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House Arrest
House Arrest

Bar 459

Friday, January 16, 2015

 With the recent closure of many of Perth’s popular live music venues there is a sense that the local music scene is in trouble. But the fact is, live music is better than ever. Bar 459 at The Rosemount Hotel has taken a place firmly at the centre of punk and hardcore to become a staple hangout for local bands. I made my way to the House Arrest/Sorrow Suckers EP launch and discovered almost straight away the line-up would have no trouble filling the wonderful little dive that is Bar 459.

Noah Skape (and the teenage wasteland) opened the night with a performance of cabaret inspired folk rock. Noah was the renowned frontman of seminal Perth punk band FAIM. With a reputation for presence and theatrics Noah had no problems absolutely captivating the arriving punters. His set of playfully cynical tunes thrashed out on an acoustic guitar were the perfect accompaniment to a well-deserved cold beer at the end of a long week.

Roswell hit the ground running with a set of pop-rock inspired punk. Evoking a style not dissimilar to The Ataris and Rise Against they played a set of catchy and impressive songs. They managed to keep up the intensity throughout the set, despite being on so early. Someone to watch out for in the future.

Emu Xperts have gained a reputation for a fierce and unpredictable live show. Frontman Blake Hate spits nothing but pure and unadulterated debauchery, decedent and disgustingly beautiful. These guys are a train wreck, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They dominated the stage and infiltrated the audience making anyone at the back of the room question their purpose; namely “why the hell am I not dancing?”

With the crowd warmed up Them Sharks hit the stage playing their infectious reggae tunes that have made them legends in the Perth scene. Fresh from their performance at Fools Festival (S.A.) they were a force to be reckoned with for anyone who thought they could merely sit there and watch. They sung, they danced, and they got people on stage. Them Sharks continually deliver a solid live performance and if you’re yet to see them you need to re-evaluate your existence.

While the floor glistened with discarded glitter due to the antics of a particularly deranged vocalist, House Arrest quietly took to the stage. The drinks had been flowing freely and there was a sense of drunken excitement in the air, not uncommon for a Friday at a punk show. But as the band burst into song the venue sprang to life. Skanking drunks, dancing and singing along to some of the best ska this side of 1999. Sharing the vocals Ben Elliott and Andy Storey have no problem holding and moving the crowd.

Song after song of unrelentingly upbeat melodies with intermittent breaks into melancholy reggae grooves. There is no doubt an enormous amount of talent in this act, and I’ll admit to already being a huge fan. The songs are brilliantly composed, catchy and fun but personal and meaningful. The night was a huge amount of fun, and all of these bands deserve attention from anyone who considers themselves a fan of local music. Be sure to get a copy of the House Arrest/Sorrow Suckers EP!


Dave Mullins

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