Live Review: RVG, Terrible Truths, Street Hassle

23 October 2017 | 1:18 pm | Ellen Hewitt

"Seeing RVG live it's obvious they're bound for bigger things."

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Howler is jam-packed with eager fans, waiting patiently for the first act to appear on stage.

Street Hassle, a Melbourne four-piece who we can probably safely assume are named after the Lou Reed album, play a ripping set of tunes that includes a cover of Madonna's Beautiful Stranger. Terrible Truths are next up, with some punchy, boppy riffs that are a little reminiscent of a retro video game and sharp, dynamic vocals. They get the hordes moving and shaking, preparing them for the main event with their punk attitude.

When A Quality Of Mercy was first released, RVG played to a packed crowd at The Tote back in March and we dripped with more sweat than we previously thought was humanly possible even in the middle of a harsh Melbourne summer. Although the album had barely been out a few days, most of the roaring crowd knew every lyric to the post-punk bangers that RVG delivered expertly. It's no surprise then that the larger capacity Howler is chosen as the venue to relaunch the album and filling the venue proves not to be an issue.

RVG emerge to thunderous applause, amid some moody smoke and bright, piercing lights. Fronting the band, Romy Vager - who is never much for stage banter - launches into the opening song with intense energy. The first half the set is filled with energetic, danceable tunes that inspire some serious beer glass-raising cheers. They even do a faster, more upbeat version of the title track, A Quality Of Mercy, without losing the song's original integrity. Vager uses everything when she performs. Aided by her candid lyrics and skilful songwriting, she is a truly captivating band leader. As the band begin to play their single, That's All, we witness something truly electrifying. As one of the slower, more emotional tracks on the album, it's a cathartic delight to watch Vager bare her soul. Vager is backed up by some indisputably great musicians including Reuben Bloxham on guitar, Marc Nolte on drums and Angus Bell on bass, who all perform exceedingly well at tonight's show. It's obvious this band has been reenergised by their new management, the release of their first video clip and this opportunity to relaunch their record.

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Some final standouts from a terrific gig, from an always-terrific band, would have to be the new material they have been working on. Some of the simplest and most compelling lyrics of the night are delivered through these new tracks, teasing us with the possibility of forthcoming releases. Seeing RVG live, it's obvious they're bound for bigger things and soon they will be jetting off to South By Southwest to share their insurmountable talent with the rest of the world.