The ultimate beef: rock vs metal at Vinnies

It’s hard to imagine a band that encapsulates the “old” Gold Coast more than Tokyo Beef, and I’m not just saying that because of the age of the band members.

Born in Burleigh Head’s The Crab Pot in 2006 and named from a famed Nobbys burger shop menu item, the band has seen members come and go over the last 14 years, but with Graeme Treanor at the helm the outfit has built a reputation as one of the city’s most solid rock outfits.

From private parties to pubs and clubs, skate parks to surf festivals and everything in between, Tokyo Beef never fail to deliver a high-energy set.

But they’re about to be given a run for their money as part of a four-band lineup descending on Vinnies Dive Bar this month.

Diskust, The Panasonics and Awake in Time join Tokyo Beef on the bill which pits metal against rock in an almighty showdown of epic distortions.

Frontman of Tokyo Beef, Graeme Treanor said the mix works in a lineup as the fans of both genres don’t mind the crossover between metal and rock.

The show is great timing for Diskust, who recruited new members as the pandemic unfolded, managed to hone new songs and also roll out an east coast tour. Of course, east coast tours are a bit different now. Rather than heading south, this five-piece metal outfit headed north.

Diskust bassist Lance “Bones Motherfucker” Jones said because of COVID-19 and not being able to travel south, they set their sights on Cairns.

“We needed fresh scenery and a fresh group of people to see what we do,” new recruit CJ Nash (drums) said.

And those efforts paid off. Their first night at AJ Hacketts in Cairns resulted in an outdoor crowd of 120 people.

“[Heavy Mag Editor] Kris Peters was booking bands and it’s his old stomping ground” CJ said. “He’s familiar with the bands and people.”

Diskust has three shows left of that tour – two in Brisbane and the final here on the Gold Coast.

As one of the stalwarts of the rock scene on the Gold Coast, Graeme is optimistic about the future, but accepts there are only a tiny number of venues covering the genre.

“There’s no shortage of bands in both genres and no shortage of talent,” he said. “But even without COVID, venues were a bit light on and the ones that are there are not really supported that well by people.”

Lance said COVID has had something of a positive impact on the metal scene locally.

“Venues have sold out,” he said. “The reduced capacity helps.”

“Our last show was at Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane) on a Sunday and we sold that out,” CJ added.

Lance said pre-COVID, they’d be lucky to get 10 or 20 people to a Sunday show.

“People are just craving live music, they need to get out and experience that feeling again. The live energy. There’s no better feeling that seeing a band.”

And CJ believes live music helps everyone process the uncertainty of it all too.

“After Crowbar closed in Brisbane it was like, oh shit, we don’t know if half these venues are going to survive another wave of COVID, so let’s get out there and support while we can,” he added.

Both bands have had lineup changes recently with Tokyo Beef welcoming new drummer Dommie “Kickdrum” Shelley who boasts an impressive bio of past projects. He joins Peter Punk (lead guitar) and Johnny Fairlane (bass) alongside Graeme.

Both bands are welcoming the changed dynamic with new members.

“Dom has brought a new energy to the band,” Graeme said. “He’s breathed a lot of new life, even into our old songs. And now we have a bunch of new songs we’re working on and they’ve gone to a whole new level.”

Those new songs will get a run at the Vinnies gig in December and Diskust also have new material with CJ (drums) saying he’s been pressing for new material since coming on board in February.

CJ heard that the band had imploded after the previous drummer left and immediately called Bones to suss the situation. It seems the new combination is working for everyone.

“It was a good band, a good brand and they didn’t want to let go of it,” CJ said.

CJ joins Jase Johansen (guitar) and Kiel Long (guitar) as new band members, alongside original member Bodiene Antrobus (vocalist) and Lance.

Lance said the new band had to find a way to work together during the height of the pandemic.

“We had some existing material, so for new members like Jase, they just started learning our songs. We would send videos but as soon as we could get together we started jamming out. They’re such good musicians, we haven’t missed a beat, we just gelled.”

If you’ve seen Diskust recently and lamented the loss of masks in their show, you can rest easy ahead of this show.

“We didn’t wear masks for a while,” Lance explained, “we were getting negative comments that it was all very Slipknot-esque.”

“But we realise that anyone that wears masks is going to get a bit of that,” CJ added.

“Masks definitely bring a new element to the show,” Lance said. “You can become a different character. You can become “Bones”, become a different person, become an animal.”

“I like it, because you don’t see those dopey arse faces when I’m playing drums,” CJ said.

Vinnies is the perfect fit for this metal v rock showdown too and the bands are stoked to be performing there again.

“For me, it’s home,” said Lance. “I love the venue, love the stage, love the sound and love everyone that comes along. Ever since Shark Bar went, this is home.”

“It the intimacy,” Graeme added.

“People coming here are coming to see music. This is the Gold Coast home for them. When you play here, the crowd is pretty close to you. It’s belting off the stage and they love it, so you love it. You feed off each other.”

CJ said you can taste the sweat of bands gone by when you walk in the door.

“It’s not what you expect in Southport,” he said. “This vacuum of sweat, the Courthouse across the road, it’s home. It’s a really good stage and a great sound that comes off it.”

Both Diskust and Tokyo Beef have new music on the horizon and a heap of merch for diehard fans on the night they play Vinnies.

But when it comes to the showdown, who’s going to take home the honours?

Lance voices his appreciation for Tokyo Beef.

“Seriously, a lot of bands could learn from Tokyo Beef. After the show [at BBQ Bazaar], they went around and thanked everyone for coming. That’s massive… us younger bands can learn from that. They put on such a strong live show, so energetic.”

“They’re one of the most solid rock bands going around,” CJ added.

Graeme (who’s 35 years older than Diskust’s youngest member) said more youthful bands often raise their eyebrows.

“When we play with young bands, they look at us and are like, what are these old blokes gonna do?”

“We get up there and we know we have 45-50 minutes and it’s go time.”

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Saturday 19 December – Diskust + Tokyo Beef + Awake In Time + The Panasonics, Vinnies Dive Bar. Tickets just $10 via Oztix. Check out the Gold Coast rock x metal showdown playlist below:

IMAGE (C) Simone Gorman-Clark

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