For most, Sundays mean church, chores or losing the entire day because of excessive drinking the night before.
Thankfully, I partook in none of those things and instead saw two of California’s best bands: Starcrawler and The Growlers. Miraculously, the heavens opened up for some seriously needed rain that night, but it wasn’t enough to drench Australia’s sunburnt land, nor stop the diehard Beachgoths of Sydney flooding into the Enmore Theatre.
Let’s cut to the chase—Starcrawler are fucking sick. If you’re that person who only attends gigs for the headline act, then you’re kooking it! Although it’s only January, I know Starcrawler is by far one of the most entertaining and hell-raising bands I’ll see this year.
Frontwoman Arrow De Wilde is like nothing I’ve seen before. If I had to make comparisons, I’d say she’s the female Iggy Pop of our generation, just ten times more demonic. I’ve heard of people being possessed by music, but nothing like this. This was a live rock-and-roll exorcism. As the songs progressively intensified so did De Wilde, using her microphone as a tool of sexual pleasure and destruction. If her bloodstained tutu wasn’t enough to start with, De Wilde took things to the point of suffocation and finished the set with a mouthful of blood. As horrifying as this sounds, De Wilde and her band had the crowd totally captivated. A rock-show like no other.
After my heart rate return to normal and I came to terms with what I’d just witnessed, I was ready for a beer. This would happen at a nearby pub, because the cost of a beer at gigs like this is highway robbery. When I returned, the ground floor Enmore Theatre was packed to the brim with eager punters and Beachgoths alike.
As the stage lights dimmed, the squeal of teenage (and middle-aged) women intensified, and Brooks Nielsen and his band of cowboys took the stage. Wasting no time, they got straight into it, and instantly had the crowd dancing. In true Australian fashion, it only took a few songs for someone to shout out, ‘you’re a sick cunt!’. From what I’ve gathered in my travels, the big old C-word isn’t as readily used in America as it is here. Despite this, Nielsen loved it, chuckling to himself as he replied, ‘That’s a hell of a compliment, I never knew I was a sick cunt’.
As The Growlers set effortlessly rolled along, the band shared cigarettes and Nielsen admitted most of their music consisted of love songs: ‘If you enjoyed that love song, you’ll enjoy the next ten’. According to the bras and clothes thrown at Nielsen and his band, people were indeed enjoying the love songs. Or perhaps just their good looks?
Nielsen wished one lucky couple a happy ‘Shag-a-versary’ and advised people to ‘keep shagging until to you can’t shag no more’. Whether you were standing up the back or dancing in the middle, The Growlers music was infectious. Returning for an encore, The they closed the night with ‘Going Gets Tough’, and Nielsen addressed Australia’s bushfire crisis whilst holding his lighter in the air.