There was a hint of unrest in the lead up to The Smith Street Band’s second show in Perth last Friday night, some slight tension after harsh words were dealt out by frontman Wil Wagner over some unsavoury punters that had the crowd feeling he’d painted Perth with the same brush.
Much to the relief of everyone, there was none of that at their show; it seemed it was a fresh start and a trip back to their old gigs where you could jump around in the front row, belting your lungs out and the worst you had to fear was sloshing your drink on yourself.
Joelistics was awesome to see; sidling in a hop hop act to a rock show is one of things that isn’t usually done but of course, worked perfectly in the lineup. Running the stage all himself, he kept up a stream of often heavy lyricism inspired by his day job, as well as freestyling all of Perth’s suburbs into a verse. Closing out with “Glorious Feeling”, the floor was well populated and receiving 100 percent.
Next up were fast rising Tassie boys Luca Brasi, tearing it up with plenty of energy and prompting the first shoulder climbs of the night, pints in hand and jostling precariously as the room really got into the anthemic fast punk rock. There’s just something about hearing those Aussie accents singing “Areoplane” and the overall unassuming but powerful stage presence of the group that made it the perfect warm up for the headliners.
Whoever was orchestrating the intermission tunes deserves some appreciation; throwing out Spice Girls and Electric Light Orchestra and it really accentuated the feel good vibes already flooding in the venue. The whole crowd seemed to be talking to each other, moving freely, throwing out a head nod to fellow merchandise wearers, just generally sharing in the excitement of seeing their favourite band about to hit the stage.
The lights came on and Wil Wagner took centre stage with the remaining Smith Street Band members waiting in the wing as he eased the crowd into the opening of “I Love Life”, the band leaping on to crash into the chorus line with that full unapologetically sweaty energy as the room shouted, ‘Am I enough?!’.
Diving straight down “Surrey Drive”, the crowd was heaving but there was no malice around, only smiles as you bumped into your neighbour, voices bursting with each line. Clapping along to bassist Fitzy Fitzgerald‘s lead while others threw shakas to guitarist Lee Hartney, the front row was all colour, sound and movement.
All of a sudden, those teasing chords rung out for “Ducks Fly Together”, eyes on Wil as he precariously plucked out the tune. The crowd surfing was rife as it ever seems to be in Capitol, but they stuck to the centre of the mosh where all hands were ready to carry them up and over, avoiding the dreaded Doc Marten to the back of the head, before security fetched them over the barrier to start again.
Wil introduced “Tom Busby” named after Luca Brasi guitarist, before the frontman Tyler Richardson ran out to take over the song, drawing much applause as he certainly delivered, giving an excellent unique twist to a solid tune. Our hands still raised in the air, “Surrender” had the room jumping to the point the floor flexed beneath our feet.
The band snuck in a drinks break, with Wil taking a swig from a bottle of Jameson like it was water (who hasn’t been there) before giving us a taste of fresh music with “Death To The Lads” that only kept up the intense pace. Perth inspired track “Get High, See No One” was received heartily before Wil took a moment to give us a taste of his solo shows, with a track dedicated to his little sister in “My Little Sinking Ship”, assuring us that it would just be like a ‘not as good version of The Smith Street Band’.
The end of the set was a marathon, as the band paired up “I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore” and “I Can’t Feel My Face” with the almighty “Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams”, causing the mosh to reach peak turbulence. A quick dash backwards with “Get High See Mice” from No One Gets Lost Anymore before finishing off the night with “Throw Me In The River”.
Although it isn’t a Smith Street Band show without the ultimate anthem as the boys returned for an encore with “Young Drunk” truly polishing off an ace set, drummer Chris Cowan throwing out his sticks as the final curtain close to a solid gig.
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You can catch Smith Street at the following legs of the Australian tour:
Thursday, June 16th – Max Watts, Melbourne – SOLD OUT!
Friday, June 17th – Max Watts, Melbourne – SOLD OUT!
Saturday, June 18th – Max Watts, Melbourne – SOLD OUT!
Tickets still on sale for the NZ shows here:
Thursday June 23rd – Kings Arms, Auckland**
Friday June 24th – Great Job, Palmerston North**
Saturday June 25th – Moon 1, Wellington**
**The Smith Street Band only