FRONT ROW | BAD//DREEMS @ THE CORNER
Two years on from supporting Wolf Alice at the iconic venue, Bad//Dreems were back at The Corner Hotel on the back of their sophomore album Gutful with a sold out show to (Blundstone) boot. The night showed the best of the band, as well as highlighting the duality of context present in their material.
The night was opened with a long, jammy piece from Floyd Cox, setting the scene for psychedelic inspired binge. The tracks were hard to keep track of with the technicality of guitar work, visible through witnessing each guitarists fingers dancing along their fretboards, often lost in the muddle of bandroom speakers. It was a disappointing note, because what we could hear sounded excellent and lured those present just a little closer.
Long before even Floyd Cox started their set, a loyal clutch of fans were lingering at the stage waiting for The Creases. They may have been confused about which of their singles came out latest, with both Everybody Knows and recently released Is It Love earning the title, but they certainly know how to have a good time. With Jared Mahon and Joe Agius often moving across the stage as they played, it was a captivating performance. The teasing of new material was an exciting touch ahead of the August release of their debut album, and given the chattering of enthusiasm that followed the set, it is one that could be met with anticipation. It seemed that for many, The Creases were an unfamiliar act, but that didn’t hold those present back, with many getting a good shimmy on. Towards the end of the set, a small bunch started to get rowdy surrounded by a clearly less than impressed circle of fans, it was a sign of what was to come for the night. The Creases may be a very different band to Bad//Dreems, but it would be foolish to ignore how well they pulled off this slot.
The best feature of Bad//Dreems material is without a doubt the juxtopositon of the raw, pub rock sound, and the discussion of culture and Australian values within many of their tracks. They skip the cliché themes of partying hard to encourage listeners to think about their role in society, and their opinions on various matters. Seeing the band live however, highlights the emphasis on the sound, raising a serious question of which is more important when seeing a band, the context of their material, or the style of which is presented. With curtains drawn, a news report styled dialogue filled the room before the reveal of a band ready for action.
Next thing you know Bad//Dreems are whipping through their set. There was little stopping for conversation, as each track built up the energy. With every chorus played, the growing mosh pit stepped up a notch, throwing more than a few out of their comfort zone early on. Running from side of stage, members of The Creases were nipping over to pull people out, as lines of fans weaselled their way further to the back, all whilst yet another stage runner dived into the crowd. It was all fun and games, and matches the tones set by The Cure referencing Jeremy Irony or Dumb Ideas but was plays out of line with the themes found in their material. When stage runner received a playful push from frontman Ben Marwe only to fall onto a drum stand and wave it about, it felt ironically at odds with the criticism of hyper-masculine culture discussed in Bogan Pride, the very track of which it occurred. That’s not to say that Bad//Dreems are not a band to get rowdy to, but it has the potential to get messy.
Marwe switching to an acoustic guitar for 1000 Miles Away dialled down the energy a bit, and the addition of Miles Wilson’s dad taking on saxophone duties earned a chant before a quite respect during his featured tracks. Moments like this broke the set up nicely, and achieved the dynamic change in energy that defines Bad//Dreems recorded material. Of course, as Marwe switched out his guitar for a stubby and untethered microphone, things stepped up. He prowled the stage, delivering each line powerfully as the floor in front of him turned into a scrappy heap of bodies, security unable to hold them back. It was this model of Bad//Dreems that had them at their prime, with complete control of the audience in a casual yet impressive manner. The band don’t dress to impress, rather they create a sense of earned respect in their attitude and performance. You can imagine having a beer with each of them at the pub, but once they are on stage together, they become a formidable team to watch.
The band whipped through the bulk of the key content from both Dogs at Bay and Gutful before leaving the stage. It was apparent that an encore would come, but a crowd member commandeering a microphone to start the chant of “one more song” ensured that it was a more impressive effort than usual. They came out to a stage overflowing with fans, who were kicked off by Marwe after an extensive jam. The ending was of course title track to both their sophomore, and the tour, Gutful which had everyone in the room chanting about the band’s displeasure in society both across Australia and the wider world. It was an apt end for the band, and you couldn’t see an unhappy face in the room. At times, the energy may have thrown off those who enjoy the act more for their discussion points, but that is one of the realities of live music, seeing how things play out with an actual crowd.
Photography by Michellefish
Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast