Drive West from the city for 30 minutes and you end up in Werribee, but you might as well be on a different fucking planet. For some reason, Them Bruins kicked off their Walk A Line single tour at Mynt Lounge on Friday night and I thought “why not drive out there to catch the first show?”

Why not indeed.

I should have realised what I was getting myself into when I arrived at the venue and they scanned my ID. They took my licence, put it in a machine and made me stand in front of a camera to make sure it was mine. Or something. The second red flag definitely should have come when the security guard doing so asked “You’re here for the bands?” with a tone implying I was some kind of lunatic (which I only recognised in hindsight).

And then I entered the venue. A lovely young lady handed me two drink tickets as she was apparently leaving (after just picking up her tickets) and that was pretty much the highlight of the evening. The lit up sign saying “Where Locals Get Loose” was the third strike that set off all kinds of alarm bells in my head and I realised I wasn’t in Melbourne anymore.

After struggling to determine which of the two beers I don’t usually drink I should get (and whether I should use the token or just shell out the $2.50) I grabbed myself a pot of Boag’s in a plastic cup, looked around and let reality sink in. I was in a bar designed for 18 year olds. I was back at uni. At 27, I was one of the oldest people in the room. I drank my crap beverage and, unable to get on board their generic pop punk train, waited for the support band to finish. I don’t think I was alone there, but I did notice at least two people ‘dancing,’ so at least someone cared about Midnight Collective.

Which is more than I can say for the headline act.

The guys from Them Bruins must have known pretty quickly that they faced an uphill battle, with singer Joel Griffith spending about 30 seconds of the first song on the stage before heading onto the dancefloor in an attempt to generate any energy whatsoever. As he thrust the microphone towards people to sing along to songs they not only didn’t know but didn’t care to learn, he kept catching people by surprise but occasionally he’d hold someone’s attention, albeit briefly before, I assume, the lure of the bar got to them and they just walked away. What was impressive though was that they just kept going, ever professional and with as much energy as they could give without getting anything back from the crowd.

Long story short, Them Bruins worked their arses off for a crowd that weren’t paying them any attention at all. And my decision to head to Werribee? Well, you live and learn.

Wes Fahey


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