22nd of September saw the Birthday wallops of West End's darling Bearded Lady. Turning 10, she cavorted with style, celebrating with a star-studded line-up of 5 linchpin Brisbane bands. It was a night to behold, with the AFL semi-finals blaring in the bar, and searing hardcore in the back - both rooms screaming. The jamboree started with the verbal onslaught of Dentatas, followed by the futuristic musings of Bin Licker. Then we had our pores cleansed by the steamy tendrils of Platonic Sex. Finally, Blind Girls gave us ten lashings of violence, followed by Full Flower Moon Band kissing it better with a candlelit ear-dinner of aphrodisiac & slime. Let's get into it, this one's for you Old Girl, with love.
First up was Dentatas, forged from the warped minds behind Brisbane's favourite Pale Horsey. The lights dim and our players take to the stage. It starts with drum crash, freaky guitar and a mic stand mangled until it almost touches the floor. The singer has a very low-gravity style, crumpled and small until they explode into hardcore guttural and raw energy. In the immortal words of Sway in the Morning, "This kid is hard."
They begin their set out of nowhere. No announcements. No words. They don't fuck around between songs either. It's just pugilistic delivery blow after blow. Their next song begins with scrawling bass, rim shots and the guitar falls apart. The vocals are low and the singer catapults into the crowd. I'm a big fan of bands that play in the audience, old She Cries Wolf-style. The fashion is impeccable, with Elvis shoes and baggy clothes draped over goblinoid forms.
We get ruthless Randy on our pesky emotions as the screamington 3000's take us away to a better place. They break up, they groove down and the crowd is a-jostlin'. Dentatas glorch all over our chests & faces and leave us dripping. It is over just as fast as it began, and methinks I got meself a new favourite Brisbane band. We're left tingling in silence.
Next up, we have the frightening future tunes of Bin Licker. We got the bassist in a golden luchador balaclava, the singer in a chef's kiss of fashion - sporting suit & cap, and the freakadelic binary soundtrack of the AI-pocalypse.
Lights dim to reddish black and we are greeted with cybernetic sludge. It's some sort of weird distorted shoegaze-vocal dirty, bass-driven sci-fi simulation. Nightmare fuel for your toaster. They've got matrix candy-bop synth, visionary fashion, out of this world guitar, drum machine punch and black latex basslines. Just take my virginity now, guys. I'm ready and wanting. We're on the final frontier here, down the musical wormhole and it's gettin'... Exploratory.
It reminds me of a gelatinous, sultry Mi-Sex. but instead of 'Space Race,' we've got grit and groove. Their dripping synth gets all cosmic horror up in this fish, and the bass lubes us up as we plummet into the abyss. They subject our primitive minds to a time change. Fast. Faster. FASTER.
Prepare yourself for boarding.
Bin Licker are dissonant, scary and alien. They unravel and rebuild, with each song combining pulsating parseltongue with the pew pew of ray guns. The bass & guitar give depth, while the synth gives time & space. The crowd is starting to move and the smoke machine is taking over. It's coming for us all. The bass is getting squelchy and we praise our alien overlords. Even the venue co-owner, Jamie, is out here grooving about. Honestly, he put all our dance moves to shame. Holographic Magpies jersey and jellyfish skinsuit dance moves in-tow. Happy fkn Birthday, sons.
I haven't seen the last band since the Good Boy farewell gig, but they've been rocking on and sharpening their blades during the interim. You know 'em, you love 'em, they've got 2000s emo pump drums, retrospect guitars, all set to a biopic lyric. They'll make you laugh, they'll make you cry, they'll make you pee your pants. It's Platonic Sex.
They start with a feedback kick to the clit, followed by waves on the guitar. Take note, sons, this is how you wrangle the 6-string. The hugest vocals slap our flaps and we're off to the races. The perfect sudden stop-ending, and that was the appetizer done and dusted. Let's plop the cloche off the mains.
They show their masterful hand at crowd work and wish The Beardo a happy birthday. "It's very special to be here," and they thank Brian on the smoke machine button. The most powerful man in the building.
The next lil' ditty starts with some palm-muted Avril world-building. Remember kids, chugs, not drugs. Fill Collins on the drumbones, and the crowdy gets rowdy. Next up we have a new song, "I'll Find a Hill to Die On." It's the song's birthday, as well as The Beardo's, but in a reversal of tradition, this time the band bought gifts for our slatternous ear goblets. I think my notes speak for themselves when all they say for this song is: "DAYM SONS," and "The drums are a-cummin'." Go and check it out.
Platonic Sex are champions of audience interaction, making each little break for tuning and comedy roadshow. They blitz our wax tunnels with dynamics, both sot and loud. They pimple our skin with goosebumps and pepper our cheeks with a grin. They make us think about shit and bedazzle us with stomach-altering guitar. The crowd moves, and it's Ladies to the Frontlines.
They're tighter than a fish's bum (as my mum would say - thanks mum!) Be it scathing guitars, sweltering drum concertos or moisturising lyric lobotomies. The nature of the gig has changed. All of a sudden, they get full schralp-mode and take the guitar to the butcher's. They're feelin' it, and so are we. The humidity.
