Published in Drum Media (WA) | 04.04.13 | Issue # 332
HITS & PITS FESTIVAL
1 April, 2013
Back in the early 2000s, a punk rock bill matching the magnitude of Hits & Pits would have been welcomed by a sea of eager ticketholders lining up well before doors opened. Unfortunately, the genre is no longer in its prime, and when doors opened 15 minutes late for the last show of the tour, Jamie Hay and Jen Buxton were already halfway through their set, and played the rest to a small crowd.
Earlier that day, Paper Arms had playfully complained via Facebook about how far away Perth is from everything and having to make the trip. But the Adelaide punk rockers played like they were locals, and loved every second of their time on stage. The second acoustic act of the evening, Scotte Woods of One Dollar Short, seemed to lack a certain energy he pertained whilst in the band. Despite an unwillingness to really get stuck into it, his infectious pop punk songs managed to bring his set home. In what had to be the juxtaposition of the decade, Totally Unicorn swiftly took the stage, lead by the jiggling post-hardcore inferno that is frontman Drew Gardner. Their set ended with the vocalist in tie-dye underwear, standing on the bar and smashing a hi-hat.
After being amped up by the Wollongong five-piece, it was back to an acoustic vibe, with Diesel Dave of Diesel Boy belting out old favourites. Promising a new record from Diesel Boy in the not-too-distant future, he bided farewell with Titty Twister, before Canada’s The Flatliners made their mark. Ripping through a set largely comprised of their latest record Cavalcade (2010), they managed to spark the first real crowd energy of the night. Shithawks saw a guest appearance from cheery A Wilhelm Scream frontman Nuno Pereira, and they also left the crowd with the promise of a new record soon and another Australian tour, hopefully next year.
By the time California’s Voodoo Glow Skulls took over, it was clear that attendance rates weren’t great. Not only was the upstairs bar closed, the floor area wasn’t even close to full. In Australia for the first time ever, VGS have found the right mix between light-hearted ska and aggressive punk. Pereira surfaced again as A Wilhelm Scream did a quick line check. Silence took control of the room and the quiet guitar picking and bass intro to The King Is Dead was the calm before the storm. They quickly unleashed, and everyone in the room stared in awe as their fingers began to blur.
They may not be technical and energetic as A Wilhelm Scream, but Santa Cruz’s Good Riddance are punk rock icons. Breaking up in 2007, many fans thought they’d never get the chance to see the band live. One of those fans being Mad Caddies guitarist Sascha Lazor, who joined them onstage during Fertile Fields to scream his heart out. During Mother Superior, a punter stage dived, which led to security throwing him out of the venue. Good Riddance jumped offstage mid-song and followed the argument outside. A few minutes later they returned and ended a strong set with Libertine. Unfortunately, when Mad Caddies hit the stage, 30 minutes late, the crowd had halved in size. It seemed playing after midnight at the end of a long weekend was probably one of the worst slots a band could play. This in no way dampened their spirits or party vibe, and they played as if the room was packed, unleashing punk ska classics such as Contraband, Road Rash and Drinking For 11 like it was the first show of the tour. Although the crowd started slowly fading away during the last couple of bands, Hits & Pits – a festival for people who hate festivals – was a great way to kick off an amazing week’s worth of punk shows in Perth.
Written by Daniel Cribb