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Live Review + Gallery: Luca Brasi, Sydney 2016 (1)

Luca Brasi / Endless Heights / Brawlers / Hannahband
Plan B Small Club, Sydney 29/01/2016
Review: Matt Doria | Photos: Hayden Nixon

While all of the pop-punk kids were getting their teeny bop on with Tonight Alive, the real party was going down across the street. 200 of Sydney’s fiercest, drunkest and sweatiest had squished themselves into Plan B Small Club (formerly Goodgod), their mission a simple one on this humid Friday evening: catch up with some mates, smash a couple of tinnies, and jam the fuck out to some face-melting punk rock. And with a bill led by bogan punk badarses Luca Brasi, avant-shredders Endless Heights, alcoholicore unit Brawlers and emu punx Hannahband, there wasn’t a chance in hell this mission wouldn’t be accomplished.

Not to invalidate any of the hardworking ensembles slugging it out in our scene right now, but Hannahband are, without a doubt, the single best live act kicking it in the Sydney circuit. Unforgivingly abrasive and violently energetic, Nathan Martin effortlessly teetered between a vitriolic angst-yell and a buttered up harmony, all the while beating the shit out of their guitar as if they’d just caught it breaking into their house. Marnie Vaughn was equally as enthralling on backup and drums, injecting into the performance a shot of inescapable sprightliness. “I Have Joined A Pop Cult” stood out as the catchiest cut of the duo’s (cruelly short) 20-min set, but kicking off as a mellow indie jam and quickly swerving into hardcore territory, “You Have A Beautiful Invoice” turned just enough heads to cement it as a highlight.

It’s hard to justify Brawlers’ placement as the second of four bands on tonight’s schedule; within their first minute onstage, the UK ruffians had waged a war on their audience, their weapon of choice a ruinous fluster of grimy riffs and sing-along-worthy hooks. Cuts from their debut full-length, Romantic Errors Of Our Youth, were shuttered out to reams of praise as frontman Harry George Johns leapt through the crowd, his token red beanie slinking down his head as he semi-drunkenly bellowed the words to “Nervous Breakdown” into unsuspecting punters’ faces. But while most eyes were set squarely on Johns, his bandmates exalted a show of their own, thrashing around the stage with a punk-fueled adrenaline that makes the latest Mad Max look like a motherfucking Disney flick.

Thus brings us to Endless Heights, an interesting choice to wrap the opening trilogy, but an exhilarating one nonetheless. Launching straight into the title track from last year’s acclaimed Teach You How To Leave EP, the shoegaze-core crushers had a pit flinging fists from the get-go. As savagely corrosive as they are ethereal, the band had their fair share of polarised onlookers; after a couple of all-out bangers, though, they had everyone but the bar staff fighting off invisible wasps. It certainly won’t be long before Endless Heights are off on their own venue-flooding adventures.

No need for introductions or any synth-tinted speech from a 1990s political film, Luca Brasi jumped up onstage and simply smashed into their tunes. Their energy wasn’t as prevalent as the opening acts’, but their stage dynamic is irrefutable; they know what works, and they know how to execute that so the crowd goes fucking mental. Weaved around cuts from Extended Family and By A Thread were teases of their forthcoming third LP: two untitled tracks, and of course, summer favourite – and the reason this tour is even happening – “Aeroplane”. The new tunes go down especially sweet, and though they aren’t anything too dissimilar to what we’ve heard from Luca Brasi in the past, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t frothing for studio versions.

When he wasn’t losing himself in a solid riff or pouring his heart into a gnawing chorus, frontman Tyler Richardson was bro-ing it up with the crowd, chucking anecdotes and shaka signs between every other song. And all in all, that’s essentially what Luca Brasi stand for – not giving a fuck, living it up, and shattering out some balls-to-the-wall bogan punk. Judging by the thick smog of sweat and endless ravings afterwards, we’d say they did a pretty damn good job of pulling that off.

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