[PHOTOS + REVIEW] West Thebarton + A. Swayze & the Ghosts + Milky Thred // The Cambridge Hotel // 08/06/19

After the recent departure of bassist Bronte from the Newcastle surf rock band Milky Thred, the three-piece took to the stage in a new format, with band manager and musician Andrew (Boys Don’t Cry Collective) filling in on bass. Whether it’s a permanent placing I’m unsure, however, I am certain that their impressive surf-rock sound is here to stay.

With headliners West Thebarton among the crowd watching the young outfit (and capturing them on their Instagram story), their energy was radiating from the stage. A few hardcore fans and friends of the band lined the barrier, while punters drifted in throughout the set, drawn to the salt-soaked sounds of Milky Thred. 

A. Swayze & the Ghosts were next to hit the stage. Then hit the ground. Then hit the bar. The lead singer felt no restrictions by the designated Cambridge Hotel stage and took it upon himself to make the room his stage, which the crowd immediately warmed to. The unconventional band wore their inspirations on their sleeves, literally, band members sporting a These New South Whales and a Cosmic Psychos t-shirt.

The lead singer announced at one point that the next track was 10 minutes long, which I immediately thought meant it was time for a bathroom break. Although when the song started, I was fixated, moving closer to the stage. The track, “Reciprocation” had me reaching for my phone to message a friend about the band, in an urgent, ‘stop what you’re doing and listen to this band now’ kind of way. The 4-piece band are from Tasmania and have just returned to Australia to support West Thebarton after touring the UK.

There’s nothing quite like being able to get a room filled with people living on the east coast of Australia, to yell “FUCK THE EAST MAN, THE WEST IS THE BEST”. West Thebarton did just that. The seven-piece garage-rock act was visiting from their hometown, Adelaide. The “west is the best” line out of their track “Moving Out” turned into the vest is the best after the lead singer showed off his leather fashion item jumping around the stage.

The tour is in support of their latest single, “Tops”, released earlier in the year. Maybe this is their way of announcing they’re releasing a fashion line featuring leather vests or a really subtle way of directing you to the merch desk (which was filled with greatness by the way). Since seeing the band at Festival of the Sun in Port Macquarie last December, I’ve been itching to see them perform live again and they didn’t disappoint. Their passionate delivery of lyrics and energy on stage meant a wide-eyed yelling crowd mirroring their intensity, losing themselves in the music.

Their tracks “Bible Camp”, “Moving Out” and “Stuck On You” were highlights for the rowdy crowd. Hoping they return to Newcastle again sometime soon. Until then, I’ll relive the night through these photos.

Reviewer & Photographer – Brooke Tunbridge