Bird Wednesdays: The Shabab's Album Launch (w/ Bikini Cops, The Spunloves, and Doctopus)
Organised by Shit Narnia frontman Hugh Manning, this Wednesday night at The Bird was the launch of The Shabbab’s new album, Garlic. The atmosphere for it was as buzzed as ever, the kind of thing you come to expect from The Bird. Tonight's beer special was the $5 Sly Fox schooner - good thing I primed my stomach at the Good Fortune Duck House before hand! It’s the first time in a while that I’ve come down to The Bird for a gig and the line-up was nice ‘welcome back’ to the digs. I remembered how easy it is to run into friends here, and the satisfaction that came from scoring a small keg-table with enough seats for your entourage. Then experiencing it all again when you rejoin the ritualised smoking out the back, in-between acts. Strategically negotiating your time between conversation, toilet breaks and lining up at the bar fills the space between the bars of juicy punk rapture.
The night opened up with support from the Bikini Cops. It was my first experience getting frisked in the ears by them. Their brand of punchy surf punk rock certainly primes the blood vessels. After a couple of songs, the crowd grew as groups finished their smokes and came inside for round one. Chords fast enough to give you neck problems were crisp and catchy. Yelling your heart out with the vocals to vent your mid-week frustrations is good for you, the Bikini Cops are good for you.
Next up were The Spunloves, who sweetened the night with their rich tunes drenched in delicious reverb. They’ve become a local favourite here, and it is quite easy to see why. Their arrangements function quite simply, with delayed riffs that sit neatly over steady chord progressions. The bass cut through boldly underneath the Mustang/Jazzmaster duo. It was relaxing and groovy at the same time, and for a moment I was blissfully transported away from the whole chaotic uni/work cycle. The Spunnies played some brand new tracks, along with some of their classics like Ballroom Blues, which is always a pleasure.
Seeing these boys playing the Bird mid-week is truly Perth-meta. If there’s any band that could convince you it's actually a Saturday night instead of Wednesday, it’s Doctopus. They have good shows, they have bad shows; but they’re always having fun. Generally, Steph is getting turnt AF, wailing hysterically into the mic, but that’s perfect, because everyone knows that's how these shows go anyway. Along with Jeremy’s straight shooting riffs and John’s chopping drum rhythms, the trio work in perfect harmony. Drawing a lot from their recent album, we got treated to tracks like Patty Mills, Feel Good Hits and Social Anxiety (my fave), as well as some oldies from Wobblegong and Buddies. They also tried out a new song, which ended up with Steph improvising the lyrics, expressing his love for his band buddies. Strong vibes.
The headliners were living out some true rockstar shit that night, let me tell you. They rolled into Perth an hour before playing. These guys are a ‘Middle-East Brunswick Garage’ band according to their Bandcamp page and are an absolute beast of a performance. They really got fierce, political, and in-your-face. Shuki (vocalist) was dynamic and confronting in is stage presence, demanding your undivided attention. I was afraid to look away in case I’d miss something, which happened twice. I looked down once to type some notes and all of a sudden, Shuki was hanging upside down from a support beam beneath the ceiling. In the next instance, I looked up to find that he had ditched his golden-striped leggings to sport his birthday suit. Shit got wild. Whilst playing fast and hectic, The Shabbab still had a very good sense of pace, delivering sections precisely. There was a sense of funk amidst the chaos. I thought their drummer kind of looked like Frank Zappa, but boy could he shred skins. The crowd was very responsive, taking the energy and giving it back in a big circle of sweaty shoulders. The Shabbab have another 3 shows here in Perth to launch their new album Garlic.