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LIVE: HARD-ONS with SEAWITCH and LEECHES, PERTH, August 5th, 2022

| 8 August 2022 | Reply

LIVE: HARD-ONS with SEAWITCH and LEECHES, PERTH, August 5th, 2022
Amplifier Bar, Perth
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Karen Lowe

Amplifier Bar

Entering the dank cave that is Amplifier, Leeches have already cranked their amps up to eleven for a set of short, sharp, shock hardcore that hits like a two-inch punch to warm the slowly growing crowd against the cold and damp night outside.

Seawitch are a pagan revelation, a witchy brew led by the ever-dynamic Fiona Horne (Def FX) and Dave Hopkins (The Hellmen). With a potent mix of Wicca-flavoured tunes from their debut EP and forthcoming album (Initiate, Witch Hunt, Amulet, Witches Forever, Lockdown City, Dark Knight), they show the eager crowd that there’s no substitute for experience and attitude, with wah wah-drenched riffs that could build empires, and a euphoric vibe which hints at her former band without the keyboards. Horne is sober nowadays and living her best life with bandmate and partner Hopkins, and her energy and positivity is a shining light, whether she’s throwing herself and her disco ball flares around the stage, playing second guitar, or launching her powerhouse vocals into the ether. Plenty of bands will finish with an extended squeal of feedback, but this four-piece go deep down into that then come back for a reprise at the end of a riveting, rocking set.

What a fucking world we live in when the headliners – the pre-eminent modern Australian thrash-punk band, now fronted by You Am I legend Tim Rogers – set their gear up unassumedly and look at each other awkwardly waiting for the DJ to turn the background music down so that they can play. Rogers fires a few good-humoured rounds from an imaginary shotgun in their direction before it’s done, then they’re all set to go.

Sporting a simple blue t-shirt emblazoned with The West Australian newspaper logo for a few songs before the entire band go bare chested, Rogers is the perfect rock n’ roll wastrel, a languid vagabond clearly inspired and energised at his new gig. Guitarist Blackie, bassist Ray Ahn and drummer Murray Ruse do what they always do – what they do better than anybody – which is lay down a wall of sound so unique it can be only one band. THIS band.

It’s a marriage made in rock n’ roll heaven, so when one disgruntled wag incomprehensibly hollers, “you ruined the Hard-Ons!” the band find it funny rather than hurtful, Rogers replying, “they ruined me!”

Hold Tight, Fucked Up Party, Lite As A Feather, Back Pack Sweat, Frequencies and Humiliated-Humiliator all feature from recent album I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken, but it’s when Rogers wraps his laughing gear around lesser-known Hard-Ons gems Bad Bad Temper To Match, I’m A Frozen Boy (“my favourite Hard-Ons song, EVER!” he declares), What Would Stiv Bators Do, Cigarettes and There Goes One Of The Creeps That Hassled My Girlfriend that we see the real power of this new line-up.

Rogers is a well-aimed cannon here, a fan who’s scored his dream gig. For somebody who took a break from performing a couple of years ago because he’d lost his passion for it, he’s all flailing loose limbs, a lithe, snake-hipped, born-again teenager.

Closing with favourite Just Being With You, and a none-heavier Suck n’ Swallow, Hard-Ons show why they’ve been around for forty years and still sound amazing and vital. Consider Amplifier Bar well and truly rocked, ridden hard, and put away wet.


Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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