Initials dominate the stage with an explosion of raw energy in their song Oak Park.
Initials, Hug Therapist, Angry Seas, Lachlan Hicks
Reverence Hotel Gig, Footscray – September 26
In 2011, Melbourne’s punk-rock scene lamented the loss of the legendary Arthouse, which closed after the State Government’s liquor licensing reforms classed live music venues as “high-risk” – a move that also sparked the closure of the Tote in Collingwood (now-reopened).
The Arthouse’s former owners were determined to rebuild. In June 2012 they opened the Reverence Hotel in Footscray. The pub is very much still built on the live music culture that surrounded the Arthouse, with many artists who regularly graced the stage of the Arthouse now appearing at the Reverence.
Kicking off the night’s festivities was Lachlan Hicks, who took to the stage with his acoustic guitar and booming, yet slightly vulnerable voice, to play a laidback set of originals which had the small crowd remaining hooked on every word. The 20-minute set by the Maricopa Wells frontman was well received by all; this reviewer longed for more. The only thing wrong with Hicks’s set was that it wasn’t long enough.
Next up were Angry Seas, whose explosive set of punk and garage rock lived up to the description angry. Vocalist Mark Lording’s stage presence was energetic and lively as he screamed into the mic. Bassist Trent Prosser found his groove partway through the set, moving back and forth in time with his playing. The band clocked up a well rounded half-hour set.
Up next and sounding like a cross between Sparta and Chiodos, with a vocalist whose guitar could have been used as a helmet were it strapped any higher, were Hug Therapist. Although vocalist/guitarist David De Thomasis looked as if he would be slightly more comfortable having pins stuck into his eyes, this did not not detract from the band’s sheer brilliance. Constantly shifting dynamic from soft verses to frantic breakdowns and everything in between, Hug Therapist are well within their element and are an up-and-coming band to watch.
Finally, at ten-to-eleven, Initials took the stage. Wasting no time they burst straight into a set of post-hardcore goodness. Drummer Adam Collins looked as if he would take off into flight had he moved his arms any quicker; bassist/vocalist Jim Duggan and guitarist Pete Lawrey moved around frantically as they played. Many of the punters had trundled inside by then, just in time for the beginning of Oak Park and the explosion of raw energy that comes along with it. Duggan paused for a moment to announce that Initials will soon release a new record, thanked the fans for coming out, then kicked into a new song, a quieter departure from their usual fare. Collins, however, soon broke into his trademark loud and frantic drumming efforts as the band kicked into overdrive for a big ending.
None of the acts put a foot wrong. The only disappointment was that more people didn’t attend. With a $5 cover charge and a swag of talented acts, Melbourne again proved it is Australia’s live music capital. – Review and photos by Tosh Baker