Gig/Concert: The Hard-Ons, Project Mayhem, Grim Fandango, New Husseins
Venue: Rosemount Hotel, North Perth, WA, Australia
Date: 30 October 2009
Headliners: The Hard-Ons
In one word: Loud
The first of three local supports for this leg of the Hard-Ons’ 25th Anniversary tour, the New Husseins opened proceedings with a mix of thrashy 80’s metal and punk-rock, with requisite “Ace of Spades” cover. “Give a Dog a Bone” was a standout track from this band of bald rockers, and set the mood for the loud, sweaty night ahead.
Local favourites Grim Fandango were next up, and presented a near-flawless set. Vocalist Tom Ware showed off his increasingly versatile range, with Robin Bray’s standout drumming keeping the band charging along at full-speed. A better party band in Perth there is not, and tracks from their recent split release with Melbourne’s Kill Whitey such as “The Best” and “Smudge and Cigarette Stains” demonstrated the band’s ever improving songwriting skills. This band has seemingly endless potential, which they seem heart-set on reaching.
Given the difficult task of coming between a swelling crowd and a much-loved headlining act, Project Mayhem presented an energetic and fun set. With an obvious admiration for Jello Biafra, vocalist Benny Watson’s stage antics kept the crowd’s attention long enough to win over some new fans and expose them to Project Mayhem’s driving bass lines and simple, yet effective and catchy guitar riffs and vocal hooks. An interesting mix of the Dead Kennedys, early Bouncing Souls and You Am I, Project Mayhem have quickly made a name for themselves on the local scene and it will be interesting to see how they develop in time.
Patience was tested, however, when the band’s set seemed to carry on into extended overtime, with many in the crowd awaiting the magic words “this is our last song, thanks for coming down” and first sight of the night’s headliners.
Ever the definition of DIY, the Hard-Ons were on stage in a matter of minutes setting up their own gear and stretching the definition of “sound check” to new levels of brevity and recklessness – the way a punk rock band should, which meant that pretty much every knob available was turned up to 11 and the best was hoped for.
The best was delivered, with “What Would Stiv Bators Do?” from recent release Most People Are a Waste of Time opening the set, followed by crowd favourite “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”, with guitarist Blackie now fully entrenched in his role as lead vocalist. Other standout tracks included “Where Did She Come From?” featuring the super-thrashy backing vocals of bassist Ray Ahn and “Just Being With You”. Now a shirtless mess of hair, tattoos and sweat, the band sent the crowd into overdrive with “I Do, I Do, I Do” followed by the growling, riff heavy “Carrot Top” from their most recent full length 2007’s Most People Are Nicer Than Us, the heavy counterpart to Waste of Time’s pop outing of the year before.
The adoration of the crowd, which consisted of all types, styles and ages touched the Hard-Ons’ 25 year history of honest to badness punk rock was palpable; and spurred the band on to deliver the kind of solid breakneck fun that is so dearly missed in newer bands of the genre.
Returning for a brief encore which ended with the absolute classic “Raining”, this band of old-timers left every ear in the room ringing, even those supposedly protected by ear plugs. The 30th Anniversary tour had better be just as fun!
© Steve Pass
Don’t Wanna See You Cry
Made To Love You
Just Being With You
Everyone Seems To…
Don’t Fear The Reeperbahn
Where Did She Come From
Eye of the Tiger
I Do I Do I Do
Hard-Ons Interview with Ray Ahn – Interviews | Music Vice Magazine
Hard-Ons – Myspace
Project Mayhem – MySpace
Grim Fandango – MySpace
The New Husseins – MySpace