Review & Photos – @bobbyreinphoto
Poison City legends, The Smith Street Band are back in town for a Throw Me in The River victory lap of Australia. Since its 2014 release, TSSB have galavanted: Australia, NZ, Europe and the US.
It’s just about time. The crowd are getting restless, they need their fix. The chants have started. I’m hearing a mix between a scurried “SMITHSTREETBAND” and “SMITHS, BEFORE DICKS!” (which I don’t quite understand but I’m fairly sure that’s what they’re saying). The curtains open and on walks the AUS pub rock legends. One of the benefits of photographing and reviewing the same show is hearing the deafening roar from the punters when the curtains open – earplugs are essential.
The night has begun. The Melbournian lads open up with an intimate, stripped back version of the Throw Me in the River album closer I Love Life. It’s not until the back half of the song where they turn it up to eleven and really get the show underway. Within moments of this, I’m dodging beat up, sweaty punks flying head first over the barricade for the trusty security to catch.
The bangers continue, but I’ve now shot my three songs and I head to the back of the room. This task isn’t as easy as it sounds as Max Watts is seriously sold out tonight! The remainder of the set is filled with crowd favourites from an array of the band’s discography. We hear the likes of: Ducks Fly Together, Surrender, Get High See No One, I Can’t Feel My Face and a heap more hits. It’s not until the back end of the set when frontman Wil Wagner’s bandmates abandon the stage and he gives the crowd a chance to catch their breath. Wagner plays My Little Sinking Ship – a beautiful acoustic ballad about his little sister from their debut record.
It seems to be an ongoing trend where bands are calling out the trouble makers in the crowds – which is absolutely great! Wagner singles out a few of the punters he’d noticed throwing fists, “You, fuck off! You, fuck off! You, JUST FUCK OFF! You clearly don’t understand why we do this and the last thing we’re going to do is let the dickheads win.” Whether it’s intentional or not, the band now seamlessly launch into Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams.
The Smith Street Band are appreciated for their honesty which is part of the reason they are received so well. Before their last song of the night Wagner states, “We’re going to play one last song, then come back and play two more. One of the songs is ours and the other is from a Brisbane artist, I think you’ll love. This song is about being hell depressed, it’s called Throw Me in the River”.
As promised, the band returns to the stage after a particularly short break with authentic gratitude for their fans. The band open their encore up with a stripped back cover of Violent Soho’s, In the Aisle. The crowd is enjoying it, but it’s hard to dance to. Before we know it, Sohies frontman Luke Boerdam joins the lads on stage strapped with a guitar and all of a sudden I’m seeing as many legs in the air as I am hands.
Boerdam leaves the stage, the crowd is riled up/10 and the boys inevitably break into fan favourite singalong Young Drunk to close out the night. After experiencing your first TSSB live show you are left wanting more and more. It’s a no-brainer as to why fans come back for more, I’m just looking forward to see which string of venues they sell out next.