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Live Review: Puta Madre Brothers, The Bonniwells

14 August 2012 | 9:32 am | Bryget Chrisfield

A Puta Madre Brothers Facebook post advises, “People who dress up as us tonight get in for free. Anybody who brings a donkey shaped piñata gets in for half price.” There are a few gringo moustaches in the house, but this does not a Puta Madre Brothers look-alike make. There's also a dude resembling Hagrid. He's sporting an Essendon footy scarf and propping up a pillar, catching some zeds. And then there's the smell of sweat and good times that suggests this venue went off last night and hasn't been aired since – peuwsah!

Three dudes onstage sporting pyjamas pull our focus. They're not bad at all and The Frowning Clouds frontman Zak Olsen is behind the drumkit smashing out beats. Alternate singers offer pleasing variety and there's a bit of self-stimulating of the larynx going on to achieve that perfect vibrato. This must be The Bonniwells! They're fairly rough and ready, but passionate players all.

As the kick drums are set up in a row onstage for our three one-man bands, each bass drum head advertises a word from the band's name: Puta Madre Brothers. Given the trio's shoddy-chic shtick, it's surprising they manage to set these up in the correct order so that we can read their moniker, which roughly translates to “Whore Mother” Brothers. The “Brothers” head looks like it's been painted by a kindergarten kid, sketched shakily in red pencil initially before being painted over, slapdash in black. From the moment they stride out onstage, looking like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards in their pimped-out Spanish military uniforms and with mud/makeup smeared strategically across their dials, all sleeping stops and 'Hagrid' is on his feet! Two trumpeters join the threesome onstage for added mariachi-fuelled goodness and a later conversation with the brass duo reveals their AJ Macaroni-given name: Tontoplous Trompettas (aka Arseholes Trumpets). Tontoplous Trompettas don matching festive jackets with bright, primary coloured fringing tacked on – olé! 

There's something so irresistible about cymbals being belted by guitar necks. Not long into the set, Puta Madre Brothers play Blues Dodo, a cover of CW Stoneking's Dodo Blues that they hilariously claim to have made famous for him. The Cherry crowd is limbs akimbo even though it's fairly difficult to dance to some of these almost flamenco-style rhythms (see: La Mierda). Putananny Twist calls to mind The Shadows and we wish for some seated guitarography and unison head moves. You can either dance like a loon or pay attention to lyrics that are likely to be Google-translated from Spanglish into indecipherable Spanish.

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The Brothers take it down a notch and demonstrate some expert whistling throughout standout track The Young Horse, which belongs on the soundtrack to a Spaghetti Western. Apparently it's advisable to bring a towel if you intend to whistle your best, since the activity is difficult with sweat running down your lips (or so we are told). And how the hell can such sounds be produced by stiking your cheeks and making your face look like a cat's bum? The stage left Brother is forced to pull his kick drum in towards him after each song because there's only two sand bags available, both of which are being utilised by his bandmates.

A punter passes out and must be carried from the venue, which surely amounts to bonus gig mayhem points. A spectacular-looking, stripey, nautical-themed bra somehow appears onstage. Not to mention that ole mate Hagrid's now busting moves with enraptured expression. A gig as loose as the venue we occupy.         

Although tonight was billed as the outfit's “final and only Australian show for 2012”, all are invited to their next show at the Tote on Friday 24 August supporting Bob Log III. Count us in, drongo gringos!