Searching for relief from the horror of a Melbourne on the brink of Myer’s all night shopping spree, I stumbled through the doors to the Toff to see APES. The garage rock trope aren’t exactly strangers to Melbourne being residents and all that but nevertheless a must to catch whenever they appear. One of the highlights of The Blurst of Times this year (an effort when competing with Harmony and DZ Deathrays) and the much adored supports for last month’s sellout Manchester Orchestra, the band have quickly been making waves. Why else would the Toff be as packed as the streets outside with 10 minutes until the first act?

When that first act came out, most found themselves doing a double-take at the time displaced Nick Cave standing before them. Even with the heavy Brisbane accent (despite being from Melbourne? Accents are weird…) the illusion carried throughout the show, though thankfully without the level of vulgarity the actual Cave was prone to show at that age. Though as far as similarities go, that’s about it for Reptiles. The instrumental compositions are far more rock based which when paired with the vocals creates an interesting array. However, after 40 minutes with the only major change being in the lyrics, Reptile’s music can become a bit more than tedious.

Next up, Teen Sensations. The actually from Brisbane group came out in their matching stripped shirts to a crowd scratching their heads. With the first strike of a jangly chord, everything fell into place to the sound of pets. Though this set demanded half the attention of the last, Teen Sensations busted out a slew of bizarre mixes of surf with garage, punk, folk and even hardcore. Playing outstandingly upbeat ballads to babes who pretend not to know how to surf to get closer to you and to Kodac Beach the band fall into groove quickly. It was just unfortunate that most of this groove was drowned out by the chattering chorus of the crowd.

Finally it’s time for APES special brand of intensity, and the crowd couldn’t be happier. Not a conscious person is in their seats and those unconscious have been propped up the best as possible. The band’s signature style of bouncy jangle rock makes an appearance as soon as the band make their way out of the gate, with vocalist Benjamin Dowd immediately going from 1 to 11 in the vocal department. The crowd loves every minute of it, dancing in front of stage for the first time this evening despite the lack of space.

It’s the sincerity that really sell APES. With the way Dowd belts out his lyrics it’s hard not to believe he’s really going through heartbreak then and there. Fan favourite ‘Pull the Trigger’ proves this best, with the soul crushing story the song tells coming to life right there on stage. Combined with some of the most unique sounds in Australian rock, it’s no wonder that the crowd inside reflects that outside of the venue.

Cleatus Glob


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