Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
A Saturday night at one of my most loved local music venues, The Triffid and I am set to see one of my favourite garage rock super party fun bands, Dune Rats! After hitting Melbourne and Sydney, it is Brisbane’s turn for the ‘Crowd Smurfing Tour’ with thanks to Ratbag Records and Village Sounds. The night is set to go off with a sold out show and absolutely killer support from West Thebarton and Miss June. Holy heck, I knew I was in for a good night, but my expectations were exceeded ten fold. Take me back please!? Let’s do it all again!
So whilst that’s not possible (unless someone has actually managed to build a time machine), what I can do is take you on a written journey of how the night panned out… (With visuals from the amazing Luke Sangiorgio)
Heading into the valley early to meet with friends for poutine from Five Dogs and then to Greaser for a few five dollar basics, the night air was crisp with an icy breeze after such a gorgeously warm and sunny day. Heading up to The Triffid, kept warm in my oversized Dead Love hoodie, we arrived raring to go. Furphy on tap (my fave) and time for more chills and chats before the first band was to hit the stage at 8:30.
New Zealand’s alternative/punky/grungy rockers, Miss June took to the stage first and proceeded to blow my mind. First of all, I have a massive girl crush on the gorgeously real and raw beauty and talent that is vocalist and guitarist, Annabel Liddell. She’s unapologetically herself on stage and it really adds to the overall appeal Miss June has. Then, to add to the panache of this new favourite band of mine, is the skills, talent and confidence coming from the other three members too. Guitarist, Jun Park’s talent combined with his flair on stage is something close to sublimity. Bassist, Chris Marshall’s banter with the crowds and overall performance was ultimate also and watching drummer, Tom Leggett had me standing with my mouth open and staring at one stage, holy heck, this guy can play! These four people really know what they are doing and I hope they go far.
Already having played alongside The Jezebels and Foo frickin’ Fighters (!!) plus now touring with Dvnies and recently playing BIGSOUND, among many other awesome achievements, I am quite sure they are well on their way. I have a friend who works in the music industry in New Zealand and we’ve spoken before about some hidden gems hiding in NZ that we don’t always hear about enough here. Miss June are one such gem and I am so glad Dvnies brought them to my full attention. They played a stunning set which included their latest single, Best Girl, a stand out for me. You can check out the new video to go along with it on YouTube.
Next up the stage was completely blown up with the ridiculously high levels of energy and aptitude for performing delivered by the seven piece rock rocket from Adelaide, West Thebarton. Another clearly well selected band on the Domestic La La label, I knew I’d see James Tidswell there in support, which I did of course. I have expressed my appreciation and respect for this man before and for what he does for the music world, so I won’t go lovin’ on Tidswell again, but it’s truly so nice to see the level of support this guy gives to all the bands under his label. Now, I had been advised by an extremely trustworthy source that I was going to fall in love with West Thebarton once seeing them live. My source being my co manager of Good Call Live and photographer extraordinaire, Liz (Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photogaphy). She shot West Thebarton at Big Pineapple Festival this year and after shooting them, messaged me saying “Oh wow, one of my stand out bands of the day!” and preceded to send me a shot she captured of frontman, Ray Dalfsen caught mid air, jumping around on stage during their performance. Killer shot. Clearly a killer band. I have looked forward to catching them ever since. And fall in love I did.
Walking out to an AC/DC track and clearly ready to tear shit up with fans screaming and ready for the onslaught we were all about to witness. With seven members, which includes FOUR guitarists on most tracks, their sound is chunky as hell. So loud and in your face, you can’t look away, with so many members to watch, there’s a lot going on up on stage. Dalfsen’s interaction with the crowd both entertaining and amusing at one stage shouting out to the underage fans on the top level, “This is for the people in the back nosebleed section, God bless you bastards that are under 18!” and later “How the fuck are ya!?” was screamed at all of us, responded to with screams and cheers from the crowds to which he replied “Same”. By the second track, there was a full circle pit happening, shit got crazy and continued to escalate as Dalfsen jumped the rail and took off into the mosh. One particularly awesome and thoughtful security guard making sure the mic chord didn’t strangle anyone and also making sure Dalfsen somehow gracefully made his way back over the rails without booting anyone in the head or injuring himself. I shook the hand of the security guard later. What a bloody legend. We need more security guards like him. And we need more bands who perform like West Thebarton. I can not wait to catch them again.
And now, after a quick smoke break and another Furphy, I weaved my way up to the front to catch my boys, Dune Rats. I have seen these guys many times, even partied with them a few times. There was even this one time I spent about an hour chatting to bassist, Brett Jansch’s Mum, she’s an absolute gem! I actually ended up standing directly behind her for the first few songs and got to say hi again. I love that all the Dvnies parents make it to their gigs as much as they can. BC’s Mum sculling a beer on stage last night too, love it.
Walking out to the Smurfs theme song and jumping straight into their latest single Rubber Arm, the screams from fans deafening. With Jansch exclaiming “Welcome to the soiree” early in the set. Dvnies posted on Facebook a little while ago asking fans what older songs we wanted them to play on the upcoming tour, with plenty of responses, I wasn’t sure they’d play the one I wanted most. BUT. They did. And when Red Light, Green Light started, I lost my shit. One of my all times faves and seeing it live such an absolute treat. When they played Superman, Tidswell got up to join them on stage and played frontman, Danny Beus’s guitar for a while, an added treat! A Soho with the Dvnies!
Playing all their big hits and fan favourites like Who’s Scott Green, Bullshit and more, the fans went wild as always at any Dune Rats gig. By the second track they had a guy dressed as a Smurf, crowd surfing on a body board and all the usual crazy of a Dvnies live show. Saving their recent single, No Plans to near the end, I’m a huge fan of this track and this being the first time I have seen this one live, I loved it. After what was to be their last song, the crowds started chanting “One more song, one more song” to which Beus replied through the mic with turning the chant into “Smoke more bongs, smoke more bongs!” before breaking into a cover of Oasis’s Wonderwall which flowed into a cover of Violent Femmes’ Blister In The Sun.
To quote West Thebartons‘ latest single Tops, “I’m feelin’ pretty wrecked right now” – with all three bands putting on one hell of a show, I need some recovery time after a big and fun night! Thanks to the bands for delivering such an awesome night of live music and to The Triffid for being such an awesome live music venue.
Dvnies never fail to put on a top shelf live show and their support bands on this particular tour were absolutely out of control. After playing Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the Dune Rats have wrapped up their Australian ‘Crowd Smurfing Tour’ and next up, head off to the US in November.
Follow Dune Rats on Facebook HERE.