Well it was smash, a graveyard bash; the Monster Mash presented by the Minimum Wage Club at the Miami Shark Bar. Ok, there were more freaks than usual; zombie brides, ghouls, and face painted weirdos, plus a load of blokes who borrowed their girlfriends’ dresses (I guess) and were definitely in the mood to party. Three bands were on, The Goons of Doom, Dumb Punts, and Trapdoor.
First up was Trapdoor, who are a local five piece and boy, do they pump. Going with the Halloween theme, they were dressed as The Furies from The 1970’s movie ‘The Warriors’. They kicked freckle with driving stoner rock. Driving – did I say driving? – if your head wasn’t moving it must have been chopped off. Vaughan Dead from The Goons loved them up, as evidenced by him being up on stage dancing with the lads. Trapdoor also included a great cover version of Alice Cooper’s ‘Eighteen’, probably the age or close to of most the punters. If you get chance, check these guys out.
Dumb Punts are a Sydney three piece — two lads and one lass — dressed as evil hopital staff. Noisy, energetic, frenetic, more punk than thrash, a wall of screaming noise making you move. These guys also liked swapping around instruments. The drummer gal got on guitar and sang a few, and the guitarist singer plays mean drums. The crowd were going off, and things were getting loose. Was this just preparation for the sheer chaos of The Goons to follow? Hard, fast, noisy and sounding like the Ramones crossed with Sonic Youth and X, the Dumb Punts had the crowd moving, jumping, crowd surfing, climbing the barriers and going nuts. They were exhausted by the end of the set, and the Dumb Punts emptied the tank.
Ah the Goons of Doom. Well my old mate Vaughan Dead (singer and alter ego of Vaughan Blakey – Surfing World Editor) said it all when he first arrived, “ I love a Halloween gig!”. The Goons were out in the crowd dancing their arse off to the support bands and as always were ready to go. For those who don’t know these guys are a bunch of mates from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and always have a good time. The Bass player is Ozzie Wright (or Wrong); pioneering aerial surfer and artist extraordinaire.
Chaos before they even started (the crowd was a bit slow to get to the front of the stage) so Ozzie did a ventriloquist act with a rubber skeleton as Vaughan Dead encouraged the audience with expletives in multiples. But once they started playing, the crowd came to the front of stage, and the manic movements began. A tight note perfect unit they are not. Fun, raucousness, and a ‘we don’t care – we are having fun’ attitude is what they are about and it translates directly to the audience who are on the same trip.
Vaughan Dead snapped strings (no back up guitar, no spare strings) and played on regardless. The Cutthroat Cowboy was throwing his guitar into the audience mid song (they eventually gave it back), and Ozzie Wrong is left-handed but played his spooky green right-handed bass upside down. Feedback, sing-a-longs, who cares if it’s not in tune? As their song goes – “Nobody likes a tryhard”, and it looks like the only trying hard they do is to have a good time. It is a bit of a joke and a giggle, and almost everyone is in on it. If you were looking to see musical perfection, you were definitely watching the wrong band. If you wanted to get loose and have a good beer-soaked time, this was the place to be.
IMAGES (c) @dazzwest