Gifted with an ear for bouncy, summery pop hooks and a maturity beyond their years, opening act Driffs are a real treat. Not dissimilar to another youthful Sydney band, Sures, they look set for a similar ascent.
On songs like new single ‘Ocean Sounds’, their laconic vocals and surf pop aesthetic are a winning combination and go down easily with the small crowd, particularly a boisterous contingent up the front.
Step-Panther take a completely different approach, aiming initially to pound the audience into submission with noise and speed rather than win them over with melody and charm.
The snarling ‘No Fun’ is an early highlight, all Stooges riffs and attitude.
They get into some more tuneful territory with the nostalgia-tinged garage rocker ‘My Neck’ and put their own noisy spin on Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ classic ‘Gold Lion’.
They’re an energetic bunch, and older stuff like the ragged ‘Fight Like A Knight’ shows they can take their foot off the pedal just as convincingly as they can do the noisy garage thing, but with a smaller than expected Friday night attendance the atmosphere never really hits fever pitch.
Headliners Bleeding Knees Club kicked off with the bratty, noisy pop of ‘Rachel’ and wasted no time launching into ‘California Eyes’, which Alex Wall explained was about masturbating to Marissa Cooper.
More cartoonish, fast and furious songs of lust followed, but the punters failed to match the band’s energy levels, with Wall imploring them “Don’t be scared to move around” at one stage in an attempt to inject more excitement into proceedings.
The classicist pop rock of ‘Lipstick’, with its doo-wop influence and lyrics about making out, shared more than just a song title with the Buzzcocks, being cut from the same cloth as their lust-filled punk.
They only know one pace, and the brazenly stupid gems continue with the undeniably catchy garage pop hit ‘Teenage Girls’, which ends with someone throwing underwear at Wall.
Undeterred, he puts the pants over his jeans and launches into another song, the apparently autobiographical ‘Beach Slut’, which again sticks to the formula of chainsaw guitars, three chords and teenage libido.
Finally ‘Bad Girls’ sees the band encouraging Step-Panther bassist, then everyone in the crowd, to get up on stage.
A dozen kids take the opportunity to get on stage and jump around, but most remain unmoved.
It’s perhaps a fitting end to a show that was always solid, but thanks to a flat atmosphere, never quite the teenage riot you would have expected.