In the Flesh! The Smith Street Band @ The Tivoli


Review – Georgia Corpe
Pics – Bobby Rein

Australia’s favourite alt-rock, pub-rock band, second to Cold Chisel, of course, The Smith Street Band are hitting the road yet again and are bringing Californian emo-champs Joyce Manor along for the fun. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of TSSB’s music, you cannot fault their relentless efforts to get international bands to AUS who probably wouldn’t come over otherwise. After tagging along with The Smithies back in 2013, Joyce Manor return off the back of their fourth studio record, Cody, released at the end of last year through Epitaph, and we couldn’t be more excited.


The most exciting things about seeing Joyce Manor live – the beauty of their 2 minute songs means we will most likely hear a colourful array of the bands back-catalogue. The Californians power into their collection of pop-punk-emo hits, including Fake I.D., Heart Tattoo, Schley and Beach Community. Complete with classic occa Aussie crowd banter, including 75% of the crowd’s persistent attempts to bait performers to chuck a shoey, the fellas manage to dodge these requests and close out with Constant Headache, leaving us all feeling pretty shit about ourselves. Amazing!   


As a huge TSSB curtain goes up, the lighting crew bust out their equipment and the drumming platform is lifted, it comes to our immediate attention that the difference between tonight’s TSSB show and last years will be the production value. The curtain drops and Melbourne’s loveable sweethearts open up with Suffer, from their fourth studio LP, More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me. It’s also difficult to miss the addition of an extra guitarist and keyboardist to TSSB’s backline, not to mention the addition of their complimentary female vocals to Wil Wagner’s husky, cigarette-smoke-manufactured tones.

TSSB goes on to inspire awe in their young crowd, playing an array of songs influenced by a lifetime of Wagner’s mental health issues, strained relationships and the desire to love, building up to classic TSSB sing-a-long lines, such as Song for You, Ducks Fly Together, and Young Drunk. The six-piece smash out their set with unprecedented enthusiasm, jumping across the stage, smiling and laughing between choruses.

All-in-all, TSSB successfully establish themselves as a proper live band, with like, banners and lights and stuff, taking it up about ten notches on this tour to their fans delight. A real treat for those who have already seen this band live a trillion times before and some validation for new fans with already high expectations.

Bobby Rein

Bobby is one of Bear Family's earliest family members. He has a sweet beard and likes to take photos, sing songs and brew the occasional beer. If you see him at a show, give him a cuddle.

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