« x »

BAD//DREEMS @ Badlands Bar gets 9/10

Bad//Dreems @ Badlands Bar
Friday, June 16, 2017


Red-eyeing themselves around the country with a Top-20 new album in tow, Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems are one of a kind.

Sliding onto the stage in uniform steel caps, singer Benny Marmalade is the twitching picture of outer-suburban rage. If you’re too far-left or too far-right, he’s onto you and you’re getting a serve. He’s a Town-Crier for down-n-outs, could-da-beens and gonna-bees. And the crowd tonight are all sorts, waiting to be unleashed by a footy club birthed band of Surgeons and Tradesmen.


Those new to Bad//Dreems instantly notice the similarity to the the now-iconic 70s and 80s Aussie pub bands that helped shape Australian identity before globalisation and the internet almost swept it away. Dancing, chugging bass-lines with chiming, spikey guitars over the top with frantic backbeats is the formula and, of course, big chanting choruses to be bellowed back in mutuality.

Badlands Bar was hitting 500 strong when they ripped into growling opener Blood Love. Then came their debut album indie hit Cuffed & Collared followed along with new album Gutful’s Johnny Irony, its paranoid hook warning that “Yeah, but Monday’s comin!” – a flicker of despair in all our minds.


This reviewer promised to count the number of crowd surfers but lost track half way through at 37. There were bodies flying everywhere, with the stage security seemingly under orders to allow anyone to stage-invade.


After the righteous Hiding to Nothing, the band’s breakthrough single Mob Rule came, and Dumb Idea, classics that rival their forefathers’ hits. Mid-way through Mob Rule a heavily dreadlocked fan decided to hop up and sing the whole song with Benny, requesting a long swig of his ever-present bottle of Jameson’s as the final chord rang out.

My Only Friend was a touching highlight showcasing the vulnerability of Marmalade and epitomised the classic, honest songwriting that is the bedrock of their appeal.

After the show a kid was smiling maniacally into the bathroom mirror admiring his split lip, earned after an Olympic stage dive. “Best scar I’ve ever got in my life mate,” was his quip.

There you have it: Musically and mentally the band were on fire. Guitarist Alex Cameron’s riffs sing out, his classic Strat-Deluxe duo sounding like long drives Down South while the thunder of the Jimmy Bartold’s bass and Miles Wilson’s drums made it physically impossible to stand still.


Not everyone’s going to like this music. We’re too far down the track for that. But the funny thing is that the subjects of Baddies’ songs, who’d do well for the dose of self-awareness, were likely further down Aberdeen Street dancing to beige, electronic DJ fodder on their ninth Turkey and Coke.

If there’s an Australiana sized hole in your heart, then pay attention. Who else is doing the character assessments, and assassinations, of our mainstream culture’s common but evasive dark side? Who else is discussing what it means to be a man struggling to contain hyper-masculinity in a hypersensitive world? You certainly wont hear it on daytime radio. This is the underground. It’s real. This lot are outsiders. And Monday, as we all know, always comes.


Photos by Paul Dowd Photography

« x »