Live Review: mother and son, the bonniwells, mesa cosa

4 April 2012 | 2:19 pm | Madeleine O’Gorman

By nine o'clock the hordes of hipsters descend on the downstairs bar, packing out this buzzing Smith Street haunt. The upstairs band room stands in stark contrast with a candlelit, grungy decadence in dire need of shaking up. Thankfully, opening act Mesa Cosa do just that, whipping the now-multiplying crowd into a frenzy. The six-piece, garage-rock act howl manically and bounce around the stage, performing a sort of crazed, Mexican-rock show with a dark, bluesy vibe. They're refreshingly erratic and addictive, with the set ending all too quickly. Unfortunately, main support The Bonniwells pale in comparison. Each song is sharp and punchy yet, riddled with sound issues and a lack of banter, the band stand emotionless without so much as a smirk.

The now-packed room scream and whistle all sorts as Bodie, one-half of Sydney duo Mother & Son, climbs onto the stage. The drummer Matt sits in silence as Bodie opens with an epic guitar solo from Mosquito, piercing each note amid speckles of camera flashes. Crowd members shout “Yeow!” and stamp on the floor in excitement, a reaction that leads to a beaming Bodie humbly thanking the audience and the supports before saying, “We forgot the lyrics to this song, so we just rang Matt's girlfriend to get them,” to which he bangs out the loud Werewolves. Bodie's course vocal range never misses a note. In saying that, the absence of vocals on Mosquito, Dengue Fever and Surfswing doesn't detract from the set in the slightest. The jiving Dead Yellow Moon sends the crowd into rapturous stupor, with a moshpit now forming at the front of the stage. The spaghetti western-esque Hanging Tree sees the pokey moshpit momentarily turn into a springing cluster. After one verse of their hasty new song (called “unnamed”), they stop playing. Bodie remarks, “That's all we've written of that one!” drawing laughter from the crowd.

Their next song is spawned from a time on Smith Street, having run away to the echoes of a man yelling, “Fuck you dogs!” Jumping into the rowdy crowd, Bodie kills it with yet another solo, this time lying on the ground while everyone crowds around taking photos. Despite losing a guitar string, they mask the glitch in Johnny Boy, continuing to sound thunderous with just two instruments before finishing the set. “Man, those guys! Far out,” a sweaty punter is overheard saying. Couldn't have put it better myself.