Wanting to celebrate the end of the weekly five day slog in the appropriate fashion, I found myself on Friday night seeking out a party. And upon reading about a three piece punk outfit who got going for the “sole purpose of playing parties and hanging out”, well there was really no question, I was headed to The Tote to catch The Coathangers at their debut Melbourne show.

Getting to The Tote early I caught the set of local “throwaway pop” act The Pink Tiles. Adorned in pink sleeveless jackets, they were the 90s answer to 60s surf rock; mellowed melodies matched with tinny guitars and boptastic drum beats. With songs about getting trumped by a guy in a round of bowling and feeling sorry for yourself when you’re sick, their music was as cute and affable as their cheeky grins to the crowd and each other between songs and swigs of beer. The last three songs in the set were when they really started getting into the groove, the energy in the room gaining a bit more pep with the crowd getting limbered up for the rest of the night.

After the obligatory wander outside for a smoke between bands, Scotdrakula crashed into their set and straight away proved (to me at least) that they were a band I really needed in my life. I feel that the garage punk sound has been thoroughly explored by many a band, and for a lot of the time the sound is there but it’s like the shell of a peanut with no nut, disappointing and hollow. Scotdrakula really carry that fire that’s needed to make the kind of thrashy, exuberant sound that makes the genre worthwhile. ‘Idlewild’ was one of my favourites of their set, a quick two minutes of dynamo guitar riffs and clanging cymbals accompanied by the entertaining visual of a guitarist restringing a borrowed guitar while trying to play the song.

As instruments were getting unpacked and the drum kit rebuilt, it became apparent that the room was humming with the anticipation of seeing The Coathangers play their first ever Melbourne show. Minnie, Rusty and Crook Kid Coathanger took to the stage as spots in the pit were being bagsed and last beers before the show were being bought. Ripping straight into it with songs off their latest release Suck My Shirt, The Coathangers got the crowd right into party mode. Wearing their own shirts a-la Iron Maiden, the three created a barrage of hectic tunes, executing one perfect punk song after another. Songs like ’Shut Up’ and ‘Smother’ were totally infectious, in that loll-your-head-around-and-bop-along kind of way, and the set was full of short fast tunes that were as dangerous sounding as they were sincere.

I know that they started off as a party band, but they’ve certainly shaken off their musical inexperience and become a band that can play a terrific live show.  I want to say more, but the reality is, I just had too much damn fun to care that I was going to need to take notes for this review. I had one discernible note for the headline act; The Coathangers – fuck yeah!

Dee Dee Magee

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