Live Review: The Rumjacks, Eightball Junkies, Stu Tyrrell

14 December 2015 | 1:31 pm | Alex Michael

"The band's 13 million+ view YouTube sensation was one of the clear highlights as band and audience alike bopped and jigged..."

The Rumjacks were their ever-impressive, ever-energetic selves Friday night at Marrickville Bowling Club: the perfect, age-appropriate venue for the kind of tunes that went down. The dancing versus sitting situation was perhaps the most interesting trend to watch, as some of the most impassioned fans seemed content to show support from the table so they didn't have to carry their beer in their hands like some sort of luddite.

Stu Tyrrell was a cut and dry acoustic ease-in for what would turn in to a sweaty mess of a night. "This song's about rooting," he'd say, before singing a song about rooting. Similarly, "This song's about a crappy pirate," was about a crappy pirate. The crowd was slow to arrive Friday night so Tyrrell was left with one intrigued four-year-old boy on the dancefloor to sing to; the child was content to dance and bop, but much of the lyrical content seemed to go over his head.

Eightball Junkies, in stark contrast, were fucking mental. Shirts were off and guitars were loud, distorted and chugging as lead singer Willis Wormwood's luscious ginger dread-locks danced in the wind of the guitar amplifier. Perhaps divisive isn't the right word — the majority of the crowd enjoyed themselves thoroughly — but there was certainly some keen to hang on the sidelines for the rock group's brand of screams and wails. All that rose to the occasion were greatly rewarded.

When The Rumjacks emerged there was the kind of drunken wash of tension relief usually associated with getting home from a long night and discovering you hadn't lost your keys. Punters were free to soak up the cheeky banter and contrasting flute arrangements of Frankie McLaughlin. Every song succeeded on some sort of post-rock-inspired combination of quiet-and-loud or call-and-response. An Irish Pub Song — the band's 13 million+ view YouTube sensation — was one of the clear highlights as band and audience alike bopped and jigged to its alternative, fuck-mainstream-culture fare.

The band could all but be described as a cult juggernaut; an extremely interesting cross section of the Sydney music scene — young and old — turned out and gave it their all to loud, jubilant folk-punk bangers. Marrickville Bowling Club has always embodied this alternative spirit and fans here were just as in awe of The Rumjacks as screaming teenagers were of Taylor Swift's stadium stint last week. Different strokes for different blokes and all that.

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