CREEP!, Darker Half, Revolution, Bridezilla, Happy Go Hate Fuck @ The Coolabah, Sydney (10/03/06)

Mixed bills can be a very good night out, introductions to new bands, a bringing together of different scenes and a different vibe with each band. Unfortunately band choices and promotional management are key to pulling off this atmosphere. Lacking this was the shambollic night which was Friday 10th of march at the Coolabah, Pitt St. The tense attitude amongst the bands caused by mismanagement by the promoter “Paul Records”, where bands slotted to play at 10.30 were pushed back to the early hours of the morning and cover bands were put in their place. That being said there were some stand out performances amongst the group.

Bridezilla, a melodic, jazz influenced five piece featuring some fine musicianship and haunting tunes. Standout performer of the group being Daisy a very young violinist who shredded on her chosen instrument and more than compensated for the lack of melodic input by the featured guitar parts. They created a sonic sound scape that would have been well suited to act as the soundtrack of a gothic love tale and had a group of young metal heads waiting for thrash bands transfixed with sighs of desire as vocalist Holliday moaned out melodic vocals with haunting melancholy.

Next up we had the experimental Happy Go Hate Fuck. Consisting of two drummers, a bass player and a saxophonist they were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, it was Funhouse with out actual songs. There was no structure, no clear intent on what they were trying to do, besides create a lot of obnoxious noise. At one point the “singer” started banging his head on the ground in some autistic fit, maybe he wished they would stop playing as much as the crowd did. And what perplexed me more than the actual motivation to create such a abhorrent show was the bass players need for 5+ pedals, surely they would be better off just getting a real melodic section rather than just a sax player who couldn’t really play. I think the set can be summed up by one gig goers statement of opinion, “happy go hate suck”

After we were audibly assaulted by the provisional bandits the night entered a bit of a lull as a cover band took the stage. Karaoke style covers of sex pistols songs didn’t take my fancy so I wandered over to the pool tables for some athletic distraction. I was caught unaware when Revolution took the stage with a brand of Doom/stoner rock which was highly derivative of Queens of The Stone Age and Metallica. Bass heavy riffage and with a weak sounding guitar, most likely owing to the restrictions of a single guitar band. Out shining the rest of the band was the wild haired front man who’s charismatic persona more than made up for his skill short comings and obvious language problems suffered by this oriental Hetfield. The poor stage set up really affected his performance, crowded and uneven it was another strike against the organisers. Metallica and Velvet Revolver covers were a litmus test as he struggled to maintain constant notes and cope with the speed and complications of the compositions lyrical high jinx.

Following this introduction to the heavier half of the night up and coming local metal heroes Darker Half led by a captivating lead singer guitarist who is skilled beyond his tender years with a massive vocal range, even when hindered by illness (he was seen doing shots of honey earlier in the night), and guitar shredding in his blood. Bass player Simon, is truly hypnotising with what can only be described as “spider hands”. It was during the set that the crowd of metal heads, rock n roll girls and innocent bystanders were caught up in a rare sight of a circle pit and head banging ball. A cover version of The Trooper by Iron Maiden had an over zealous fan on stage singing along like a Viking Bruce Dickinson. The final number had a handful of kids singing along in cookie monster vocals with Holocaust, assisting the ailing steeve on vox. A supremely gallant performance from kids who play with superiority beyond their young years. One can only see big things for them after supporting Mortal Sin last month and soon to be featuring on the bill at the Woodstock of the anti-Christ Metal Stock over the Easter break.

CREEP! Are an oddity. Captivating, frightening, pretty much working girls and boys in the audience into an adolescent frenzy of satanic sexuality. Chris Penney was God like. Eyes rolled back in his head he took on the persona of a wild beast, falling over and bouncing back onto his feet with not a flinch or hint of pain. Drummer Danos was dwarfed behind the massive rack of toms but bashed out noise that almost equalled Penney’s on stage antics in competing for attention. He’s a vision of a Californian skater kid, a Z boy replica, he’s the kind of kid that every one wants to have as a little brother. Musically it was simply put, intense. The vocal range exhibited by the charismatic front man was intimidating, reminiscent of Eddie Vedder or Josh Homme. He culminated the night with an act of aggression, frustrated with being pushed around by inept promoters and cro magnum security guards, “when you’ve been fucked around all night you know to wait till the last song till you start to fuck things up.”

And with that he threw a glass at the wall behind the drum kit. What I ordinarily would view as unprofessional behaviour, gave the show an aggressive edge, something not ordinarily felt at small local gigs, it was like a microcosm of yesteryear, it was Woodstock 99 concentrated in a bar in inner city Sydney with a group of kids who were looking to slam dance to their favourite bands but were faced with inefficient, bumbling organisation. So I propose that the organisers Paul Records change their attitude and take care of the bands who work to make them money. I suggest that young bands should be treated with a bit more respect so they will act more respectfully towards those who “employ” them. The picks of the night were clearly CREEP! (always spelt in capitals and always with a exclamation mark I’m told by their more than amusing press bio) and Darker Half.