Show Review: South By South Wilson ft. The Bennies

Published in The Music (WA) | 12.03.14 | Issue # 29




8 March, 2014

Every March, thousands of industry folk, music, film, art, gadget lovers, and artists leg it to Austin, Texas to take part in the iconic South By Southwest. But, like most who have a passion for the arts, financial constraints render the activity nothing more than a pipe dream for many. A small selection of Perth musicians took the angst of those yearning for a taste of the onslaught of talent and channelled it into a local showcase dubbed South By South Wilson.

A house tucked away in the Perth suburb of Wilson was the scene for a full day of music, headlined by Melbourne party rockers The Bennies and their tour support, fellow Victorians Apart From This. The Bennies are a band notorious for their party ethos – reading through the liner notes of their debut recordParty! Party! Party! and most recent LP, Rainbows In Space, is almost enough to send one to rehab. Taking that to a house show was always going to result in one hell of a night, and fresh from an appearance at Melbourne’s Soundwave the four-piece didn’t disappoint.

The set-up is how you would imagine it – a couple of guitar rigs, a bass rig and drum kit crammed into the corner and a cluster of spectators opposing, shoulder-to-shoulder, and flowing out numerous doors. As soon as Apart From This lunged into their brand of rehashed ‘90s grunge rock, the small space was quickly transformed into an incubator, and what would usually be well defined, clear guitar tones and vocals meshed into one big wall of noise. The makings of a memorable party-turned-mini-festival were well underway.

Comments about their Sublime-eque vibe were heard around the room and a cover of the band’s Bad Fish, featuring The Bennies bassist Craig Selak on vocals, cemented such sentiment.

It was their extensive Knights Forever tour that saw The Bennies venture west for a third time – the previous time being when they supported The Smith Street Band – and since then they’ve carved their own path, as evident by the small space crammed full of fans.

It’s easy to see why 2013’s Rainbows In Space was the record the put them on the map. Like most of their material, it contains the sort of tunes you can learn while listening to them. By the time the second or third chorus rolls along, you find yourself singing along to every word. With the album being received as well as it has, it wasn’t surprising they only occasionally treaded into older territory. Anywhere You Wanna Go and My Bike managed to encapsulate the essence of what makes them so engaging and catchy live, with the latter ending including an extended outro to reinforce vocalist Anty Horgan’s distaste for the law.

“The police haven’t come down yet, so that feels like a poor effort on our behalf,” Horgan announced before launching into Hold On and Frankston Girls, rounding out an evening that showcased some of the best Australian talent on offer in an environment that’s often overlooked by touring bands. Nothing beats a good house show, and the neighbours can vouch that all those who attended had a great time. It won’t be long before The Bennies find themselves in Texas.

Written by Daniel Cribb