Band of skulls Guitarist Russel Marsden at Sydney's Hi Fi

Band of Skulls w/ Apes @ The Hi Fi Sydney 20th June, 2014


Southampton 3-piece Band of Skulls returned to Australian shores for a third time to smash out a high energy rock n roll set for a packed out Hi Fi in Sydney on Friday night.


Ballarat is without any shadow of a doubt one of Australia’s most prolific band factories. Bands like Hunting Grounds, Neon Love and Yacht Club DJ’s all hail from this indie hub in regional Victoria, and young 4 piece APES have only strengthened the home-town roster.  Frontman Ben Dowd possesses a devilish howl that has been plucked straight from the vocal artillery of The Hives’ Pelle Almqvist, a weapon that quickly gained the attention of the rapidly growing Hi Fi crowd. Hurtling through a set of some pretty kick ass rock tunes, APES left a pretty strong indication that theirs is a name you will be seeing a lot of this year.


This is the third time I have seen Band of Skulls live in Australia and to be completely honest, the experience hasn’t changed one bit. A packed house of leather jackets and ‘too cool for school’ facial expressions greets the Southampton trio as they meekly wander on stage and launch into their latest lead single ‘Asleep at the Wheel’. As guitarist/vocalist Russel Marsden makes his way to the front of the stage and raises his guitar in salute to the  tightly bunched crowd, it all kicks off and people ditch the attitudes in favour of a foot stomping good time.

In just over an hour and a half, Band of Skulls relentlessly charge through 20 of their biggest hits from across their triad of studio albums, all powered by the animalistic Matt Hayward on drums and the perilously good vocal harmonies between Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson. Band of Skulls are everything a good rock n roll band should be, leaving the entire crowd dripping with sweat and out of breath. Band of Skulls throw no curve balls in their performances, but boy do they always deliver.


When your set is full of bangers, sometimes the most effective songs are the ‘slow-burners’. Cold Fame is arguably the strongest song in  an album full of strong songs,  and just about tore the god damn roof off as it reached it’s rousing conclusion.


Band of Skulls do the rock n roll thing really damn well. It is hard to find a fault in their performance, and their ‘humble as pie’ response to the adoring fans endears them even more. Whilst the set offered no surprises, there are 500+ happy punters out there right now who couldn’t care less.


“When we started out, we wanted to make music that sounded like 4 bands-Band of Skulls are one of those bands”APES got the opportunity to support their heroes on Friday night, and were pretty stoked about the whole thing.



Alistair is the founder of Bear Family. Alistair resides in Melbourne and can be found wandering the streets searching for bargains and peppermint tea. Come and say Hi, he's nice.

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