Gig Review: The Stevens w/ Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys + Day Ravies + Nathan Roche Band

Friday, 17th of January @ The Red Rattler Theatre

Not even 24 hours after arriving back in Sydney after admiring the wonders and delights of Sri Lanka, I was re-admiring the wonders and delights of the best venue in Sydney. The motherfudgin’ Stevens were finally getting around to launching their debut LP in Sydney, and since I missed them at Sound Summit, there was no way that Heaven, Hell or dysentery was going to stop me from getting to this gig.

Arrival + 5 minutes later, and Nathan Roche, one of the best blokes this city has to offer is up on the six inch-high stage, selling his wares, this time with a full band in tow (including Greg from Adults!). Watching a Nathan Roche show always comes with the feeling of being cocooned by a comforting normalcy, but this time there was something more. With the full band, Roche no longer had to hold down the show completely on his own. Similar to fellow solo-artist mindblower Angie, when Roche has his band there to back him up, he can move more freely around stage, and it feels as though the spotlight is less on him. Therefore, those fucking brilliant tracks like ‘Serafina’ and ‘You Are What You Are’ seem to carry that much more oomph. Instead of the shaky everyman, Roche’s band becomes a swaggering train of good vibes and balls-out slacker pop.

After Nathan Roche’s conquering set, Day Ravies hit the stage to impress all in attendance one more time. And look, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a billion fucking times: Day Ravies rule. On record, they’ve got a whimsical, wistful flair that is rarely executed with such charm. And in the live setting, that charisma gets played out in the form of darling pixie dreaminess.

Every time I watch Day Ravies, one specific member always catches my eye, and in this case it was Lani Crooks, the band’s keys player. She fucking exudes genuine-ness like the reincarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. or Patti Smith. Up on stage, playing her keys and singing, she really embodies the vibe of Day Ravies, the spirit of quiet achievement, of being super humble about songs that frankly are not getting the recognition they deserve (case in point: ‘I Don’t Mind’)

After being whisked away by Day Ravies’ performance, it was time to get bolted to reality with the start of Sydney royalty The Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. A band as indebted to The Replacements as every shitty pop-punk band is to Blink-182, the Bad Boys completely rocked the stage of The Rattler, in a way that I feel embarrassed to use such a cliche. They four-piece stood there, stoic and brave like the original Tonto, and played their fucking hearts out. Although to be fair, anyone who’s seen the Bed Wetters before knows that these guys don’t fuck around.

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Actually, that last bit’s a lie. There was probably the most audience participatory small talk, courtesy of frontman/RIP Society label owner Nick Warnock. A fucking legend, the guy managed to belt out a slurry of bed-wettin’-worthy hits like ‘Devotion’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Any Day Now’. It was all I could do to keep my jaw from completely unhinging itself in the presence of such a great rock band.

After re-attaching my eyes to normalcy, I promptly lost them to the amazeballs of The Stevens performance. The Melbournites may only have songs with an average of two minutes, but fuck do they make every second count. They’re songs are like Twerps tracks filled with a youthful desire to be the biggest smartass possible. And best of all, the tunes cover a wide variety of topics, emotions and styles, never staying in the relatively neutral territory of slacker-pop.

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Oh yeah, and these guys give out charm like they’re the Lucky Charm’s mascot. However, its a very different kind of charming than Day Ravies. Instead, its the kind of charm that you pick up from your mate that’s never been rejected by a girl in his life, and he manages to be incredibly cool without trying. What I’m trying to say is, The Stevens are like the early Fonzi’s of the Melbourne scene. Which makes sense considering how fucking great their songs are. Have you checked out ‘From ‘Puberty to Success’? Or ‘Teenage Satellites’? Or debut album genital-tearing tear jerker ‘Hindsight’? Did you listen to those fucking crazy ass tracks? And did your mind shatter into a thousand pieces of orgasm? And can you imagine how fucking great that shit was live? The reason I’m speaking in rhetorical questions is because its actually impossible to relay how great The Stevens played that night, and if you weren’t there, then it sucks to be you.

This gig was fucking awesome *drops mic, walks off stage, Eminem song begins to fade in*

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New: Guided By Voices-Littlest League Possible

For the amount of time this I spend talking about bands that sound like Guided By Voices, I spend relatively little of my time actually talking about the band itself. At first, I had the excuse that they weren’t around anymore, but since re-forming in 2010, that excuse has been voided. And its not like they’re not prolific either, having released four albums in that time, three of them in 2012 alone.

I don’t know why I don’t talk about Robert Pollard’s merry band of slackers more because I do love them, but anyway, they’ve released a new song. It’s nothing especially out of the ballpark, but it reminds everyone why we love Guided By Voices so much. Pollard’s uniquer-than-a-sexy-Bill-Gates-impersonater voice, the constant theme of self-deprecation, and the awesome guitar, it all amounts to a big ol’ hard-on for GBV that never really left in the first place.