Gig Review: Bad//Dreems

Saturday 21st June @ GoodGod Small Club

I was 18 when I first saw Bad//Dreems. They played a house party in Redfern, and it was one of the best shows of my goddamn life. There was blood, sweat and enough beer to kill Boonie. The Modern History Exam I had the next day was a complete and utter write off. The examiner that looked through my answers was probably assuming that an illiterate Neanderthal with Parkinsons had adopted my name, and taken the assessment in my place. But it was worth it, oh so worth it, to see a band as good as Baddies play in such a corrupting environment.

Two years on, and Baddies have graduated to one of the most beloved rock acts in our fair country. They’ve got a little blue tick next to their name on Facebook and everything. Fuck, they’ve even got a Twitter account. Isn’t that the very definition of making it? They’ve got big things piling up, so before they crack the charts at No. 1 and play the Enmore Theatre to thousands of adoring fans, they gave the punters another go, and played a few intimate shows around the country to support their latest single “Cuffed and Collared”.

JODY opened proceedings with their brand of anthemic indie rock. These guys are young guns in the truest sense of the words. You can smell the hormones, wafting in tidal waves off their 19 year old bodies. Ladies and gents, please, contain yourselves. I believe a couple of them are single and rearing to go with all the youthful exuberance at their disposal, and that comes through their energy and constant streams of songs about girls. But I wouldn’t go near the frontman, Dom O’Connor. That human pleasure machine can play the fuck outta a guitar, move and hop around a show with the stage presence of Paul Westerberg on the third day of a two week binge, and knows his way around a melody. But he can’t finish a fucking Melbourne Bitter tinnie. No matter how many spot-on jams erupt from this beautiful man’s mouth, like “Never Change” (a spiritual successor to INXS if there ever was one) and “Codeine”, ya just can’t trust a bloke who can’t polish off one of Aus’ greatest gifts. Otherwise, fantastic show!

Mining Boom made the trek North for the Baddies show, and for that, I am forever grateful. Not only are they selling the best t-shirt in the music biz game, but they’ve got the choons to back it up. You know what type of fish Mining Boom would be if they were in the sea? A tune-a. Because they make music that good. It’s broken, fragile rock for the everyman, who owns a pair of dirty Redback’s, and a hi-vis that’s lost its sheen. Songs like “Telecom” and “PDA” are just as powerful gut punches as they were when they were released back in 2012, but the presence that frontman Paul French brings is more of a headspin than chowing down on a whole pack of Champion Ruby. New songs are stunning,  with the Mining Boom aesthetic of drenched, desperate romance remaining intact throughout. Apparently there’s an album in the works, but I don’t think the world is ready for that kind of brilliance. Regardless, you need to check out this band like a bloke from Chernobyl needs to check out that funny looking mark that’s recently developed on his collarbone.

But, look, this is all just pre-game. Bad//Dreems have let the kids have the oval, but it’s time to bring on the big guns. Mayhem erupts as Bad//Dreems launch into their heavy catalogue of top-notch tunes. One could go so far as to call them bangers. It’s pub rock, but delivered without the menace and overt masculinity that has restrained others, like Lubricated Goat and The Birthday Party, from reaching larger audiences. Some might say that’s a bad thing, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Some bands like to get in the nude on the ABC, others like to deliver muscular melodies. And the four flannel-clad guys thundering through hit after hit to the admiration of a few hundred fans were probably the only blokes capable of pulling off both feats.

Bad//Dreems are on fire. They plunder and pillage the room like they’re characters from Game of Thrones, and have a limited amount of time to connect with the audience and become their favourite figures before facing a brutal death at the hands of the Lannisters. The set swells, with excitement and energy being sprinkled through like a zealot chef making the recipe of their career. A heft portion of the a-spicy meatball, aka “Caroline”, swiftly complimented with a smidgen of “Too Old”. A dousing of “Dumb Ideas”, and an overdose of ocker riffs and frenzied headbanging via “Cuffed And Collared”. And to finish? Well, you just can’t leave a stage when the crowd so eagerly wants more, baying for music or blood with the enraged glare of the insane striding so radiantly from their eyes. So, you appease the appetite with a polite offering to the GODs, with the Australian classic of “My Pal” bringing the evening’ festivities to a glorious, sweaty, beer-soaked, suffocating end.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Bad//Dreems, then suck eggs, mate. This is a band bound for big things, and it looks like this GoodGod show might just be the final opportunity for punters to have caught them in intimate settings. But don’t get too offended – there will always be another chance to catch Baddies at a gig, and there’s a fair guarantee that you’ll be sorted for a good time. When a band can upend a crowd with as much joy and over-the-top rock ‘n’ roll perfection as Bad//Dreems accomplished at this show, there’s no doubt that they’ll be able to pull off this feat over and over again, only to bigger crowds and more adoring shitheads such as myself. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour, and get on board with this band.

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