Even though doors opened to Howlers at 8pm, most people were choosing to sit down and have a drink/some food out in the bar area of the venue. Mind you, this was just the calm before the storm that was going to break out later that night; The Bennies were descending for their Natural Born Chillers tour to a sold out crowd!
Comprising of Anna Lienhop (La Bastard, guitar/vocals), Jessie Dennis (Sugarfiend, bass/vocals) and Julia Watt (Hot Wings, drums) the Moody Beaches were unfortunately playing to a much smaller audience than they deserved to. This all female three-piece hails from Melbourne and they bought a surf-rock feel to those who came out early; the small number in attendance most definitely felt much larger than they appeared. The harmonization between Lienhop and Dennis was a beautiful combination, as they went about their set in a very business and professional way. There was a small amount of banter on stage, but most of the talking was done from a musical perspective.
Next to grace the stage were Adelaide’s Young Offenders who had made the trip into our state the night before; they made sure to joke about this throughout the set and use it as an icebreaker! The three piece consisting of Kyle Landman (Guitar/Vocals), Anthony Katern (Bass) and Leigh Shags (Drums) most definitely showed why they were asked to make the trip across the state border. Their frantic and upbeat high energy made Howler feel a lot larger than it was! Young Offenders gave off a very early The Living End vibe and are something that you’d put in the car stereo as you made a day trip down to the beach. Those in the bar part of Howler were clearly appreciating what they were hearing, as the number of people exploded from roughly 30 people when they started to 80 when they ended. These guys were a hidden gem on the line-up that will hopefully get discovered by someone with power before too long!
By the time Ferla were scheduled took the stage, the crowd kept growing and there was roughly 150 people in attendance. Kicking off the set with a stripped back line-up, Giuliano Ferla (Vocals) and Kate Monger (Keyboard/Vocals) treated the crowd to a two song duet, before remaining members Chris Drane and Steve Gavan assumed their positions on stage. Ferla had a unique vibe that was quite different to the previous two bands, but didn’t feel out of place! Ferla was very huge on crowd interaction, as well as being very animated which showed as his personally melded with the music coming from stage. The crowd continued to grow throughout the set and when Ferla left the stage, majority of ticket holders had entered the venue.
What can be said about The Bennies that hasn’t been said before? You know that when you attend a show, you’re going to be treated to a party and last night was no exception! Kicking off their set with Party Smashers, vocalist Anty Horgan, guitarist “King” Jules Rozenbergs, new bassist Nicholas Williams and David “Bowie” Beaumont kept the party rolling with Dreamkillers and Anywhere You Wanna Go. The sold out crowd were treated to the full horn entourage during Get High Like An Angel, which had fans screaming the chorus along as the smell of weed started to fill the air.
My Bike led into a small interlude, before the crowd were taken on a trip down memory lane as Heavy Disco was blasted out at full volume. Whilst Horgan was singing about Fucking Problems, the crowd was well behaved for the most part; the lack of barrier meaning people were able to freely get up on stage if they pleased. Majority of those who did get up on stage were just having fun, although at one point one guy got up and started making a fool as he spilled Horgan’s beer everywhere. However he was swiftly dealt with by Horgan himself and removed from stage! Unfortunately the band were left to dance around the small Ocean of beer that was left on stage by the obnoxious fan, however this didn’t slow the party machine down one bit.
Beach balls were being kicked out into the crowd and returning to the stage, as Corruption lead for the title track of not only the album, but also the entire tour; at this point is was already into Saturday morning, but the crowd somehow managed to lift their voices and energy to another level as Natural Born Chillers lifted the roof off the Howler. Unfortunately we were getting closer to arriving at our Destination, so Horgan and crew made sure we had to Hold On for dear life! The night drew to a close as the band treated us to a full band vocal performance of Trip Report before leaving the stage.
The sold out crowd were left wanting more and they made sure that everyone in the area was well aware! It didn’t take long for the band to run back out and treat us to the first encore of the night, making their way through Legalise (But Don’t Tax); it was at this point that someone passed a joint to Horgan and it got passed around stage. Leaving the stage again to re-fuel, The Bennies came out and blasted their way through Party Machine before running off stage again to the disappoint of everyone in attendance. They say things come in threes and the saying rung true once again; Knights Forever was unfortunately the last song of the night, as everyone had to vacate the Howler by 1am due to licensing reasons!
Brunswick is the alternative culture hub of Melbourne and Friday night saw music take the driver’s seat. The chilly night seemed far less cold within the warm walls of The Howler where summer seemed to take its grasp back over winter; taking centre stage with all summer, dance and party vibes was The Bennies and their amazing support acts. If you’re attending one of the remaining shows, put your dance shoes on!
Anywhere You Wanna Go
Get High Like An Angel
My Bike (Interlude)
Natural Born Chillers
Trip Report (All Sing)
Legalise (But Don’t Tax)
Photos: Dylan Martin
Get your tickets to see The Bennies on The Natural Born Chillers Tour HERE!