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Live Review: The Casualties, Big D & The Kids Table, Heartsounds, Chris Duke & The Royals

16 May 2014 | 9:14 am | Laura Chan

"Double decade veterans The Casualties put on an exemplary show"

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Chris Duke & The Royals made for a jolly good start to this Hits & Pits sideshow at the refurbished Newtown Social Club, which was still reeking of fresh paint. Punctual punters were treated to the sextet's contagious, full-bodied blend of ska and punk, drawing upon vocal harmonies, heavy use of horns and even a Lion King cover.
Despite Ben Murray feeling “seven daggers in my throat”, Heartsounds' 40 minutes went off without a hitch. The wry stage banter between him and Laura Nichol played off each other the way their dual vocals did on tracks like A Total Separation Of Self and Drifter, providing a melodic touch to their contemporary take on skate punk.
David McWane claimed he's “not a very good hype man” but there's really no need to be when one starts a party complete with skanking pits the way Big D & The Kids Table do. Opening up proceedings with up-tempo bangers, Stepping Out and Shit Tattoos, Big D brought a deliriously high energy set to the small stage. Voices were raised to My Girlfriend's On Drugs and the brash cynicism of LAX, before classics like Little Bitch and Noise Complaint closed on a high. The dancing never stopped.
Double decade veterans The Casualties put on an exemplary show, adding some much-needed mayhem through an open invite to “join us on stage, use our microphones”, ensuing in sheer chaos for Unknown Soldier. The New Yorkers offered free merch, a date with Jake Kolatis and tonight's pay to the last “chicken fight” participant left standing after pushing rivals atop another's shoulders, but alas, no victor emerged. Tribute in the form of a Made In NYC (Ramones Style) was paid to The Ramones, “the band that got us into this music in the first place”, while a wall of death and old favourites, Ugly Bastards and a rousing rendition of We Are All We Have wrapped up the vicious, encore-less performance.