REVIEW: Young Revelry, Chicks Who Love Guns, Co Lab @ Yours and Owls

It’s rare that any show in Wollongong sells out, let alone two shows on the same night. Let alone on a cold, rainy night like it was on Thursday, when both the Otis Bar’s last show, and the Young Revelry gig at Yours and Owls, were filled to capacity. For those who chose the cosy, hole-in-the-wall cafe that is Yours and Owls, they were witness to a night of powerful energetic rock, guitar squalls, epic feedback, and almost certainly the loudest gig the tiny venue had ever hosted.

Owls packed out early, as the local opening band took the stage (or, more accurately, floor). Heavy Heads had been advertised to fill this support slot, but we were instead treated to a project dubbed ‘Co Lab,’ featuring members of Heavy Heads and fellow locals The Walking Who. Human tessellation proved to be the order of the day for this set – and for the rest of the night – as five musicians, two guitars, two keyboards, half a drumset, a laptop and two tambourines crammed into the tiny performance space. Co Lab served up a brand of slow 1960s-style psychedelia, tinged with elements of dry desert-rock and blues. Spacy keyboard parts mingled with driving, almost tribal drumming and droning, unintelligible vocals to make for a rhythmic, hypnotic performance calling to mind Tame Impala, The Doors or Wolfmother in their spaciest moments. A confident, powerful and polished performance from the collaboration project, and one that surely won them a roomful of new fans.

After a quick changeover, and the addition of a full drumkit, Sydney five-piece Chicks Who Love Guns took charge of the evening. Kicking off with the groovy – and subtly titled – ‘Smash Fuck,’ the band initially seemed to lack energy. After a static beginning, band picked up the energy and enthusiasm to match their raucous, bratty garage-punk. With a brash, in-your-face punk rock somewhere between The Bronx, The Hives and The Ramones, CWLG kicked the night up several gears from the shoegaze-y, noodling psych-rock of Co Lab; but it seemed that local punters weren’t all that receptive. “This room was full before we started. Thanks for making us feel welcome,” laughed diminutive frontman Cass Navarro around halfway into the set, as the room dropped to around half capacity. Maybe as a “fuck-you” gesture to departing fans, the band’s on-stage energy spiked after this.

Navarro walked the length of the venue, twice, then climbed a wall, knocking down several hanging paintings in the process, before the set’s highlight; the sudden arrival of a lycra-clad, obviously drunk middle-aged man wearing neon Crocs, who danced wildly through the last two tracks. Finishing up with a flawless rendition of new track ‘God Love & Satan,’ and old favourite ‘Vomit On The Dancefloor,’ Chicks Who Love Guns probably departed feeling disappointed at the crowd reaction; but it was a solid, energetic set that deserved a greater crowd response.

Perth’s Young Revelry started their set playing to literally a handful of fans, but as those milling about outside Yours and Owls heard the almighty racket that the trio kicked into, the room again filled. A groovy, 60s-psychedelia number pricked the ears of attendees, who were soon swaying and nodding along to the band’s heavier, almost hypnotic rhythms. Comparable to Led Zeppelin or – again – Wolfmother, the three-piece also channelled a grungy aesthetic that was at once powerful and groovy, heavy yet danceable.

The band took off on a sonic journey through their set, jumping between heavy psych-rock, more conventional rock’n’roll, garage-punk and some poppier moments, variously calling to mind the Pixies, Children Collide, The Who and Nirvana. It was a bit of a mix’n’match, with almost no flow or transition between tracks; each was executed brilliantly and competently, and it made for an interesting listening experience, but it was difficult to follow the set from one song to the next. The band might benefit from narrowing their musical focus, to ensure a more cohesive, coherent performance.

Nevertheless, it was an exciting set that never lacked energy, precision or enthusiasm, and signalled that this was a band almost ready to step up to the big leagues of Australian indie music. Armed with a slew of radio friendly rock tracks (don’t be surprised to see them feature in a Triple J Hottest 100 list in the next year or so), Young Revelry are certainly one to watch in coming months.

See below for video of Young Revelry’s headline set. For more videos from the night, see Yours and Owls website.

Young Revelry 140711 from Laww Media on Vimeo.

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