Sunday, April 5, 2009
The Pink Fits, the Vandas, Midnight Woolf—the Tote
Holy fuck you get some line-ups at the Tote sometimes. It’s as if the planets align and some dirty little alien lasers a sweet, salty, hip-swaggering little bundle of rock-n-roll straight to Johnstone Street. I’d salivated over this particular show all afternoon, my expectations were higher than a hippy up a scaffold; and from the moment Midnight Wolf hit the stage running, I knew that I was home.
Midnight Woolf are the walking, breathing embodiment of a sweat-factory—and I mean that in the kindest possible sense. From leopard print Drummer, Rabbitfoot Annie, to howlin’ vox-box, Fuzzhound, The Woolf stamped, barked and growled their way through some fast, electric, swampy shit. There’s prickly punk stabs, there’s instrumental thrash jams, there’s covers (New Kind of Kick as a tribute to Lux a delight), and there’s beer swilling good times for all and sundry.
The Vandas broke up the rackety bookends of Midnight Woolf and Pink Fits nicely. That’s not to say these blokes weren’t clamorous, but there’s a polish to the Vandas, and such a well of obvious musicality, that is sure to lead them great places. Their brand is elegantly constructed Australian blues-rock, and the writing’s about as handsome as the duelling frontal combination of Gus Agars and Mikey Madden—they could barely keep their hands off each other. The Vandas’ approach is all-out. With no room for filler it’s a marvel they could’ve written so many impressive songs in a relatively short lifespan—such is the attention to detail.
Fresh from ‘the Gong’, the Pink Fits’ sucked the oxygen from the room with the ferocious tempo of their performance. The opening stanza consisted much new material which unfortunately suffered a poor mix. The Illawarra quartet showed grit in powering through the soupish sound without complaint though, and the mix improved markedly for the back end.
The third act from the Pink Fits was a riot of surf tunes craftily disguised as speed rock. Performing a rare extended headline show allowed the band to delve back to their roots and rip out the kind of shit you’d imagine they played in the Wollongong surf clubs of youth. This was less Hawaiian shirt and ukulele, more tattoos and V8s—the bad-ass, black surf-boarded, punk mother-fuckers from Point Break rather than Keanu Reeves and the girl… If you know what I mean?