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Live Review: The Pretty Littles, Neighbourhood Youth

3 April 2018 | 10:59 am | Bree Chapman

"By this point in the set there has been more than one night's fair share of eager fans jumping from the stage and into the waiting arms of the crowd."

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Any Thursday that feels like a Friday is a good one and this one is made even better as we shuffle single-file into Howler’s bandroom behind eager and buzzing punters.

As Neighbourhood Youth take the stage suddenly the sold-out venue feels just like a house party and, thanks to the band’s token '90s punk-pop style, there is no shortage of dude-ish bopping and swaying. As is often the case in Brunswick, it’s an intrinsically ‘no fucks given’ environment - which might have something to do with the amount of beer consumed - and the four Melbourne locals do a great job of facilitating the vibe. The intimate set is over in a puff of long hair and angsty lyrics and then the crowd shuffles in one giant blob from the stage back towards the bar at an impressive speed.

By the time The Pretty Littles saunter onto the stage we are well and truly warmed up and ready to go. From the raw first track, Soda Pop - a true Australian rock banger - it feels like a step back in time. There isn't a phone in sight and the supremely chilled-out crowd seem to be lapping up every second of their genuine simplicity. By the next song, Sleeping In Water, there is a serious mosh circle in its beginning stages and swirling in among what seems like pure joy and euphoria, spilt beers are the furthest thing from everyone's mind. Neither the band nor the crowd offer reprieve from the highly intense energy and while it is a shame to see some punters taking refuge out of the mosh, there doesn't seem to be any resentment or frustration. Angry punk never sounded so sultry or smooth as on Tall Man, which we all just kind of sink into. By this point in the set there has been more than one night's fair share of eager fans jumping from the stage and into the waiting arms of the crowd and by the fourth time, the trick is getting old.

The intensity of the night hits tipping point with a technical fault; diagnosis is a broken drum, we think. Despite closing out Don Dale without a drum they do it with a crowd singalong and it's a pretty special moment. There's no room anymore for anyone who isn't dancing and after an hour of being purely lost in the moment, we're shouting for "one more song", which they deliver. Neighbourhood Youth join the boys on stage and then all that's left of the night is tipped over mic stands, plastic pot glasses all over the floor and happy, albeit sweaty, punters filing back out into the bar.

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