Review: Custard supported by Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine and The New Dregs at the Prince Bandroom, September 7th, 2018
Just a couple of months ago, ‘90s legends Custard announced a brand new tour. While this would usually have been an average tour announcement for the band, fans wisely took note of the warning that “they probably won’t play any other shows for a while”. As a result, their Melbourne show at St. Kilda’s Prince Bandroom was pretty much a full house.
As fans made their way into the venue, they were soon met with the rather experimental sounds of young opening act The New Dregs. Featuring a sound that was reminiscent of acts like The Drones, Sonic Youth, and Shellac, the group truly wore their influences on their sleeve (something evident by their lead guitarist’s jacket which indeed featured an Einstürzende Neubauten logo).
While fans of a more straightforward style of rock music didn’t appear to appreciate the group’s music too fondly, their unabashed post-punk style undoubtedly found a dedicated following in a small section of the venue’s fans.
With atmospheric sounds backed up by pounding rhythms, odd time signatures, and angular, unsettling grooves, the band easily set themselves apart from the rest of the evening’s acts.
Topping off their set with a tribute to local legend Rowland S. Howard by covering ‘Pop Crimes’, the group undoubtedly made a few St. Kilda locals quite happy, and proved that they undoubtedly have a very bright future in Melbourne’s ever-esoteric music scene.
As more punters poured into the venue, it became clear as to the era their preferred entertainment came from, as excited murmurs prefaced the appearance of Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine.
The current project of former TISM singer Damien Cowell, the group delivered a highly-energetic set that mixed musical, political, and social satire with a tribute to some of the greatest (and trashiest, depending on your opinion) songs of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.
With tracks such as ‘Bullshit’, and a technology-attacking tune, ostensibly titled ‘Fucking Annoying’, Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine were also joined by legendary comedian Tony Martin for a set that fans wouldn’t soon forget.
While it would be hard to overlook tracks such as ‘Where The Fuck’s The Vengabus’ (which includes the stunning line “Nowhere to buy a ticket and no-one there to check it/It’s bound for existential hell. The driver’s Samuel Beckett”), it’s hard to go pst the set’s centrepiece; a medley of TISM’s finest tracks.
While Cowell has repeatedly been coy in regards to the prospect of a TISM reunion (spoiler: don’t get your hopes up), he provided fans with the next best thing, performing classics like ‘Whatareya’, ‘Everyone Else Has More Sex Than Me’, ‘I Rooted A Girl Who Rooted A Guy Who Rooted A Girl Who Rooted A Guy Who Rooted A Girl Who Rooted Shane Crawford’, ‘I’ll ‘Ave Ya’, and ‘Mourningtown Ride’ mixed up with some of Kylie Minogue’s biggest hits.
Truly, it was a sight to behold, and those who missed out should plan their future concerts accordingly.
By the time it was time for the main attraction, it was standing room only, with the entirety of the venue packed with eager fans of Brisbane’s finest.
“We’re custard, ’90s rock superstars,” Dave McCormack jokingly announced to the crowd, before kicking things off with the familiar opening bars of ‘Hit Song’. The track prophetically served as a sign of things to come, with the evening’s setlist serving as a showcase of some of the Hottest 100’s most iconic entries.
The group soon moved on to ‘Anatomically Correct’, providing fans with a familiar singalong, all while performing with such intensity and determination that it was hard to believe they’d ever spent a single moment away from the stage.
As the set continued, the band showcased a variety of their varying musical styles, including the ‘jazz feel’ of ‘In The Grand Scheme Of Things (None Of This Really Matters)’, the slow-burning groove of ‘We Are The Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About)’, and the fine frenzy that is ‘Pack Yr Suitcases’.
After showing off a couple of their newer tracks, the group eased back into the brilliant nostalgia of their 1999 hit ‘The New Mattew’. Soon, drummer Glenn Thompson traded places with Dave McCormack to take front of stage and serve up his ‘Boss Break’, which included a run through of ‘Hands On Fire’
and ‘Contemporary Art’ before rounding out his frontman duties with a rendition of the classic ‘Music Is Crap’.
Following a few more classics (‘Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)’, ‘Apartment’) and fan-favourites (‘Pinball Lez’, ‘Lucky Star’) the band took a brief break before returning for a well-received encore.
Picking back up with a cover of Camper Van Beethoven’s indie-rock classic ‘Take The Skinheads Bowling’, the band deviated from the written setlist to deliver stunning renditions of the brilliant ‘Bedford’ and ‘Singlette’, before rounding out the evening with performances of the iconic ‘Ringo (I Feel Like…)’, and the fan-favourite ‘Caboolture Speed Lab’.
While it was clear that Custard can still pull a crowd as easily as they ever could, fans were undoubtedly left feeling anxious this could be the last gig they see from the rockers in some time.
Nevertheless, for those lucky people in attendance tonight, they were given a thorough education in brilliant Aussie rock, and will undoubtedly be left with plenty of memories to cherish for quite some time to come.
Custard’s tour continues tonight in Castlemaine. Read on for more information.
Check out Custard’s ‘Hit Song’:
Custard @ Prince Bandroom, St. Kilda 07/09/2018 Setlist
‘In The Grand Scheme Of Things (None Of This Really Matters)’
‘We Are The Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About)’
‘Pack Yr Suitcases’
‘The New Matthew’
‘Hands On Fire’
‘Music Is Crap’
‘Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)’
‘You Always Knew’
‘Take The Skinheads Bowling’ (Camper Van Beethoven cover)
‘Ringo (I Feel Like…)’
‘Caboolture Speed Lab’
Custard Australian Tour 2018
Saturday, September 8th
Theatre Royale, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday, September 14th
The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Saturday, September 15th
Badlands Bar, Perth, WA