The 20th of September saw the UOW UniBar decked out with its small stage, on a particularly warm night, for a indie punk gig with a top notch line up. The new door on the side of the venue confused more than a couple punters waiting out the front of the bar after the doors had opened, but once people had figured out how to make their way inside the room began to fill quickly.
Wollongong punk stalwarts Babymachine opened the night with their fast, loud, all female punk rock. A ‘gear malfunction’, that turned out to be a guitar volume knob turned down, didn’t stop the band from delivering their tongue-in-cheek, politically inspired music with songs such as Frak Off, Abort (a song about Tony Abbott, Trump and ‘No’ voters) and The System is Broken. The band closed their set with Rainbow, dedicated to friends they had lost, and urging everyone to vote ‘Yes’ so that guitarist Jacqui and drummer Bec can finally be married. Babymachine were a hard hitting throwback to old school punk, and managed to get a younger crowd moving along.
A strange hum from one of the guitars filled the space before Worriers jumped straight into Good Luck off their 2015 album Imaginary Life. The band didn’t stop as they smashed straight through Yes All Cops and Plans. Lauren Denitzio announced that their new album Survival Pop, out online later this month, was at the merch table before playing a few of its songs, Possibilities, and Future Me, a single from earlier this year. The catchy Cruel Optimist, an older song, was next and added a lot of dynamic variation to the melodic set. The crowd was full as Worriers brought down gender binary with They/Them/Theirs and catapulted into the end of the set. Gaslight, a new song, and classic Most Space closed the hour, with Worriers keeping their energy high right until the end. The bass lines were groovy, the lead guitar switched between catchy and punky, and the energy behind the kit left the drummer dripping. Vocalist Lauren Denitzio was spectacular, and even a muddy mix couldn’t stop Worriers from delivering a full force, melodic punk set. People turning up late had definitely missed out.
Arguably the fastest growing act in the Australian music scene at the moment headliners Camp Cope left the audience anxious in an abnormally long break between bands. Even after the stage was set ready for the all female indie punk trio they still delayed their ascension to the stage. The band finally took the stage dancing to a classic Kesha song.
“How goods Kesha? We’re Camp Cope.”
Launching straight into Done the women on stage showed why it was that they were getting so much attention recently. Not missing a single beat and having the entire audience sing along to every word Camp Cope were the embodiment of rock and roll. Up next was a new song, that had a fiery, angry passion behind it. The song opens with a classic Kelso bassline, before the band comes in with a full force CC experience. Georgia Maq is true to form with some hard hitting lyrics that sting with the harsh reality they portray.
“Another man telling us we can’t fill up a room/ Another man telling us to book a smaller venue.”
“Get a female opener that’ll fill the quota!”
Georgia put it best at the end of the song saying “That song is about the gender equality that doesn’t exist in the music industry.”
Smashing through Flesh and Electricity G Maq let the crowd know again that genitals don’t equal gender, and that sex workers deserve respect. The stuffy room was filled with polite dancing that mirrored the amount of fun being had on stage. The energy radiating from the stage wasn’t lost even as the band moved into the down tempo Trepidation, and Thomo brought the heavy hitting to the drums for Keep Growing. A sneaky riff from Green Day’s Warning, and a bass line from Blink’s Carousel devolved into chants for a cover of Wonderwall, which Georgia admitted was her favourite song. After West Side Story Georgia thanked the audience for their support, before making a joke about saying Newcastle instead of Wollongong but deciding not to. Finishing the set with Stove Lighter, requesting girls to the front, and finally Lost (Season One) the band showed true professionalism and finished a flawless set perfectly.
Unfortunately the perfect gig was tainted by a few tall guys at the front being rude towards the end of the set. PSA for those of you that aren’t aware, if someone asks you to calm down you’re probably being a dickhead. Also, the one more song chants need to stop, now. And it’s not “bullshit” if a band doesn’t want to play an encore at the end of their set. Don’t yell after them for leaving the stage.
Other than a few choice arseholes the entire night was a sensational display of amazing punk music, and a true testament to the fact that female and non-binary led bands can pack a room to the brink with fans singing along to every word.
– Josh Mills