The Bennies @ Rosemount Hotel
w/The Cutaways, Candy Guts, Last Lions
Friday, December 1, 2017
As varied and eclectic as the hypersonic fusion of music that is The Bennies, so was the crowd at their Friday night Rosemount gig. Fans of every genre that makes up The Bennies’ sound, young and old, were out to party, and a party is what they got. Despite regular west coast visits, their psychedelic fusion of atmospheric craziness makes for one hell of a night that always leaves you satisfied, but still wanting more. This time it was the Get High Like an Angel Tour, a tasty appetiser to their upcoming album, Natural Born Chillers, due February 2. Tagging along for the roller coaster ride with the Melbourne quartet were Perth natives Last Lions and Candy Guts, along with Brisbanites The Cutaways.
Local punk rock outfit, Last Lions, kicked off the night and laid down some neat grooves to the small but continually growing crowd. From song one, it was obvious people’s eardrums were going to get a solid beating tonight. Frontman, Michael Slitenbachs’ announcement, “I came here to party man, I didn’t come here to fucking think about shit,” reflected the vibe of the night during their shredding set, which even saw a portion of The Bennies and The Cutaways in the crowd showing support. Shout out to their guitarist who, despite a strap malfunction, impressively managed to keep the music flowing almost seamlessly until someone was able to repair it, twice. It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up and his recovery and maintenance of sound was spot on.
Second local support, Candy Guts, was up next with a heavier offering of alternative grungy punk noise to a continually growing crowd. Formed only this year, and already having been nominated for a WAM award for Most Popular New Act, their gnarly set that was well worth getting in early to see. Their sound has some nice melody hidden amongst the savage eardrum beating from their instruments which included many neat riffs that had feet tapping and heads nodding.
They dropped a few rockin tunes including recently released debut single Vax and a neat selection of other works we’ll hopefully see forming an EP or LP soon. It’s a solid fusion of sound, think DZ Deathrays’ Bloodstreams album and Wavves’ King of the Beach smashed together. It’s dirty, fuzzy and loud, but all in the right ways. Another local group worth keeping an eye and ear on.
The room quickly filled for final support, The Cutaways, who kicked things up another notch with their sharp, fast and loud punk rock songs, which drew people towards the stage. The pulsing sound was intense, guitars and bass were being slayed with serial killer precision and the drummer was an absolute force to be reckoned with, as he bashed the drums into the floor, in what seemed like a summoning of something from the depths below; it was fucking unreal.
Kicking off with All the Way to the End, Disclosed and Walk Me Home, from their 2016 self-titled EP, the crowd had was given the opportunity to do two things, appreciate the impressive instrumental work on display or let loose and jump around, most did both, but either way it made for a great time. Recent, mid-tempo’ish release, Muscle In, was also in there along with a couple of presumably new songs, which will hopefully make it onto their rumoured, in development LP.
Frontwoman Emmy Hour’s strong gravelly vocals add another level to their sound that, on top of the thrashing guitar, drum and bass work, gives The Cutaways a unique sound that’s difficult not to enjoy and thrash out to. They absolutely dominated the stage for their entire set which was littered with sick riffs that had the whole room moving, a fine addition to tonight’s line-up.
Philosophical party masters, The Bennies, are known for their high energy, off the hook, live shows, a chaotic festival of techno-reggae/punk anarchy. Like a roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris, they kicked it up, not just another measly notch, but into stratospheric levels the second they walked on stage to a ghoulish synth. They hadn’t even picked up their instruments yet and the crowd was roaring, the atmosphere set to Bennies mode strait up. We came to party and as soon as they hit the stage, it was clear they had too, and that’s exactly what happened.
As frontman Anty Horgan opened with “We came from Adelaide last night, where it was too hot, and we landed in Perth, where the porridge was just right” and followed with “We are the motherfucking Bennies, all the way from Melbourne, and we came here to Party”, mass roars and cheers bellowed from the crowd before they kicked into Party Till I Die. Everyone was instantly moving and singing along, the vibe for the rest of the set was quickly established, and things only intensified with each passing song.
The stage set, complete with a range of coloured lights, featured a sparkler machine that spewed sparklers to the ceiling during selected songs. Yes, in true The Bennies style, a freak’n sparkler machine – well four actually. The Bennies are fucking insane, there music is a psychedelic adventure into outer space and their performance is a nonstop explosion of energy, especially from Horgan, who frantically jumped around the stage like the energiser bunny on an acid trip the entire set with his endless, infectious, energy.
It’s not just the music that makes these guys so awesome live, it’s the atmosphere they create in the process. All the worries of the week were gone as everyone eagerly hoped aboard the crazy train to Bennyville. Like a well-oiled (wisdom) machine, they shot cosmic energy into the crowd as they spun through a selection of songs from across their discography, dominated by the ever popular, Wisdom Machine. Recently released single, Get High Like an Angel, plus a few more delicious treats from Natural Born Chillers, Ocean and Dreamkillers, were also thrown in there.
They blazed through Detroit Rock Ciggies and Heavy Disco which saw the crowd go nuts and the mosh really kick in, before jumping into Get High Like an Angel, which attracted a mass chorus sing along from the pumped crowd that flowed into Auto Party Pilot. The crowed tagged along to the catchy lyrics of nearly every song, including absolutely crazy mass crowd vocals of Auto Party Pilot chorus and “King Kong ain’t got shit on me”. Another taste of Natural Born Chillers came with Ocean, which quickly grabbed the attention of the crowd who were hanging off every riff and lyric.
Crowd sing along was equally inclusive during My Bike which also saw a sick solo from drummer, David ‘Bowie’ Beaumont, while proceeding Acid on Me Brain, saw an equally rad bass solo from Craig Selak. Though guitarist, Jules Rozenbergs, didn’t get a spacious solo like the others, his gnarly shredding produced killer riffage in smaller doses throughout the set.
Legalise (But Don’t Tax) saw Horgan hit the crowd for a short surf and a third dose of Natural Born Chillers came with Dreamkillers, before Corruption took off. For Knights Forever, Horgan encourage the crowd to split, with half tagging along with Selak to cover “Don’t you wish these nights go on forever?” while the other shouted “No way, get fucked, fuck off” along with Rozenbergs. The occasional scent of frequent subject matter, Mary Jane, rose through the venue (most likely medicinal of course) during the set but was surprisingly scarce, during the gig anyway.
Closer and crowd favourite, the ultimate song to let loose to, Party Machine, saw everyone lose their fucking mind, everyone had caught Horgan’s infectious energy. Anyone starting to tire was quickly revitalised as the song kicked in. An almighty cheer from the crowd at song’s end indicated a night enjoyed by all, chanting of “encore” and “one more song” started before they’d even left the stage and continued until they were back soon after.
They hit the stage again to close with Highrider and Hold On, Highrider fuelling full speed in the mosh again. After the crazy, out of this world, set, Hold On brought everyone gracefully back to planet Earth before being released back into the wild. Their set was a roller coaster of hectic party tunes that wormed their way into your ears, where they’re likely to linger for days to come.
We came, we saw, we partied. All in all, a fucking great night, now the following morning, not so much. Everyone appeared full of energy and bearing an ear to ear grin as they left the venue, clearly a good night for all. A sick night and rad way to end the year as we creep close to the next. The music and performance were next level, but it’s the atmosphere and overall vibe on top of it that really made the night, easily lands my shortlist for best gigs of 2017.
Photos by Paul Dowd Photography