Deez Nuts + Antagonist A.D. + Relentless + Earth Caller
The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
5 June 2015
Review by Matt Doria
Photo by Joshua Concepcion
When it comes to hardcore shows in Sydney, The Bald Faced Stag is an exceptional atmosphere – it’s compact enough so that promoters don’t have to worry about underselling a gig, but spacious enough to fit a sizable, moshing crowd. The stage takes up the entire back wall, so punters can see a perfect view from anywhere in the main hall. There’s a full-sized pub connected to the venue so punters can get smashed without worry of missing the gig, but if you’re driving yourself, there are three massive – and free – parking lots around the back. There are dozens of arguments in favour of The Bald Faced Stag, and only one legitimate argument against it. Unfortunately, that one argument against the venue is that the sound system is terrible, which doesn’t bode so well for them.
As Melbourne hardcore quartet Earth Caller walked out onstage, it became immediately unmistakable that the Stag is in oh so very desperate need of an audio overhaul. As for the band themselves, they’re nothing to scream from the rooftops about either. Bringing absolutely nothing special or even mildly original to the table, Earth Caller propelled through a mundane set consisting of remarkably unimaginative songs suffused with lackluster pseudo-rap verses and growled vocals that sounded better coming from guitarist Lachlan Monty than they do from vocalist Josh Collard, all inbetween a seemingly endless bombardment of Collard’s bootless clamours to try and get the crowd moving. ‘Degenerate’ was a standout from their setlist, but I suppose that isn’t saying much when it’s the only thing that stood out.
Thankfully able to clear the bitter taste left by Earth Caller, Sydney group Relentless were next up to the plate and delivered a high-octane set that had the Stag brimming with fervency within minutes. Aside from some occasional haphazard layering and the aforementioned atrocious mixing, this five-piece punk powerhouse were outstanding in their coarse, crass and callous thirty-minute performance. Kicking off their set on a strong note with Darkness, Relentless were exactly that, showing no remorse for our ears as they laid down a murderously engaging hardcore set, smashing out tunes from their upcoming LP and just generally blowing everyone away with a cold blooded barrage of barbarous drums and brutal riffs.
Before too long, Auckland blokes Antagonist A.D. took to the stage to show us how things are done with their rough and gritty brand of ear-piercing insanity. Not one second of their set was without a blasting sense of energy as the metalcore quintet churned out a long, but ceaselessly brilliant set of raw and ruthless tunes driven by Sam Crocker’s deliriously guttural screams, the impassioned vocalist making the absolute most of his time on stage and stopping the madness only briefly to speak out against an onslaught of fights that had broken out across the night (one of which leaving a white shirted man covered in blood). With the crowd explosive with enthusiasm and the band equally vigorous, it went without saying that Antagonist A.D. did an incredible job to build up the hype for Deez Nuts tonight.
Deez Nuts walked out to a roar of excited fanfare, vocalist JJ Peters failing to hold back his giddy smile as he smashes down beer. Drunk as he may’ve been, Peters never once missed his mark bellowing out the biting lyrics that define this four-piece band of hell raising misfits. For the first chunk of their set, Deez Nuts went an approach that saw their shortest, fastest loudest songs take centre stage for a seamless bombardment of hard-punk craziness that had the better half of this cluttered crowd well and truly out of breath before the fifteen minute mark. Their setlist tonight consisted of the very best of their very best, an assortment of obliterating bangers from their latest record Word Is Bond woven into an A-1 handful of classic Deez Nuts anthems; Your Mother Should Have Swallowed You and DTD were highlights showcased from the back catalogue, while What I Gotta Do served as a perfect representation of the new LP.
Though their recently released fourth album shows a more mature Deez Nuts (there’s a string of words that could not have made less sense!), their live shows are still as immature and insane as they’ve always been, and tonight was no different. Those of us who weren’t chanting along to each and every last word were losing their minds in the impressively sized and unsurprisingly unending mosh pit, soaking in the collaborative tenacity between Matt Rogers on guitar, Alex Salinger on drums and Sean Kennedy on bass. Admittedly so, Peters’ voice sounded a little shot throughout the night, so it worked in his favour that the bulk of Deez Nuts’ setlist is comprised almost entirely of lyrics that are made to be yelled along to.
At the end of the line, Deez Nuts did a fantastic job of proving why they’re the undefeated champions of Aussie punk, and The Bald Faced Stag staff did a fantastic job of not shutting down the show this time.