Bleeding Knees Club, Dune Rats, Sures @ OAF, Sydney (13/04/2012)

The streets are cornered off outside Oxford Art Factory. Barricades hem in Hyde Park. It’s Friday the 13th. There isn’t a pathological slasher on the loose; rather a couple hundred triathletes will take to the streets in the morning.

But it is still Black Friday after all so it’s no surprise when mayhem ensues later in the evening. People literally climb over one another, there’s widespread schizophrenic dancing, overwhelmed security guards, hoarse screaming, guitar duels – basically all the side-affects of good old rock n’ roll.

Sydneysiders Sures are first to hit the stage. Originally a two-piece, the recently expanded lineup is as tight as a new pair of skinny jeans. The smattering of punters present bob their heads in appreciation to the delicious combination of nineties lo-fi and sixties surfer pop. Their songs are fresh and experimental, with unexpected and swift changes in momentum. The band slide with ease from mellow to more frantic beats. Highlights include The Sun and Poseidon.

The room fills out by the time Dune Rats hop on stage. My mate comments that the band looks like they have just stepped off the set of Lords of Dogtown. It almost seems like every band on the bill has a prerequisite for members to have long shaggy hair. Everyone dutifully flicks about with head-banging abandonment.

Dune Rats have a fuzzy garage rock sound. Their playful quality and lyrics leaves everyone loose of limb and energetically flailing about Peter Garrett style. Danny Beusa’s vocals are gravelly and raw, which fits the carefree songs Pogo and Colour television. The bandmates grin at each other during songs, regularly breaking out in laughter throughout the short snappy set. Even their latest single, which features more sober lyrics “you really let me down”, is positively danceable.

With a long soundcheck, the boys of *Bleeding Knees Club appear to be all business. But as soon as they bound on stage they show that they are here to have a cracking good Black Friday. They kick off the set with a slew of cheeky songs inspired by The OC, sex on the beach, teenage girls, sex offenders and getting high.

The crowd swells into a boisterous mosh. The combination of a low stage, limited security, up beat music and infectious enthusiasm quickly results in a steady succession of people clambering onto the stage before leaping off. One chick stays put and dances up a storm. She makes herself so completely at home that security must have thought that she was apart of the band. Eventually her frantic grinding causes the lead singer, Jordan Malanes, to start singing ‘get off the stage’ (I may have taken the liberty to censor a few salty words) Still not taking the hint, he musters her off stage with crafty footwork and few chords on the guitar. Keeping an eye on hydration levels Danny Beusa of Dune Rats relishes in the role of waterboy and pours beer into the mouths of BKC members throughout the sweaty set.

There isn’t any let up, after a thirty pause, the band rip into an encore featuring the swaggering Bad Guy. In a fitting finale, members of BKC and Dune Rats hurl themselves off the stage. The mosh manage to catch everyone, saving them from getting a set of bleeding knees off the polished concrete floor.