it's neve better than this!


Luca Brasi @ Manning Bar, Sydney 18/08/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.

This is the story of four punk-rockers, who fight the musical system, and lived life on the in-between, balancing on the borders and statelines between what the musical system wants, and what it needs. They fight to keep the clothes on their backs and stay afloat with their music, treading water in the treacherous cascade blues of the music on the rise. One night, these four young men just let it slip, and although may have been feeling overwhelmed/ill prepared for what they need to do, took a leap of fate, and endeavoured to steal the recipe to the best punk/rock album of all times, and take over the airways and stages with it!...... ok, maybe not THE best of ALL TIME, but you get the point, its bound to be pretty epic! The result, was never better, an album of monstrous punk proportion, ‘Stay’ and a tour in its honour.

What will happen next, will the system catch up on them, collisions of right and wrong?...

These punk-bad boys strutt onto the stage, while the opening guitar riff of ‘Stay’ (album title track) plays, circles as if scoping the joint, and gradually builds up with the crowds excitement following, and then…

Lead singer Tyler fronts this musical heist as he moves around the stage rounding up the energy from the audience in ‘Let It Slip’, ‘The In-Between’ and ‘Reeling’. In every heist movie, there’s someone who lets the team down, sometimes it’s a double-crossing mole. Well, the sound mix tonight is that mole, or at least so far. The focus is very bass and drums lead, with Tyler’s edgy punk authority and the rhythm guitar, who’s sound may be simple but crucial, struggling to execute the perfect plan of aural attack. As if frustrated by the potentially detrimental flaw in the sounds’ plan of attack, the musical mood in ‘The In-Between’ is deeper, more careful, slower paced and full of angst (like most punk rock songs are). What’s also present in all heist movies, is that tech genius team member, who invents some kick-ass algorithm which picks up the teams’ spirit and gets them on track again. The meticulously well planned and precise beat patterns of the drums, differing in pattern from section to section of ‘Reeling’ leaves my brain stunned trying to catch up. This is like that tech expert that hacks some big corporate company, and leaves the company scrambling to figure out what’s happening.

The next two steps of the master musical plan are ‘Say It Back’ and ‘Borders And Statelines’. The team pick up the pace once more in ‘Say It Back’. You know that explosives expert in those heist movies? Well, turns out the tech guru on drums is also the explosives expert….. Often the case when the studio has too tight a budget. But in this case, is all the more impressive, with the steady drum tempo in the songs’ verse, carefully planning out positions and timing of the imminent explosions, before…. BANG! Totally didn’t see that coming did you? The songs’ chorus explodes in energy with a high brutality quick-burning punk beat. That mole of the team, the sound mix, may have been ratted out or at least put in their place perhaps, as Tyler’s vocals seem ever so slightly more even in ‘Say It Back’, and with Tyler moving around the musical smoke the explosive drums left and instigating the crowd to sing the key hook in the bridge section, prompts the appearance of a new foe in this blazing energy…

After the first of sure to be many bastard crowd surfers emerges in ‘Borders And Statelines’ the rest of this musical story begins its ascent to the finish line, and thus completing the rebellious mission of glory! We encounter the in-depth lowering of fast-pace energy in ‘Never Better’, with its more vulnerable feeling, giving a nice contrast to the set. This is like that moment in that heist movie when victory is in sight, but the pressure starts getting all too much for the main character.  We encounter the mystifying echo guitar effect plus the wicked drum tricks and dance-provoking beat in the chorus of ‘Got To Give’, distracting us from the real punk plan at play. Plus more bastard crowd surfers brought forth by the higher energy and more anthemic sounds, like that incredible “only in the movie” type stunts that make you cheer, yes, the sinisterly sound mix making Tyler’s vocals fight to survive, but we can’t make it to easy for them in the end. Plus more intricate drum patterns and high-tech drum algorithmic strikes to make sure the mole doesn’t stand a chance. However, this does draw my main focus on more than one occasion though, is this what the team really wants I wonder? The incredibly anthemic ‘Clothes (I Slept In)’, with the main character, I mean, lead singer Tyler’s vocals sitting far more comfortably in the mix, making it seem like victory has been claimed, the high vocal energy plus Tyler rocking out more heroically, or rebelliously depending on which side you’re rooting for, makes the crowd go nuts in the final frontier chorus, after Tyler shows off just what his killer punk voice can do as it shines bright in the stripped-back bridge section.

The final face-off is here, the battlefield is set and our hearts are thumping, how will this end???

The final face-off for this show is ‘Aeroplane’. I’m so very glad I’m on the side of this battle, which is wild enough, but in the thick of it, is crazy! The high in-your-face punk-bite energy of the song unleashes a fierce energy in the crowd, giving the band all they’ve got (a bit too much in some cases), because it’s all or nothing now people! The mole-like sound mix and the crowds bastard attitude tried to stop the bands glorious mission, but in the end, Tyler’s domineering rocking out which emerged as the plan unfolded, plus the attention drawing drum patterns and action-packed musical energy were too much to try and defeat, and thus is the perfectly timed climax the show needed, unlike Tyler’s climax that he mentioned in our interview before the show. Ah yes, time to raise a glass and add up the dollar sign from the heist…. Or is it…

Come on people, we all know how this goes, the job is seemingly pulled off and the dust seems to be settling, but then the bad guy pops up once more musters all their energy in an all-or-nothing attempt to win a war that’s well, really, already won. The audience call the band out from the shadows for a triumphant encore of ‘Collisions’ between the ‘Bastard’ attitude of the audience (the italics finally make sense now aye?) and the insane musical energy in these three songs that’s ‘Anything Near Conviction’ for the bad guys. As you’d likely expect, the energy in the last song in particular is nuts! The mole has been vanquished it seems, because Tyler’s vocals sit perfectly in the mix now, even while he rocks out, which in turn, fires up the crowd to sing more loudly and jump and yep, more bastard crowd surfers of course!

Gather ‘round team… A toast, to pulling off the biggest heist yet. The road there was tough, thanks to the mole in the group, but you demonstrated that perseverance, teamwork and determination pays off!

What could be next? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be worth witnessing I’m sure!