Words: Matt Maric
Photos: Dylan Martin
One of the best things about heading to a gig at the Croxton is you aren’t forced to wait outside in the elements! Last night in Melbourne was more than just a little chilly, so people were gathering in the sidebar waiting for doors to open. After arriving and seeing that Keggin were the opening support, this reviewer was most excited! This resulted in a brief discussion with a friend about how they’re “Aussie punk based around their love for alcohol,” which had one bar staff comment that, “Other people have described them the same way!”
After doors opened at 8:00, people slowly started trickling their way in over the course of the next half an hour waiting for Keggin to start. Vocalist and guitarist The Goon King stayed true to his name, walking out with an unopened goon cask. Working their way through a 30-minute set, Keggin had so much fun and that positive energy worked its way out into the crowd! From multiple sing-a-longs and orders to “Let those next door know how much we love goon,” the interaction between band and crowd was frequent and most definitely a great way to start off the night. Opening song Love in a Box set the tone for alcohol themed songs such as Smirnoff Fuckoff, Tequila Fiesta and Jack Daniels showcasing just how multicultural Keggin are when it comes to drinking.
There was quite a bit of on-stage banter between all three band members, creating laughs to ring out the venue. A prime example was when The Goon King was introducing his two favourite things, “Goon” and ___; he’s turned to Stubbie Holder and asked what that second thing would be, only to receive the response of, “Diabetes medication.” This resulted in Tyquila quipping, “I was going to say pizza!” Goon Diabetes Medication Pizza (Goon Beer) has paved the way for most recent single Fruity Alexia Makes You Sexier. The remaining four songs of Keggin’s set revolved their number one love as Goon is Good, Death Bag, The Goon Song and Goon Football League and were accentuated with multiple distractions / laugh creators. Whether it be Stubbie Holder taking a break to skull a beer, The Goon King doing a Shoe-y or The Goon King (again) having to hit his amp mid song to get it working again, Keggin most definitely set the bar high for the rest of the night.
As Keggin left the stage, more people started working their way into the concert part of the Croxton as four-piece Coffin Wolf graced the stage roughly 25 minutes later; in fact the number through the doors had come close to tripling in that time! After opening with an intro track, they launched straight into The Vulture and Break the Skin before treating people to new single Open Road. After having watched Keggin who were very jovial and relaxed on stage, Coffin Wolf were the complete contrast! They were tight, they didn’t take much time to introduce their songs as they preferred to keep the momentum moving, there was a lot of movement on stage and they got heads banging from front to back. Self Destruct, Anywhere but Here, Winter Blues and more have kept the wheels going as Coffin Wolf’s set drew to a close before you knew it, disappointing quite a few people before they remembered that meant Strung Out were going to be on stage before too long.
With Strung Out celebrating ‘Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues’ by playing it from start to finish, their set was essentially broken up into two halves. Kicking straight into Firecracker, the energy coming from all five band members was insane and that instantly transferred into the pit; the transition from calm to slam pit took place within a matter of seconds! Between founding guitarists Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos, founding vocalist Jason Cruz, long time bassist Chris Aiken and newly gathered drummer RJ Shankle, there was so much going on that you didn’t know where to look! Things just got worse from this point on as Better Days, Solitaire and Never Good Enough followed, resulting in bodies constantly surging forward due to the frequent interaction between the band and the audience. Taking very little time to allow fans to rest, Cruz led a singalong through Gearbox, Monster, Bring Out Your Dead and Rotten Apple before taking a small second to interact with the crowd, thanking them for not only turning out tonight, but for supporting the band for so long! Cruz and co worked their way through the rest of ‘Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues’ with Radio Suicide, Somnomulance, Six Feet, Speedball and Wrong Side before thanking the crowd once again.
Now that the album portion of the set was out of the way, Strung Out took fans on a ride throughout their illustrious career as they kicked off the second half of the set with The Architect and The Town of Corazon. This reviewer had already lost count of the number of times either Cruz had leaned out into the crowd to hold the microphone above the pit, or Kiley, Ramos or Aiken were playing with one foot resting on the front of the rail, but the amount of energy and showmanship being shown by these long time punk legends was just amazing! Somehow the crowd were still singing at full voice and slamming around with the same ferociousness as when Strung Out started, which resulted in the band not only trying to get a “Square Pit” going, but also reminding fans to take care of each other! The hits kept coming as fans were treated to Calling, Nowheresville, Too Close to See, Everyday, and Animal and the Machine before drawing their set to a close with Matchbook; this culminating with Cruz taking the bass guitar off Aiken and passing him the microphone and switching roles for the last chorus and verse!
After thanking fans and leaving the stage, it wasn’t long before fans were requesting Strung Out made their re-appearance for more. It wasn’t long before Kiley walked out on stage and took residence behind the drum kit, just mucking around and having fun as the rest of the band joined him. Bodies started slamming again as fans were treated to an encore consisting of Mission to Mars and Analogue, before the band took time to come down off stage and get photos with adoring fans!
Never Good Enough
Bring Out Your Dead
Wrong Side of the Tracks
Town of Corazon
Too Close to See
Animal and the Machine
Mission to Mars
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