"'I've been getting nude for years,' Macqueen objects; he's now older and wiser (and 'embarrassed by his little dick', Friend suggests)."
Flanked by glittering streamers and a faux-brick backdrop that's hand-painted with starbursts and lighting bolts, the stage resembles a 21st birthday party thrown in someone's garage. It suits the prevailing mood of boozy revelry — why shouldn't it be a party, after all? This is our last opportunity to see Newcastle's The Gooch Palms, lately of LA, before they return to the US to record a new album.
The show opens with all-female, pop-punk five-piece Lazertits, whose songs live up to the tongue-in-cheek girl-power theme their name evokes. Their set is fun and punchy, from the opening song about PMS to the closer with its trenchant hook, "She's not bossy/She's your fucking boss".
ScotDrakula kick the party up a gear with their high-energy set. They are one of those bands that manages to be at once fresh and familiar; reminiscent — from one moment to the next — of anyone from AC/DC to Spiderbait, but always with an energy and persona that is all their own.
In the space of a few short years, The Gooch Palms have turned affectionate bogan-chic parody into an art form. Tonight, vocalist-guitarist Leroy Macqueen is sporting his trademark ugly mullet and uglier board shorts, while drummer-vocalist Kat Friend has opted for a Gene Simmons T-shirt; both are wearing matching Adidas jackets. They don't waste any time before stirring the crowd into a frenzy with their consciously lo-fi, Ramonesy bluster. Only three songs in, 20-or-so devotees juggling pints clamber onto the stage to slow-dance to You — The Gooch Palms' show is no time to be shy, after all; Macqueen, dripping sweat and saliva, is testament to that. He is famous for getting naked and the duo is barely a quarter of the way through their set before (men in) the audience cries out, "Get your kit off!"
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"I've been getting nude for years," Macqueen objects; he's now older and wiser (and "embarrassed by his little dick", Friend suggests). Still, due to overwhelming demand, 'Little Leroy' does make a brief appearance. "But it's the last time," Macqueen insists. (It's not.)
A few new songs get the obligatory road test, the highlight of which is a rowdy song about beer and KISS ("the greatest band to ever grace us with music", according to Macqueen). But the back catalogue gets a solid, sweaty workout, too, from anti-ballad Don't Cry, with its Frankie Valli falsetto, to the boisterous one-two punch Novo's and Hunter Street Mall (a song about loving to hate their hometown). Also Houston We Have A Problem, from back in 2012; "We were going to call it 'Whitney Houston We Have A Problem', but then she died," jokes Friend, who gets all the best lines. All in all, it's the most fun you could have outside of a party in a garage.