When I first read about this line up, I couldn’t help but smile. I mean come on, The Chats, Mean Jeans and The Prize? Flat out fun. This was the only Melbourne show of their nationwide “Get Fucked” tour. Arriving early before the first band hit the stage, a healthy crowd had already amassed inside The Forum.
Have you ever attended a gig, then woke up the next morning with a tune ringing in your head? Almost like the song was playing in your dreams as you slept? Well, it happened to me, courtesy of The Prize. ‘Wrong Side of Town’ is that song. The crazy thing was that all their other tracks were at the same level of earworm-generating genius. Each track from their setlist could be its own single. It was almost like I was stuck in a rocking 80’s teen movie soundtrack. 30 minutes of power pop bliss.
Driven by drummer / vocalist Nadine Muller, The Prize blasted out a tight set of coordinated power and intelligent songwriting. The Prize will most certainly raise some eyebrows. Check them out on Anti-Fade records.
Mean Jeans, hailing from Portland, USA, are a punk rock cheeseburger. It’s naughty to like them, but you still do anyway. Mean Jeans are very obviously influenced by The Ramones, but with a significant BPM increase. Every track has a ‘Whoa Ohh’ sing along element and it works. Fun loving tunes about going to Sizzler, beer commercials and partying; in fact, multiple tunes about partying. Billy Jeans and Junior Jeans on guitar and bass respectively gave it all out front. Jeans Wilder, demonstrating the rarely seen ‘open handed’ skills on the kit, got the biggest roar of the set slamming down a shoey, dutifully supplied by a sweaty member of the audience. Finishing off with ‘Anybody Out There’, all about partying in space, the room was well ready for the headliners.
The Forum’s massive stage curtain was drawn. Waiting for South-East Queensland’s 5th best band (The Chats’ own rating, not mine), the crowd were chanting and cheering. The Chats hit the stage and yes, the hype was real. World class punk music. Most noticeably, The Chats sound wayyyy harder live than on record. Fast, tight, and loud. The pace is frenetic. It seems instinctive, as they are not forcing themselves to sound this way. The Chats set their show loose like a wild animal and what the audience receives is something quite special.
Kicking off with ‘Nambour’ and smashing through the vast majority of their discography over the hour-long set, the energy levels were sky high. Early highlights included their first ever song ‘Mum Stole My Darts’, ‘6 Ltr GTR’, ‘Ross River’ and ‘Panic Attack’.
‘Temperature’ has got to be the best creative pronunciation of a word to fit a song in recent memory. Tem-Per-E-Cha. Tem-Per-E-Cha. Judging by the audience screaming along, ‘Identity Theft’ is the unofficial cautionary anthem of our online age.
Eamon Sandwith on bass / vocals never took a breath. His vocals were consistently screamed at maximum intensity. Josh Hardy on guitar ripped through everything with perfection and Matt Boggis on drums was a machine. Watching him keep time on the hi-hat at blistering pace was impressive. The stage set was a simple, no fuss affair. The backdrop was a simply the title of their latest album “Get Fucked”. Not one person took that as an insult.
Finishing off the main set with ‘Pub Feed’, The Chats exhibited why they have the world at their feet. An encore nod to recent visitors Kiss, with a punk rock version of ‘Rock and Roll all Nite’ ended the show.
The Chats have grown into a band who demonstrate consistently original songwriting. Just as impressively, they are a live force to be reckoned with. It is absolutely no surprise The Chats are currently touring the world nonstop and are in demand for stadium rock support slots. Pub Rock is important once again.