Review: West Thebarton supported by Self Talk and Pist Idiots at the Northcote Social Club, June 10th, 2018
Earlier this year, Adelaide’s West Thebarton announced that after five years of proving their worth as one of the country’s most exciting live acts, they were set to finally release their debut album, Different Beings Being Different, and last night, their album launch tour rolled into Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club for a show punters wouldn’t soon forget.
As fans flooded into the High Street venue on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday eve, they spoke amongst themselves with excitement at the prospect of seeing this enigmatic collective play their tunes live. While many expressed amazement at the fact that the group contained so many players, others quietly remarked at how good they had heard their live shows were. Needless to say, all of these fans were in for a treat.
As the PA switched over to a Foxygen song, locals Self Talk took the stage to deliver their set full of punchy, pop-rock songs. Following a couple of technical issues at the beginning, the band quickly regrouped and found themselves warmly received by the crowd who were thoroughly enjoying their catchy, hook-laden tunes.
With soaring vocals, punk-inspired guitar lines, and an undeniable ability to keep pumping out the brilliant tracks, Self Talk definitely set the stage for what was still to come in the evening.
After a short intermission, Sydney’s Pist Idiots took to the stage, adding just another chapter to what has already been a huge few months for them. Following a slightly delayed start due to a broken guitar string, the Revesby quartet soon jumped into their powerful, crashing sound, leaving many in attendance – including myself – wondering just how West Thebarton would be able to top a set like this.
Delivering a punk-rock aesthetic rooted in a pub-rock sound, Pist Idiots truly showed what a support band should be, getting the crowd amped up by delivering a performance so intense and immersive that many of us looked around as though we were watching the birth of musical history.
From the fierce vocals of frontman Jack Sniff, to the breakneck speed at which the group performed at times, Pist Idiots had every member of the audience on the hook, plowing through tunes such as ‘Fuck Off’, ‘Leave It At That’, and the stunning ‘Surry Hills’, clearly having won themselves almost an entire venue full of new fans.
After the crowd retreated to the merch table to stock up on Pist Idiots shirts, the audience were very well-dressed for the evening’s main event. As the dulcet tones of Reef’s ‘Place Your Hands’ flooded the venue, West Thebarton drummer Caitlin Thomas took to the stage to set the scene for what we were about to witness – a full on aural assault that would not be letting up any time soon.
As the other six members of the group raced on stage to take their places, the group quickly jumped into ‘Anatomy’, delivering an intense performance that immediately proved there aren’t too many bands on the live scene like West Thebarton. After a run-through of triple j favourite ‘Stuck On You’, the group paid tribute to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend with a performance of the rather fitting ‘Gough’.
Despite there being almost no room to move on stage for the litany of group members, frontman Reverend Ray Dalfsen paced back and forth with intensity, delivering his soulful, spitfire vocals while ducking between guitarists Tom Gordon and Josh Healey.
However, it was actually this which proved to be the performance’s only downfall – with so much going on at stage at once, it was almost impossible to keep track of everything going on at any one time, making it feel as though no matter where you looked on stage, you were bound to miss some wild stage antic, or a piece of brilliant musicianship.
“Pretty nice for a fuckin’ Sunday isn’t it?” asked Dalfsen to the roar of the appreciative crowd, before delivering huge performances of tracks such as ‘Basics’, ‘Dolewave’, and the crowd-favourite ‘Bible Camp’, before belting out their recent Like A Version performance of Florence And The Machine’s cover of ‘You’ve Got The Love’.
While talk of football and rivalries between cities abounded, the group never once let up, delivering their final set of songs with of the most fierce stage performances seen all night. While guitarist Brian Bolado moved between roles of guitarist, tambourinist, and extra percussionist with expert precision, drummer Caitlin Thomas pounded on the skins like her life depended on it, cementing her place as one of the best drummers on the scene today,
Following a huge finale of the group’s album opener ‘Moving Out’, West Thebarton bid the audience farewell, leaving almost everyone in attendance in awe of the mind-blowing display that they had just witnessed.
West Thebarton are set to do it all over again at The Tote in Collingwood tonight, so if you’re anything like me, you’ll undoubtedly be front and centre for one of the wildest and most unforgettable lives shows you’ll see anywhere in Australia.
West Thebarton @ Northcote Social Club 10/06/18 Setlist
‘Stuck On You’
‘You’ve Got The Love’ (Candi Staton/Florence And The Machine cover)
‘Do You Believe’
‘On The Hill’
‘Set It Straight’
‘Red Or White’
West Thebarton ‘Different Being Being Different Tour’
With special guests Pist Idiots
Monday, June 11th
The Tote, Melbourne, VIC
Friday, June 22nd
Badlands Bar, Perth, WA
Saturday, June 23rd
Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Friday, June 29th
The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday, June 30th
The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Tickets on sale from West Thebarton’s website