The Smith Street Band @ Metro City
with Joyce Manor, Ceres, Allison Weiss
Friday, June 9, 2017
It’s hard not to be swept up by the music of Wil Wagner and The Smith Street Band. Wil has become more outspoken lately and growing in his role as a leader in Australian rock. With the release of More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, The Smith Street Band has taken a further step. The venues are bigger with most selling out across the country.
Los Angeles-based indie songwriter Allison Weiss was up first. Her songs were on the pop side of rock but she was charismatic and the lyrics heartbreaking.
It took Melbourne punk rockers Ceres a while to warm up, but by the time they got to their hit Happy in Your Head, everything was on track. The chorus in that song noticeably lifted the mood inside the venue. Will Wagner joined the band for Stretch Your Skin, singing in duet with lead singer Tom Lanyon, it was hugs all round as Will spun back and forth from the mic.
Californian pop punk four piece, Joyce Manor, never really got in the zone tonight, despite the strong support from the crowd. The set was plagued with some unwanted delay effects on the vocals and it was clearly effecting the band. Highlights were Heart Tattoo and the sweet melodies of Constant Headache.
The stage was promptly turned over and a huge The Smith Street Band banner was unfurled covering the front of the stage. Although not quite sold out, the crowd was thick and pushing hard to get closer to the stage. The Smithies opened with Suffer and followed it up with Birthdays. “Welcome to the Thunderdome!” proclaimed Wagner as he looked across and up the tiered venue. Next up was the unmistakable riff from Surrey Dive and it was clear that the performance was going to be flawless. The sound was fuller than ever before with new touring members Lucy Wilson on acoustic guitar, synth and backing vocals and Jess Locke on guitar and backing vocals.
You can’t really go wrong with a song like Young Drunk when the crowd sings along to every word. Every song was an anthem tonight and when they dropped the tempo for Run into the World, it was hard not to think that we were watching a truly great Australian band. The dropdown moment brought in the majestic vocals of Lucy & Jess with Tom Lanyon backing them up. Death to the Lads was one of the big songs of the night. To me when Wagner sings the chorus it could easily be directed at half of the people in this room, especially the people who were purposely tipping beer from the second tier onto the punters below.
Their track Surrender resonated strongly with the crowd and Young Once finished off the set.
Before obliging a three song encore, Wil thanked the Perth crowd, “It’s mother fucking surreal to be honest with you.” The band then raced through Sigourney Weaver and finally a heartfelt version of Throw Me In The River. This is The Smith Street Band in perfect control, in the moment and in incredible form. I left feeling way better than when I walked in. It was the perfect reset.
Photos by Paul Dowd Photography