Walking in, the stench of spilt beer was already overpowering at The Corner Hotel in Richmond tonight. Far from being a sticky-floored dive bar, the usually clean-cut venue was already feeling the slosh of munted punters.
Australian Kingswood Factory fit this vibe right from the get-go, an energetic rollicking mix of Motorhead, Bad Religion, No Use For A Name and their ilk. Banging out chord-driven punk rock and with a drummer sporting THE biggest mohawk yours truly has ever seen, these boys brought the low-slung fretted instruments and non-stop shuffle.
‘Who’s still getting on the s**t?’, ‘F**K Mondays!’, ‘Who’s psyched for mad c***s Drunk Mums?’, ‘I’ve never seen them sober before, I don’t plan on doing so now!’ This was just some of the fun-loving banter espoused by the beatnik-looking frontman. Ripping guitar and bass solos over relentless drumming, all to the requisite ring-out at the end to thunderous applause.
Now here was a surprise. Drunk Mums seem to slot in on all the bills where you usually find Triple J hipster indie, so something of that ilk would not fit the lineup but hey, it’s almost to be expected. Tonight however, these young rapscallions blew that misconception out of the water in a vaporised cloud of rocking goodness.
Beers sloshing in all directions in the crowd, everyone hugely appreciated the snarky punky stylings of the vocalists and the classic rock stage theatrics to boot. A mix between clean chords and bass and pure overdriven raw fury over frenetic skins, with a bassist and frontman sporting a Flying V bass, mullet and mo like an Aussie rock icon.
Smashing out a gang-chant-heavy set, including a song with fully improvised vocals, the ‘Mums gave a fitting tribute to our most beloved family members on Mother’s Day. Slinging guitars and banging heads aplenty, the band paid tributary homage to classic rock a la Jet and Wolfmother, albeit with much better songs and ten times the stage presence. The crowd was drunk with bloodlust for riffs as well as literally smashed, hooting and roaring in unison as they left the stage.
And then there was Red Fang. Grey hairs and dad bods showing a little length in the teeth as they approached the stage, but that wasn’t to fool us. These guys brought a veritable hurricane of showmanship from the get-go. Slamming and ‘banging and riffing through ‘Blood Like Cream‘, ‘Malverde‘ and a career-spanning set (including a monolithic performance of ‘Prehistoric Dogs‘), the band members’ heads were on constant rotation, bodies twisting and turning with the labyrinth of rock, metal, stoner and even sludge riffage.
Instead of wearing out across the set the band and audience alike fed on a perpetual cycle of energy, the ‘Fang proved older dudes can rock and age is no barrier. Not that they’re elderly citizens, but compared to the babyfaces of Drunk Mums, these guys brought experience, wisdom and force to their unbridled energy. A mass of swirling solos, complex passages and simply punky, gigantic riffs atop avalanche style drumming. Singer Aaron Beam gave shoutouts to mums everywhere, hooting with disbelief at the manic crowdsurfer-encrusted swarm of energy before him. Remarking on the feast of energy before him, the band were of few words overall, preferring to kick through the set until lamenting on having to depart the stage so soon.
The Corner has played host to a bunch of metal and hardcore bands recently, and there have been some brutal festivals such as Direct Underground Fest showcasing hyper-speed aggression. However, few bands could keep up with the frantic mixture of rabid stage presence and dime-turning riff production that we witnessed. A sea of horns and screams of approval from the drunk hive-mind as the encore closed off one banger of an evening.
It might’ve been Mother’s Day tonight, but these guys are living proof that Dads can still tear the house down. Just feed them a few beers and get them kicking and enjoy the show.