The Hard Aches @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s
w/ Sincerely Grizzly, Antonia & The Lazy Susans, JOYS
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Usually you’ll find when you walk into a gig at 8.30pm, there’ll be four or five people sitting by the bar and a whole lot of empty space on the dance floor. This evening in contrast had a crowd already lining up at 8pm providing a clear indication of the hype around this tour.
Local Perth four-piece, JOYS started the evening with their slow, melodic punk rock featuring tracks from their EP due to launch next week on May 2 at The Bird. They played songs to a half-filled room, providing an authenticity that can be hard to pin down in this genre as they verbalised their maturity. Switching between two strong singers, the diversity this band can cover across their songs is exciting.
It was a bit of a surprise to hear what came from Sincerely, Grizzly once they’d set up to play. Their music had some subtle dark and twangy noises screeching through their instruments. The lead singer reminded me of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s frontman Anthony Kiedis with the texture he had in his voice as they sung Catholic Guilt and I’m Nucky Thompson. When you watched this band it seemed intimate, like you were seeing through a window a true reflection of how they felt with no filters in their stage performance. It was a lot darker and heavier than I would have imagined on this line up and it probably shouldn’t have worked but it totally did.
It was a short break between Sincerely, Grizzly and Antonia & The Lazy Susans as the four members stepped on stage. Lead singer Antonia Susan was dressed all in black sang with a strong Australiana accent and some serious strength in her voice. Songs such as Grandfather and Home Here With Your Friends showcased Susan’s stage personality as she left all of herself on that stage, with gut wrenching vocals and no beat missed because of two broken guitar strings through the set.
The venue had been packed for over half of the evening which meant that when it was time for The Hard Aches to come on stage the punters were well and truly worked up and ready to go. Huge cheers rippled through the crowd as the guys walked on, kickstarting their set with their first single from their album launch. Mess was played and played loudly with half of the punters singing back to the band. To say that its impressive how much noise these two dorky looking guys can make on stage is an understatement. You have Upton in his signature beanie whose drum sticks are an extension of him and David who absolutely shreds his electric guitar whilst simultaneously being able to reach inside you and rip out major organs through his vocal changes. It’s intense and brutal punk rock goodness with an intimacy and vulnerability that means it can be one anthem song with a thousand different truths depending on who is connecting to what.
After two songs from Mess and a broken guitar string, the band go back through their body of work and we hear songs from previous EP’s and their last album Pheromones. Their ability to understand what their audience wanted them to play was uncanny, as their transitions between songs were seamless. Susan walked on stage with an acoustic guitar in the latter half of the set to support David for Happy which added a whole new dimension to the gig. Their voices were incredibly complimenting and it just reinforced this sense of community the band project through their music and their actions. Regularly during the evening David was spotted speaking to friends and fans alike on the floor of the pub, rather than holed up in the back-stage area. There was shout-outs and appeals to support their supporting acts and they were straight off stage and by the Merch stand ready to chat to whoever wanted to after their set.
At the end of their set, there was no usual chant for one more song. When a band gives you as much brutal honesty during their set as they did you recognise that and when they stop for the first time you feel fulfilled already. No encore required.
Photos by Owen Gregory