THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 9)

Published in The Music (WA) | 09.10.13 | Issue # 9




Few bands receive a welcoming party at the airport like One Direction did during their Australian tour. Hell, most punk bands drive across the country and rock up to the venue an hour before they play to ten people. The life of most touring punk bands isn’t really glamorous at all – instead of sleeping in five-star penthouse apartments, they usually sleep on a mattress covered in an unsettling amount of animal hair, and there’s usually only enough profits from the show to pay for petrol to get to the next show.

You hear stories of bands getting their gear stolen, not being paid for shows, sometimes sleeping in horrible locations, and worse, yet every morning they climb back into the van and do it all over again. I’ve mentioned them before in this column, and they’re probably due back with their new record, but Toronto’s The Flatliners are the perfect band to illustrate such commitment. They formed in their mid-teens about ten years ago and have been touring every since. It’s bands like them that reinforce my statement from last fortnight’s edition of Black Flag that there’s plenty of kick still in punk – a lot of bands that called it quits are being resurrected.

Playing in a few different punk bands myself over the years, I’ve toured Australia quite a few times – most of the time sleeping on floors and driving between states. Now, somehow, I’m touring Australia playing bass for US punk band David Liebe Hart Band (Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) and sitting in a nice Brisbane apartment overlooking the city. Keep your eyes on for tour diaries.

The same promoter putting on this tour, Ben Neilson of Collateral Manage, is also working on numerous others – a lot of which feature bands that are reforming. A band who broke up in 2009 and got back together only a few months, Rhode Island’s Daughters (not to be confused with Laneway’s Daughter) announced a run of Australian a couple of weeks ago and Bad Astronaut were announced for Hits & Pits 2.0 midyear, also a Collateral tour. What’s more interesting is Bad Astronaut frontman Joey Cape (you may know him as Lagwagon’s vocalist) will be spending almost three months in Australia on numerous tours. Landing in Australia from California last week with punk rock supergroup cover band Me First & The Gimme Gimmes (who you can watch at Amplifier this Friday, October 11), he has two separate solo tours – one a Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) tribute show with Brian Wahlstrom – throughout October and November before he meets up with Bad Astronaut. It’s not until you line up all of his tour dates do you realise just how much he must enjoy Australia. Unfortunately he skips Perth on both solo ventures.

Things are looking pretty damn good, but there’s still one area of the Australian punk scene that needs some work. You’ll often see the same support bands open for international acts, and most of the time, the early comers really get into the openers, but when local punk or hardcore bands play, the same punters are nowhere to be seen. If those same people made an effort to actively seek out bands, the scene would be huge. So get down early to the Gimmes’ show at Amplifier on Friday, check out Leeches, Tikdoff and FAIM, buy their merch (if you’ve got any cash left over from the alcohol-fuelled party Gimmes are sure to incite), and keep an eye out for future shows they might be playing.


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