Live Review: The Bennies, Off With Their Heads, Hightime, Young Offenders

6 April 2016 | 10:59 am | Will Oakeshott

"The Bennies come across as some of the most authentic and fantastic people in punk music right now."

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With not one iota of detriment directed at Adelaide's indie-punk Britpop trio Young Offenders, they were probably the 'safest' band to perform at this prestigious event. Not because of their rather early timeslot, or the absolute charm and appeal of vocalist/guitarist Kyle Landman —  the majority of this safeness came from their infectious Arctic Monkeys-meets-The Living End-meets Pulp recipe, which was completely engaging and vivacious. The trio remained in high spirits that infected the smallish-but-captivated crowd. I'm Not Coming Back and Talk Of The Town were victories. 

It was time to up the ante and this honour was placed in the reliable hands of local reggae-hardcore-punks Hightime. Their magnetism was instantly sensed by the audience as they crowded the barrier near the stage and the quartet launched into Splitside like a tiger onto a wild buffalo. Songstress Nina McCann was pitch perfect switching effortlessly from reggae raps to aggressive melodies to screaming vigour, all the while bounding excitedly around the stage like a kid on Christmas morning. Loan Shark was a nice calm before the storm of Beer Garden during which guitarist Reuben Davis gleefully incited a circle pit. But one certainly cannot forget the punchy basslines of Jay Illman and Dave McCann's upstanding, versatile drumming. The four-piece really are quite the package and if they had to ever sadly be renamed, Funtime would certainly be more than befitting. Their track Tear Us Apart is the friendship anthem of the genre, exposing the band's love for each other and their fans, and obviously pulled Adelaide's heartstrings on the night. 

The only international tourists on this bill, Minneapolis' Off With Their Heads, had a challenge set before them following the prior act but, as vocalist/guitarist Ryan Young stated early into their show: "It doesn't matter how it is done, all that matters is if you have fun doing it." Their performance equated to a brash, hungover, technically faulted, error-filled display of emotional punk-rock that was unbelievably entertaining, hilarious and entrancing. I Hope You Know, Focus On Your Own Family, Start Walking, Die Today, S.O.S., I Will Follow You, Keep Falling Down, Trying To Breathe, Nightlife and Clear The Air warmed Uni Bar's attendees' souls even if there were more mistakes present than organic flow with the tracks on display. Overall this was engaging, comical and honestly amusing entertainment capped off beautifully by the Hot Water Music-meets-Against Me! influences.

Suddenly it became very difficult to move in the famed Uni Bar and as Young MC's Bust A Move blared through the speakers four young Victorian men made their way onto the stage to wreak havoc. Now the party had truly started. Here was Adelaide's favourite weed-driven, reggae-prog-rock-psychadelic-punk outfit The Bennies and they were here to really celebrate! Some parts TISM, some parts Regurgitator and some parts The Aquabats —  it's very peculiar but equally as incredible. Detroit Rock Ciggies, Livin' Sleazy (With The Big Parissi), Heavy Disco, My Bike, Anywhere You Wanna Go, Corruption and Knights Forever incited a riot plain and simple. Frontman and keyboardist Anty Horgan tickles a crowd to absolute hysteria even under the influence of every mind-altering substance available to him. The four-piece are unbelievably high-energy in their performance and it is no surprise that these crazed Mary Jane enthusiasts are joining the likes of Violent Soho and Dune Rats in garnering national admiration. It may seem like a gimmick, but this is far from the case; The Bennies come across as some of the most authentic and fantastic people in punk music right now, their humbleness and appreciation of South Australia repeatedly announced. And the love works both ways. 

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