Punk rock…these days it’s almost impossible to know exactly what you’re going to get unless you know the band. While it’s great to take a chance on a group you know nothing about, expecting punk to be old school punk can leave you disappointed and scratching your head.
Maybe this rant will anger many but isn’t punk supposed to be anarchistic, passionate, performed violently and loudly, and isn’t it edgy, and irreverent? The songs last for a mere minute or less, and anything longer is a symphony? So, when did punk become a navel gaze? When did the songs start to run for three or four minutes or longer? There’s nothing wrong with this in itself, but this isn’t punk.
Pansy, Darts and Bleached put on a well attended show at the home of all things different, the Northcote Social Club. Despite this being the headline act Bleached’s first Australian tour, they already have a substantial following if you consider how many turned out to Friday’s gig.
Darts made a rookie error of judgement when they insisted there be absolutely no white light, so photographers couldn’t get any decent shots. Band members didn’t really work the room anyway, spending most of the gig peering at their shoes and warbling out of key into the microphones. Okay…punk isn’t always in key, but the songs couldn’t be considered punk. Instrumentally the band was quite good, but they really need to sharpen up the other bits that matter.
Bleached played a pretty tight set of a dozen songs, showcasing their latest LP ‘Welcome The Worms’, which was produced by Joe Ciccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes). Jennifer and Jessica Calvin (vocals and guitar respectively), Micayla Grace, (bass) and Nick Pillot (drums), played with energy and connected with the crowd by looking at them and throwing in some banter and movement. Their dozen-song set was well received by the too polite, decidedly non-punk punters, and finally there was something akin to traditional punk in the passion of performance but each of the songs in the set went for too long.
There was a lot to like in the precision, but at least half of each song should have been chopped. You know when you get mad at Johnny or Johnette and you begin to yell? Well, if you rave on for more than ten seconds the naughty little fiend will stop listening unless you change it up a lot. We could see what they wanted to do, but they didn’t quite get there.
If Ciccarelli sees something in Bleached then there must definitely be something there, but punk it is not. Call it something else and the punters will probably love what the band does to bits.