"Flintoff's energy was contagious. She jumped from one side of the stage to the other, diving into the mosh and hugging fans before running back to her microphone."
Badlands in Perth turned two years old over the weekend. Notorious for its gig space and as a place for punters to catch up on local talent, the celebrations blew up with a line-up featuring FLOSSY, Pat Chow and BOAT SHOW, just to name a few. The vibes were genuine — every act returned massive thanks to Tim and Mark, the owners of the venue. In many cases it felt like a homecoming reunion and the bands were a perfect fit — each act flowing into and complementing each other with the seamless, casual intimacy this tight-knit venue provides.
With Pat Chow part of the original line-up on Badland's official opening night, FLOSSY playing again after their performance at the first birthday last year and BOAT SHOW teasing new, never-before-heard material, it was a birthday celebration that had like-minded music lovers leaving inspired and everyone feeling appreciative of the impact Badlands has provided for the up-and-coming in Perth's music scene.
Each act demanded the attention of all four corners, with FLOSSY showing off singles including I Want You and exploring the evolution of rock, taking influences from classics like Spiderbait and updating them with a modern blast of hard-hitting, grungy airiness. They were performing as much for themselves as they were for the crowd, guitarist Tom Wilson poking his tongue out at drummer Steve D'Angelo mid-set as the room's energy grew.
Pat Chow tore through their set with vocalist Ben Protasiewicz's gritty tones and their onstage charisma on display. Raw and punk-inspired, they provided a truly electrifying performance. The on and off stage banter was real too, with Pat Chow's guitarist Ashby Ranson poking fun at Protasiewicz's hair — "Your blue hair looks so fluoro under these lights, you're a highlighter!"
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BOAT SHOW had an excited fan yell, "One more song!" after literally every song, with lead singer Ali Flintoff yelling back, "Shut the fuck up!" before jumping straight into the next song each time. They have come a long way since their band member shuffle, which ultimately resulted in a fresh but familiar sound — lifting the musical spirit and bringing back vibes of the sobering but equally intoxicating sound that BOAT SHOW are known for. Kaitlin Keegan and Ben McDonald butted guitars, and Flintoff's energy was contagious. She jumped from one side of the stage to the other, diving into the mosh and hugging fans before running back to her microphone on time to finish her last vocal screech.
The music scene in Perth is constantly changing, with genres borrowing from each other and bands sharpening their skills. Badlands' second birthday was an entertaining section of that tapestry that left us excited for what Perth offers next.