Saturday night at The Aardvark was an occasion filled with mixed feelings. On one hand there was the buzz of seeing such a great line up, on the other was a sense of sadness and loss. The headliner for the evening, Hideous Sun Demon have made quite a name for themselves in our isolated capital. Their raucous brand of psych-o punk has carved them out a comfortable perch atop Perth’s live band scene, where they’ve been sitting since blowing away the audience at their first battle of the bands back in 2013. As comfortable as that perch may be however, it has also brought opportunity knocking from the east on many occasions. Since Sweat debuted in 2014, their relentless gigging has brought them from being the hardest support act to follow in Perth, to a headlining, snarling beast of a band. With the forthcoming release of their third LP Fame Erotic Dream and a national tour about to kick off, the knocking is getting louder and it only makes sense for them to open the door. Sadly, HSD will be relocating to Melbourne to continue their journey, so we were there on Saturday night to check out their unofficial farewell…
As I mentioned earlier, the line up for this one was a corker with New Nausea on first. Filling the room with just a voice and a guitar isn’t an easy thing to do, but this was achieved comfortably. Utilising incredible dynamics in his voice and his guitar playing, he produced an emotiveness that would give Sunny Day Real Estate a run for their money. There was a sense of realness to his songwriting and lyricism, injected by his honesty. Discordant guitar riffs underlied his yearning slacker style vocals akin to Archers Of Loaf, blending to form captivating stories. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” was a real standout. Keep your eye on this guy.
The stage was now set for Heavy Flow to follow up, and they certainly delivered. These guys aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, but you would be hard pressed to pinpoint just one. Slow, catchy grunge riffs brought back memories of L7 and I soon found myself swaying apathetically like a stoned out character from Daria. The band also managed to provide a more upbeat contrast to their sludgier grunge, with catchy punk riffs littered throughout the set as the frontwoman commanded the stage aptly in her Reject Shop plastic cowboy hat. These guys were a lot of fun.
New Talk (formerly Rag n Bone) were next. Bringing their huge pieces to life with clever use of swelling lead guitar and brave vocals, their songs built slowly into heavy and moody epics. The Cranberries and The Divinyls spring to mind here but only in essence, and it would be unfair to make any direct comparisons. New Talk have etched out their own unique sound within Perth and have only served to strengthen their ability in utilising their influences. From the first tune it was apparent that these guys have been sharpening their skills as a band for some time, and their dedication has certainly paid off. “Red Tuesday” and “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore” were the two songs to look out for, but do yourself a favor and dig into whatever you can find by these guys if you haven’t already.
Last but not least, Hideous Sun Demon rounded off the night much to the crowds delight. These guys always bring a ton of energy and last night was no different. Leading man Vincent Buchanan prowled up and down the stage like some unhinged schizophrenic, and is the first man in history to make a sparkly Danelectro guitar look menacing. Combining Cramps style punk with messy In Utero grunge grooves and splattered with chorus effect lead hooks, HSD had the whole crowd headbanging furiously to their neck-wrecking tunes. Feeding from the room, the band sensed the point the crowd was whipped into a frenzy and extended one of their best riffs into a heavy, half speed jam. By the time they were wrapped up the crowd was spent, having got exactly what they’d paid to see; Perth’s most ferocious live band.
With the bill for the night sadly all finished up, so was Hideous Sun Demon’s time as a local Perth act for the foreseeable future. I managed to catch up with Vince after the show to get a few words about their departure, plans for the future and how it felt to say goodbye for now.
How does it feel to have played your last gig in the city for at least the foreseeable future?
“I guess I’ve played here for a long time, and when I decided I wanted to make the move to Melbourne at that point I was kinda like ‘I’ve done Perth’ and I was mainly focused on what I was gonna be doing next. But now that it’s coming to the last gig and the last week that I’m gonna be here, I am really starting to realise how special this place is and how much I’ve really taken out of the community, and the kind of scene that Perth is. So yeah, it’s sad. I mean, I’m excited obviously. I’m making this decision and I’m making it for good reasons but this place is pretty fuckin’ special.”
What are the main reasons for relocating?
“Fundamentally, it’s an unfortunate reality. Perth is great, but the fact that it is the most isolated capital city in the world really does have physical and fiscal kind of effects. At the end of the day, we’re not like a commercially...y’know, get spun on national radio and high rotation kind of band. That’s not to make a reflection on radio, or us.
So it’s just a reflection of the economics of trying to have a band in the most isolated capital in the world?
“Yeah I guess so, we’re paying $1500 every time we want to leave the state. We fly Virgin because if you fly any other airline you have to pay (to bring your gear). So, yeah. We’re paying from $1500 to two grand every time we wanna get out of here and we just don’t make that much money to do what we wanna do. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Jake who plays bass and me, we’ve been playing together since 2010 so it just makes sense. I want to play new venues in Adelaide, Brisbane, New Zealand. I’m not money focused, it’s just practicality. Perth has an incredible community, and Fremantle is literally paradise”
What are your plans if any to return to Perth and play a show in the future?
“Well, I wasn’t aware of this but apparently the show tonight was the start of the tour. This week we’re releasing an album called Fame Erotic Dream. We’re doing a tour for that and coming back in late September, I believe September 29th is the day we’re playing in Perth and we’re doing some regional shows as well. After that I’m not sure. Like I said, I don’t wanna detach myself from this place at all. I love so many things about this place. I love Camp Doogs, I love RTR, I love places like Mojo’s and The Bird, The Norfolk Basement (The Aardvark)...So, you know what I mean. I love those institutions, they’re apart of what Perth is. Realistically we’re not gonna be here every weekend, but we’re gonna try and do it!”
Hideous Sun Demon’s third album 'Fame Erotic Dream' will be out July 27th via Hell Beach Records, and pressed to vinyl by XVinylX. It will be available here - https://bit.ly/2uHOhfM
The new album by Vince Buchanan 'Terrible Signal' is out now on LP via Rhubarb Records and is available to order online here - https://bit.ly/2LsOcGm
'Terrible Signal' is also available in store at Rhubarb Records East Vic Park, and Rhubarb Records Cafe in Leederville.
Thanks to Matt Puccinelli from CapturaObscura photography, Greg Sanders, Mark Spillane, Vince Buchanan and Hideous Sun Demon, New Talk, Heavy Flow and New Nausea.
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