THE DUNE RATS
- The Orielles
- Native Kings
The Maroon 5-meets-Royal Blood stylings of NATIVE KINGS is met with a positive reception by tonight’s crowd. It is clear that the half-full Hold is packed with Easter revellers determined to make the most of the longest weekend of the year. Dave Knowles’ fat basslines are only moderated slightly by singer Cameron Warren’s sickly slick vocals, and the LIPA group’s riffs are right on the money.
Sound problems during the first couple of songs fail to dull the buzz which can be felt as THE ORIELLES launch into their set. It’s unclear whether frontwoman Esme-Dee Hand-Halford’s ice cold presence is due to nerves or ambivalence but either way it is more than made up for by guitarist Henry Wade’s boundless energy. The surf rockers capitalise on the excitement in the room and look destined for a bright future. Their set is finished with Wade wondering into the crowd almost initiating a circle pit as he bounces off punters, all the while not missing a stroke.
There is a clearly a requited love between THE DUNE RATS and this rather sizeable chunk of Liverpool’s gig-going fraternity. The Brisbanites inform us that their first UK tour was christened at Sound City in 2014 and they seem determined to show their gratitude. Rock ‘n’ roll has long been aligned with a degradation of brain cells and these stoner punks will not do a lot to counter this claim. But how much of this is affectation is as unclear as it is irrelevant. Singer Danny Deusa gurns his way through a breakneck set of high-grade garage rock anthems with the crowd’s chants of “Dunies, Dunies” punctuating the songs.
The charm of The Dune Rats is best exemplified in new album opener Dalai Lama, the two-short-planks chorus of “Dalai Lama, big banana, marijuana” is not only excused but elevated to the ranks of genius by the irresistible melody, built-up structure and fearless stupidity. The band are joined on stage by their on-tour documentarian, who alternately hangs from the rafters, moshes with the crowd, and wrestles with band members as he captures everything on a DIY GoPro and torch contraption. It all adds to the feel that these are just a group of mates who can’t believe their luck at getting out of the garage and travelling the world. However, this set seems to suggest that they deserve their success.
Other set highlights include single Red Light Green Light (the video for which features the singer and bassist chain-smoking bongs – you start to get an idea of the band’s raison d’être) and a cover of the Violent Femmes classic Blister In The Sun. Every song is gratefully received by a boisterous crowd, many of which do their best to crowd surf in the low-ceilinged confines of the Shipping Forecast basement.
The Dunies’ frontman expresses his derision at the artifice of encores and explains well in advance at which point the band will leave the stage. They are true to their word: this is a band who are not trying to fool anybody.