Kill City Creeps, Mother And Son @ Spectrum, Sydney (17/2/2012)

There was a lively excitement running around Spectrum tonight as an encouraging number of Sydney’s most spruced up dandies and eager rock’n’roll devotees assembled to see prime local exponents of exalting rock revivalism Kill City Creeps.

Main support, Wollongong’s Mother And Son, boldly blasted onto the stage and immediately captured everyone’s attention. Their brazen surf rock sounds were delivered with huge rushes of energy and irrepressible swagger. Frontman, Bodie, sings with a sort of yelping growl and accordingly wears a gruffly distinguishing moustache (think Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood ). They hurtled through their set of ‘50s shuffle and twang with grit and compelling charisma. The 2-piece configuration was not at all limiting and Mother And Son’s constitutive virtuosic guitar playing and buoyant drumming left an electrifying impression upon the room.

With red flowers now adorning the microphone stands and a vintage film being projected onto the black and white stage backdrop, Kill City Creeps set about educating us on their aesthetic. Frontman, Daniel Darling, asked if we were ‘ready to party?’ and the band promptly showed us exactly how that is done. Kill City Creeps cleverly deploy hooky three-chord ‘60s garage pop, which they wrap up in a bit of chic glam style and deliver flamboyantly. They balance the pastiche well enough to avoid being kitsch.

The Sydney four-piece are a slightly surreal spectacle. They come across as inviting yet just out of reach. Darling looks like he is straight out of a John Waters film and the three women that join him in generating the whirls of slinky fun have an elusively-cool allure.

One of Kill City Creeps’ major strengths is the gelling of the four members. There’s an instinctive energy that circulates amongst the band, which is reflected in their performance and filters into the music. Darling is a very appealing leader who sings with Marc Bolan-esque bravado. Lead guitarist, Knives, plays some really effective lead parts with a good dose of sassy attitude; Nina B’s organ playing is an excellent element of the sound, invoking a bit of B-52s and enlivening songs such as recent single I Got A Letter; and drummer, Mon Cherie, capably holds things in place with dedicated tenacity.

Their songs are snappy and upbeat, giving off notions of the music that would have soundtracked Andy Warhol’s factory parties or what might have happened if Jim Morrison had taken some of Syd Barrett’s acid. The lyrics delve into classic ‘60s freewheelin imagery, referencing mind bending substances and boasting of rock’n roll’s pre-eminence. Sometimes it feels a little bit superficial and operates within quite limited bounds, but the band play with such zeal that you don’t dwell upon whether it’s contrived for there is simply too much fun to be had.

They played most of the tracks off their 2011 EP (which is brilliantly packaged in a “100% post-consumer recycled” paper-bag) and showed us a few of their newer tunes. The sound was spot-on, the atmosphere was convivial, and the band got quite of few of the people in the packed room bopping and shaking.