The Shakeys


Battleaxe Howlers/Scalphunter/The Lungs/The Reptilians

The Rocket Room

Friday, April 11, 2014

One of the best things about the punk scene is how egalitarian it all is. The line between audience and performer is blurred, not just by how often the performers tend to get out amongst the crowd (and vice versa), but by the sense of camaraderie and the DIY ethos. The audience is full of musicians and the bands are all dedicated punters who enthusiastically rock out to the other acts on the bill both before and after their own sets. “Inclusive” might be the word we’re searching for here, a term that seems at odds with a scene marked – by outside observers at least – by booze, belligerence, leather, denim and studs, but it’s still an accurate one.

The Reptilians kicked things off with a blast of concentrated old school noise. Lead singer Blake Hate shed his shirt a few songs in and proceeded to throw himself around the venue, alternating between roaring into the mic and leaning, a tad unsteadily, on the bar between songs. The five piece are a ferocious live presence, not letting the odd microphone problem get in the way of their determination to blow the doors off the room.

The Lungs charted a similar course, albeit with bit more oi! added to the mix. The mad lads from Mandurah epitomise the don’t-give-a-fuck part of  punk, revelling in presenting a scuzzy, borderline-repulsive demeanour as they belted out a fast, filthy set, occasionally pausing to contend with a ridiculously low-slung bass guitar coming loose from its strap.

It sounds like strange praise, but you would actually have to be kind of crazy to have Scalphunter in a support slot at this stage of the game, simply because they are one of the best live bands currently doing the rounds in Perth and stand a pretty decent chance of overshadowing the headlining act. That didn’t happen tonight, but it was certainly a close-run thing.  Tight and professional while still outrageously good fun, they set the room alight with their all-for-one party time attitude, lead singer Steve Knoth informing the crowd that anyone who knew the lyrics could have a crack at singing. More than one punter took him up on the offer, and a killer time was had by all.

Fantastic female foursome The Shakeys do not mess around, delivering a killer show for their last gig before they nick off to Japan for a whirlwind tour. Comparisons to other all-girl acts are cheap; while there’s certainly a touch of The runaways of their DNA, overall their sound is punk by way of aussie pub rock, with songs like Drinkin’ Til Dawn (which got an encore reprise for this show) and Blood On The Cement clear indicators the lack of bubblegum in their genetic makeup. For all that, this was a joyous, celebratory show; the new EP is a killer, with the titular White Lightning being a standout. Former member Daphne tan even got up for a couple of belters, adding to the familial vibe of the night.

Ferocious Melburnian rockers Battle Axe Howlers wrapped up the night, their sound leaning more towards metal than punk. Theirs is a heavy, sludgy sound, redolent with threat and anger, and if the crowd had thinned somewhat after The shakeys were done, those that remained liked what they heard. All told, it was a top night.