They move into their last song after some clowning, and shatter our general perceptions of time with some perfectly placed tempo shifts. The audience is hollarin' and we're in for a good time. Thanks for the movement seminar.
Alrighty, let's do it dudes. It's not secret that I'm a fan of Gold Coast hardcore harbingers, BLIND GIRLS. We're into the first song and we've got one guy practicing capoeira already. "That's a lot of guitar," says one paralyzed onlooker. You're goddamn right, son.
You know the drill: Movement. The crowd gets healthy B-vitamins and the band goes all Bob the Builder on our asses as they turn up the tension. The band is on their knees and the break down gobbles us whole. Elbows up.
Fresh from their tour of Canada & the US, they've really honed their craft. Tight, nasty, fkn scary and dissonant always, Blind Girls always deliver.
They rip out all the essentials, plumbing the depths of their discography and melting some hearts & faces. Mic grabs and swinging hands prevail.
In truth, I actually have the least to say about them; but it's compliment. The simple matter is, I was dancing. Thing is, if I have the least amount of notes written for a band, and the most photos to sift through from the photographers, then you know they're doing something right. Get yourself a corner of pit and mosh your little legumes out. Blind Girls are an act you need to see live. Just be sure to pack physical, mental and spiritual protective gear.
Topping the night was Full Flower Moon Band, an iconic Brisbane act these days, but with humble beginnings at The Bearded Lady. The romp stonkulous power-wizards take to the stage, and the crowd work is immediate. Celebrating 10 years, with props to sound & lights and "a quick word from Robyn." Co-owner and legend takes to the stage, and what ensues is the wrinkles on the heart, with mother & son co-owner combo warming us with their gratitude to the patrons and the music.
"UP THE PIES!"
This venue opened 10 years ago, with the grit of Mother and Son, and they put their love & souls into this shit. A tear in the eye and rapturous applause for these local loose units. Without them, this city would be short a major player in the punk, hardcore and indie live scene. Many bands have had their start here at The Beardo, and many established acts have played it too. The dedication of the fans, the hard work of the staff and the DIY gumption that holds it all together; these are intrinsic to The Bearded Lady, and Brisbane would be a more sterile and boring place without her.
The appreciation train goes off the rails and we delve into the groove.
It starts with sleep paralysis and ends with naughty boy guitar. You can feel it in your chest. They're on a plectrum reconnaissance mission and they request aid from the crowd, "Anyone got a spare pick?" Ol' octopus arms on the skins and they show us the chug of war. It gets grotesque. Galubrious. Gallons of slosh. The singer always has the biggest dick in the room and flops it out, right on the table. Phallic, explosive stage presence and the audience interaction to match, Full Flower Moon always titillate us hungry audients.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Kate (Bass) & Marley (Vocals) from Full Flower Moon before the gig:
LiveWire: "Yo, Hayden Mills here, reporting for LiveWire. I'm here with..."
Kate: "Kate.. NO WAIT! 'Baby Shakes!'
LW: "Ooooo! BABY SHAKES! and...?"
LW: "Alright, sooo, you're on vocals, right? And you're on bass. How long have you been on bass now?"
K: "Maybe... Just over a year and a half."
LW: "Yeah hell yeah, I remember seeing you previously in Good Boy. ALRIGHT! So tonight, 10 year anniversary for Bearded Lady, hell yeah. So, five-second interview: What is your favourite thing about The Bearded Lady?"
M: "My favourite thing about Bearded Lady is the management." (laughs)
K: "Ahhh, that whenever you come here, on any given night, you'll always have friends."
LW: "Mine would be the famous Brown Ale."
M: "Can I clarify, by 'management,' it's because it's overarching: It seeps through the good vibes of the venue."
LW: "Beautiful people, beautiful gigs. Just everyone's real nice. Anyway, have a beautiful night! Good luck tonight! I'm excited."
Thanks for a snippet of your time. Now, back to the gig!
They get fast & furious on the basso continuo. Romple Stompskin, with caramel honey slow-flow, but always glomping it's way forward. The guitarist's got springs in his shoes and the music crash tackles us. Always a gyrating experience. We're told that they've got a new album, and it's cumming near you. They go into their d-rugs song "High Together," and the vocals start rollin'. We get ear-smattering snare into a Puffinstuff flute falsetto, what a musical journey. They could break glass with these pipes. They've got comedy, highnoon guitar, curly whirlies and squiggles on the strings.
The dong-flobbing throb-womblers treat us with some breakdown trudge next and they eek the guitar and wring it dry. A facial melting sesh has it's way with us and all is Glorp. They break into their classic 'Supermodel,' and we are feelin' the goodies. Still punching us in the earholes, they saunter into a 'Happy Birthday' breakdown. Nice one, doggies.
Ever the showman, we are gifted with some linedancing lessons and we got ourselves a hoe-down. Dreams are fulfilled.
They do Birthday, weddings & Bat Mitzvahs.
A huge thank you to all the bands that grew our hearts three sizes that night, and a MASSIVE thank you to the photographers who helped make this possible. Go and check out their stuff, they're absolute warlocks of the lens.
Up the 'Pies, Up The Beard, and Up the local scene! Happy Birthday! I wouldn't have it any other way. Be it line dancing, lung bursting, space travel or catharsis, the 10th Birthday had it all.