Live Review: The Hard Aches + Foley + Self Talk + Max Quinn – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (21.10.16)

The bands at Northcote Social club on Friday night exemplified the flow-through influence of the pop-punk movement, from mellow Max Quinn to Adelaide duo The Hard Aches. Associating Max Quinn with punk might be a bit of a reach, but the combination of simple, chorus-y guitars and sweet vocals reminds me of pop-punk stalwarts Modern Baseball. The lyrics are cute and clever, addressing concepts relevant to anyone in their early 20s – ‘How am I ‘sposed to buy groceries and pay rent’ – it’s tongue in cheek and fun. Think a young, Melbourne-based They Might Be Giants.

Melbourne five-piece Self Talk are all adorable vocals and guitar-rich sounds, with synth riffs that really tie it all together. It’s all maybe a little 80’s new-wave, with some Killing Heidi influence. I’m a sucker for any band that is female fronted, and can take you on a journey of heartbreak, hindsight and great guitar hooks – keep an eye on this group.

Self-appointed ‘posi-wizards’ Foley were indeed harbingers of positive vibes, down to a very stylish propeller cap. The posi-emo trio didn’t cease from flouncing around stage, returning to the mics to serenade the crowd, emanating energy. Combined with a positive, safe mosh, it was a set that really just like you were having fun with mates.

The last time I caught The Hard Aches, they were supporting Tired Lion around six months ago, at the same venue – now they’re selling out gigs across their national tour. Rotating crowd surf attempts, beer everywhere, sweat dripping from the microphone, pop-punk anthems sung in unison – the duo gave a high-energy, engrossing set. Though a two-person band, clever use of a bass amp and chorus pedal allowed vocalist/guitarist Ben David to create a rich, varied backdrop to accompany his raw lyrics. Yet it wasn’t just Ben using the lyrics as catharsis – the whole crowd seemed to be part of his vulnerability. This isn’t a feeling that you can describe – it’s one you have to experience.

Catch The Hard Aches and Foley on the last leg of their national tour, with some tickets still available for select shows.

October 27th | The Prince of Wales, BUNBURY
October 28th | Jimmy’s Den, PERTH | SOLD OUT
October 29th | Jive, ADELAIDE | SOLD OUT
November 4th | Newtown Social Club, SYDNEY
November 5th | Til The Wheels Fall Off, LAUNCESTON