LIVE REVIEW: Sly Withers cement their rising status @ Indi Bar
Photos courtesy of Dan Hildebrand
With a heartfelt and witty anecdotal lyrical style blended with uproarious riffs, Sly Withers have often drawn comparison to the likes of Melbourne’s The Smith Street Band. No doubt a terrific outfit to be compared to, however the Sly boys were always eager to continue developing their own unique sound.
A regular nightly ritual arose that proved influential to their evolving identity. The boys would often congregate on a street descending down to their favourite surf spot. They would chat, smoke and flippantly listen to trashy emo punk rock. But then it became their new favourite genre. Inspired by the feel of the genre, their sound soon grew into an infusion of perceptive verses, anthemic choruses and epic explosions of punk grandeur.
Joel is a furious force on the drums. Shea is the ultimate cool and composed co-guitarist. Sam and Jono share lead singer and backing duties, each providing a fresh sound and style that gives the band their unique and distinctive diversity.
Sam brings the everyday to life with his insightful suburban perspective on everything from his blackmailing dickheads, to shoes randomly appearing in meter boxes. Whilst Jono is the king of sensitivity meets gritty breakneck passion. What do they have in common? Once you know the words, you literally cannot help but sing, or rather, scream along to the catchy, fun and powerful lyrics.
Kicking off their Sad Guy single tour at the Indi Bar in Scarborough, the sold out venue was brimming with locals, many of which had been following the band for several years now. But joining them was an ever-growing ardent fan base, with some people even travelling from Melbourne to see them.
“But they’re going to Melbourne in a fortnight,” I pointed out.
“Yeah! We’ll see them there too!” they declared.
You have to admire their commitment and enthusiasm. Indeed, the fervour appeared infectious. Sly Withers do a fantastic job of fostering a safe and caring environment, implementing a strict ‘No dickheadery’ policy. Coupled with their good blokery, their performance was characterised by an incredible, absorbing, loving atmosphere.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The support acts were simply outstanding, with the night kicking off with Duck Teeth, who consist of most of the band members from Tired Lion, and the sassy, high energy indie pop punk music of Hussy.
They were followed by the absurdly talented singer-songwriter Noah Dillon with his alternative rock style. This was my first time seeing Noah Dillon, and I was taken back by his exceptionally endearing music and persona. I was particularly moved by his track ‘Maggots’ and his latest single ‘Holding On’. A brilliant lyricist, his yearning, searching, raw emotion and heart-wrenching honesty fuse with a folk-inspired indie rock sound to create a truly striking artist.
Thankfully, the conclusion of his set wasn’t a sombre affair. After all, it meant Sly Withers were almost about to perform. And what a performance it was. The energy was electric, with the zealous crowd avidly singing along to each and every song, especially Sam’s sensational tunes ‘Google Maps’, ‘Nike Shoe’ and ‘Pleb’. They were clear crowd favourites along with Jono’s tracks ‘Girls’ and of course, ‘Sad Guy’, which definitely isn’t a love song, but definitely is really damn good.
They finished with my personal favourite track (a sentiment apparently well supported by spotify users), a trademark fiery and emotional banger, ‘Closer’. But to the cries of ‘one more song’, they reappeared on stage with Sam striking a hamstring-risking pose. They were clearly ready for this moment and raring to perform the perfect song for the occasion.
“You are my fire. The one desire. Believe when I say… I want it that way.” Yep, that’s right, they remixed the Backstreet Boys. But it gets even better. They mixed it with Metallica. And it was epic.
The next few months are equally epic for the band. In two weeks, their Sad Guy tour continues over east, with shows in Melbourne and Sydney before hitting up Brisbane and Adelaide the next fortnight.
But as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve been selected as the support act for Melbourne punk rockers Slowly Slowly national tour. Starting in late July in Hobart, the Sly boys will be touring the country yet again, culminating in huge show at Mojos in Fremantle on August 24th.
Sly Withers cultivated a dedicated following in Perth sometime ago. And for good reason, this band is truly something special. The talented quartet have been fine tuning their craft over several years and all their hard work is finally paying off as they threaten to break out into national prominence.
Their recorded music is phenomenal, but their stage presence and live performance is on another level. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, I recommend you get in quick. It’s already becoming a real mission to ensure those highly sought-after front row positions.