Though I should have known better. This is a bloody ripper of a line-up.
In twenty years of going to the good old Sharkie, this is the first time I’ve seen a barrier surrounding the stage. Staff must have been forewarned how loose these bands can get and how frenzied fans can become. And man, it was one hell of a mad-arse night.
Local Brissie / Goldie all-girl band Being Jane Lane kick the night off with their no frills, in your face punk rock. Whack. One song’s sole lyrics were:
“Fuck me. Fuck me and you
Fuck me and everyone”.
OK. Well that set the mood.
West Aussie band Axe Girl are lead, appropriately, by Axe. A shock of bleached blonde ruffled hair, blue eye shadow, red and white striped T, tight black jeans and a beautifully iridescent red guitar. She looks like a young Kim Wilde or an amped up Blondie as she slithers around the stage and clambers over the barricades, belting out raw and gutsy sounds with punk attitude.
Clowns. Full stop. As they take to the stage so does a whacked out wanker.
Lead singer Steve calls out, “Are you the idiot who was mouthing off at those girls in the car park?” The wanker raises his arms over his head like he’s won some boxing prize, smiling and nodding with stupid glee.
“Get out of here”. Steve shoves him off the stage. “Security. Get this idiot out of here. Kick him out”.
On with the show. But just two songs in, things are getting out of control. The crowd are pushing and shoving and the barriers are starting to crumble. I’m in the photo pit and it’s getting hairy. The barriers are swaying dangerously back and forth. Security tried to fix them and hold the frantic mob back.
Steve shouts out, “Take the barriers down. You probably thought it was a good idea but someone is going to get hurt. Take them down. We’ll be back in five minutes”.
A flurry of activity as security, bar staff, sound guys, photographers (me) and band members pitch in dismantling the barricades and carting them away. All to cries from the throng, “Take down the barriers. Take down the barriers”.
It was a Hasselhoff moment at the Brandenburg Gates. The Berlin/Shark Bar Wall was demolished. Hallelujah.
Once again Clowns resume their manic mayhem as did the crowd. Bodies flying everywhere, crowd surfing, stage diving, stage invasions. It was w-w-w-w Wild.
By the time The Bennies were up the mob had been whipped to a frenzy. The whole joint has gone mega times mental.
The bands had played the previous night in Nimbin so there were the quips about still being stoned. The also did a spot of shopping. Lead singer Anty bounds on stage in garish tartan leggings and a Rasta sarong draped round his shoulders. I’m sheltering side of stage from the mania and notice drummer Bowie is wearing marijuana leaf patterned socks. The guys constantly smile as they thrash out their “Psychedelic Reggae Ska Doom Metal Punk Rock from Hell”. That’s what their bio says and that just about covers it.
This is one of the wildest gigs I’ve been to. When they launched into the knock out Party Machine the whole she-bang and shoo-boodle joined in, losing their marbles, dignity and religion.
Phew. My ears are still ringing.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sam Gilmore Photography