The Croxton’s band room fills rapidly as Melbourne duo From Oslo open the night with some grungy punk rock tunes and a lot of unnecessary yelling. The crowd is fairly static, aside from a few keen punters head banging in the front row. From Oslo still get into it and put a lot of energy into their performance nonetheless. Although their stage presence encourages the front row fans to dance along, their entire set all sounds a lot like one big jam session. One guy later comments “they just aren’t that memorable- I can remember one lyric or song.” He goes on to say he might have enjoyed the set more if he had longer hair to head bang with, inspired by the drummer’s mane.

Next up is The Pretty Littles, who many fans agree could have a comedy show as successful as their band. Frontman Jack opens their set with a few lines from a ballad, before stopping to inform us that he’d “had a horrific breakup today”, and dedicating the song to his ex. After seeing The Pretty Littles, I would not hesitate at all to see them again. Their songs have a fairly disinterested, sober crowd dancing and laughing within the first few minutes of their set. Their running commentary and explanation of song lyrics is what makes their set so much fun. Jack pays tribute to Band of Skulls, saying: “I got to see Band of Skulls in East Brunswick once, I didn’t know this was gonna happen, it’s a good thing,” As well as mentioning From Oslo were “Absolutely off their dickybirds.” The whole band rocks out in every song, and the show feels really casual, like watching some mates practicing in their garage. They all seem like real cool typical Aussies, and spend a lot of the set trying to spot their dad in the crowd. They close their set by singing about when they tried meth for the first time, and their mate Dingo’s STD.

By the time Band of Skulls come out, the room is packed with hundreds of keen punters screaming and cheering. The band are dressed all in black, and jump straight into In Love by Default, from their latest album. Although the crowd doesn’t seem to know the song, they’re dancing as soon as the chorus kicks in. If you’re a Band of Skulls fan but haven’t listened to their latest, fourth album, By Default probably isn’t what you’re expecting – it’s a bit more Dead Weather and even bordering on a bit of an Arctic Monkeys vibe. In Love by Default bizarrely also features Marsden almost rapping. They go on to play a few of their fan favourites; Himalayan, You’re Not Pretty But You’ve Got It Going On, Sweet Sour, Hooch Coochie. Marsden encourages the crowd to sing along, stating “I can see you can dance already”. They definitely know how to please a crowd, jumping onto the fold back speakers to high-five screaming punters in the front row. Together they create a rumbling wall of sound; Hayward’s powerful drumming and Marsden and Richardson’s vocals together make for something a bit unique in the rock genre, and their songs range from ballads and sultry anthems, to riff-heavy, blues-driven rock and roll. While on all accounts they’re a pretty big band at the moment, they seem so humble and look genuinely excited every time the crowd screams. Marsden finishes the set with Death by Diamonds and Pearls, before returning to the stage for a two song encore. If you plan to catch Band of Skulls on their Australian tour, be ready for a night of riff laden rock and roll- and dancing because you really can’t help it.

Words by Emily Jensen

Photos by Yana Amur

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