Starting off the night, however, were garage rockers Villains of Wilhelm. Before I go any further, there's one thing that has always annoyed me about this band: they seem to always pronounce Wilhelm as 'will-helm', missing the obvious opportunity for illiteration provided by the usual pronunciation of the name! Man, that really grinds my goat... Anyway, The Villains play largely uptempo, loud rock'n'roll with occasional detours into something a bit more melodious. Frontman Danny Wilhelm is far and away the focal point of procedings, running around and causing all sorts of havoc while the rest of the band provides tight backing to his antics. In general crowds seem to lap it up, though not everyone is so enamoured - after their set a less than impressed friend of mine commented that 'anyone can roll around on the floor, it doesn't mean the songs are any good'. It's a fair point, though perhaps a marginally unfair one. While The Villains are hardly providing anything unique in the grand scheme of things, they execute their chosen brand of rock'n'well with a near perfect balance of musical proficiency and reckless abandon. Furthermore, what's wrong with a bit of showmanship? Whether the band can prove themselves to be as effective on record is up for debate, but as a live spectable they're a worthwhile act for those with a predisposition towards their particular form of rock.
DZ have garnered a reputation as a fairly explosive live act, being unafraid to try every trick in the proverbial book to enhance the energy inherent in two dudes playing loud, guitar-based rock music. To that end they liberally incorporate intense strobe lights, crowd surfing, smoke machines, black lights and extreme volume. Most of these things were on display at the launch of their Ruined My Life EP, and the crowd responded in predictably riotous fashion. The end result was without a doubt one of the sloppiest rock sets I've seen in many a month - instruments would regularly stop playing for bars at a time, musical cues would be missed, crowd members would run onstage and push over parts of the drum kit or pull out a guitar lead. For a band being touted in some circles as the heir to Violent Soho's grunge-influenced crown, on this particular night they lacked that particular band's iron-tight grip on its music, but that's not really what DZ are trying to achieve. They're a band who are attempting to bring the noise and aggression of punk and meld it with the communal, party atmosphere of dance music, as shown by their regular covering of songs from acts live Daft Punk, Justice and even the Venga Boys. Judged on that criteria, the launch was a complete success. I can't think of many occasions where a crowd has been so intensely into a local band's set, or where the security at the front of the stage were actually not only necessary at a local show, but so laughably ineffectual.
The night finished up with Stature::Statue playing the 1am slot, but a) I've already reviewed them quite recently and b) I was pretty tired by the time they had started so had already headed home. There was also Chain Gang from Sydney at the start of the night, but I only caught their last (pretty crazy) song, plus they don't fit within Before Hollywood's scope.
Photo courtesy of Gerry Rocks.
Usual full disclosure statement: I recorded the DZ EP at my home studio.