Live Review: Kisschasy, Luca Brasi, Beth Lucas

2 November 2015 | 10:45 am | Mitch Knox

"The band have had 10 years with these songs, so it's no surprise that they pull off a heartfelt showing that barely puts a foot wrong."

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Tonight marks the realisation of a decade-long dream for local acoustic emo-pop songstress Beth Lucas. As a budding musician 10 years ago, she sent a demo to a then-just-hitting-their-prime Kisschasy, and told them she'd love to play with them someday, she tells us. It's bittersweet, then, that she'd get to do so at last on their final tour. And if there's a word that best describes tonight, it's "bittersweet" — an evening that sees a crowd of mostly late twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings come together to farewell a band that, for the majority of those in attendance, provided the partial soundtrack to some of their best years.

Certainly, Lucas makes an occasion of it; she starts out joined by husband Elliott on guitar for the first three songs while she belts out heartfelt, on-point vocals, culminating with love song State Lines and a sweet moment where she asks people who are "here with someone you love" to hold hands (aww, nice). She plays it solo from here, strumming her way through an enjoyable set of acoustic-based 'diary'-style heart-on-sleeve songs of the kind you'd find at about track eight or nine on most early-2000s emo-pop-punk albums, including a Neck Deep cover and Situations, the first single from her upcoming EP. All up, though, Lucas puts on an endearing, commendable performance, especially having to contend with the remarkably audible audience chatter.

The chatter dwindles to a whisper as the lights dim to herald Luca Brasi's arrival, the band emerging on stage to the strains of Chumbawumba's Tubthumping over the PA, whipping the audience into an instantly energised mass as they launch into their set. The Tassie punks have more than earned their reputation as one of the tightest, most energetic live bands on the circuit, their lilting, tumbling lead guitar lines, stop-start flourishes and technical wanderings all held together on a loose — though controlled — leash all conspire to imbue their performance with an inescapable aura of infectious glee. 

This is a band who clearly love what they do, and it pays off early in the form of old favourite Like A Charm, demonstrating as well as any of their other songs that drummer Danny Flood is the meticulous glue keeping it all together, alternating between hold-the-fort driving punk-rock beats and nuanced, fill-happy technicality. It's a set full of high points — the anthemic Theme Song From HQ marks a particular standout, as does the angular, artful Benthos — and, to be honest, if this evening didn't have a specific reason for being in tonight's headliners, Luca Brasi would have absolutely stolen the show in every regard, credibly delivering an unassailable showing of intelligent, well-executed melodic punk that leaves the crowd clamouring for more.

It's fortunate for Kisschasy, then, that everyone here is now on tenterhooks for this, the band's final show in Brisbane and one of their last ever as part of their farewell United Paper People tour. The Melburnian mainstays stride out on-stage to The Rembrandts' I'll Be There For You, aka the theme from Friends (yes, pretty much the whole audience does the four-clap), and proceed to make their way through their debut album in order from opener and one of the band's first hit singles, Do-Do's & Woah-Oh's — cue a sea of adults reverting to their 2005 selves, singing along and screeching at the mere notion of the song's opening riff — into With Friends Like You Who Needs Friends? before frontman Darren Cordeux goes solo-acoustic mode for the introspective Morning, picking up the pace again with the full-band, driven This Bed... You've heard the album, and the band have had 10 years with these songs, so it's no surprise that they pull off a heartfelt showing that barely puts a foot wrong.

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The band wrap the album with additional acoustic coda piece Black Dress, coming out for a weakly masked "totally unplanned" seven-song encore that kicks off with Dinosaur and includes The Perfect Way To Meet and Strings & Drums before Cordeux puts the vote to the audience, who, despite the option of early track Darkside, choose Resolution Wednesday — as the band apparently expected, given the song is printed on their set list at the sound desk alongside six other "surprise" encore picks — with Kisschasy making their final marks with an emotional Opinions Won't Keep You Warm At Night. Nostalgia hangs heavy in the air across the entire performance; it's almost a pity they're calling it a day, because - certainly tonight - they've proven they're in close to the sharpest live form they've ever managed... But then, what better way to ensure you go out with not a whimper, but a resounding bang? From the bottom of our hearts, then and now — thanks for everything, Kisschasy.