have been supportive of them through their four year existence, with many thanks going out to the other bands on the bill, the crowd, the venue, and Brisbane music supporters in general. This was best exemplified when the band leapt (quite literally) to the defense of some of their friends who were being ejected from the venue for being excessively rowdy (I guess). While the lead guitarist and bassist left the stage for a few minutes to negotiate with the bouncers and venue staff, the drummer and singer were left to entertain the crowd with the opening riff of 'Jesus Stole My Girlfriend' (I *think*) repeated ad infinitum. Eventually the rest of the band returned with the news that everything had been sorted out and that the perhaps overly enthusiastic audience members had been let back in. I can't think of another time where bouncers have changed their mind over such an incident, so kudos to both sides, and extra kudos to Violent Soho for not being tempted to have a go at the bouncers from the stage after the incident.
Eat Laser Scumbag were a last-minute addition to the lineup, with half the band coming up from Melbourne in order to play the show. Although the members Eat Laser were operating on various degrees of lack of sleep and a limited amount of rehearsal, for the most part you wouldn't have picked it. They sounded like they pretty much always did - lively punk rock that's a bit rough around the edges delivered by four guys who seem to be having a hell of a lot of fun on stage. Bassist Adam Scott provided some humour to procedings after a request came to from the audience for the removal of various clothing items from the band, in the end being the recipient of one young lady's underwear (hi Jess!). Even though they weren't the 'biggest' of the bands to play on the night, they were the perfect way to end things - songs that were energetic enough to capture people's attention even as the time crept towards 1am, a relaxed and fun vibe, and the return of one of Brisbane more loved groups.
I can't think of the last time I saw this many local bands putting on such great performances in the one evening. Luckily for you, you can either relive the evening (if you were there) or experience it for the first time (if you weren't) by heading over to Turn It Up To 10 and downloading the audience recordings of all five sets. Thanks Brendan!