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Live Review: The Smith Street Band, Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Sidekicks, Lucy Wilson

23 September 2015 | 11:56 am | Mark Beresford

"The thought that Tony Abbott is now somewhere miserable and unemployed makes me so fucking happy."

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While the bar lines are crammed, Lucy Wilson holds the stage on her own. Typically aided by her bandmates in The Sugarcanes, Wilson takes tracks from her Full To The Brim EP and sways the crowd. She alerts the crowd to her illness and sore throat from weeks on the road but it matters little as she stuns watchers with spine tingling renditions of Misinterpreted Company and Wake Up Alone. If her jaw-dropping performance of title track Full To The Brim is anything to go by, considering the fact she's under the weather, we'd welcome her back to our Western shores anytime. An early highlight of the night. 

Up afterwards, Ohio's The Sidekicks never really get their momentum going. Perhaps it's the awkward changeover from acoustic ballads to pop-punk sets but even with solid showings of Deer and Daisy, and a purple-lit stage for a well-played cover of Kiss, the group's energy doesn't connect with the punters and leaves the 40-minute set feeling rather flat.

Conversely, Andrew Jackson Jihad may be introducing themselves to many people in the room, but they make new fans quickly. Vocalist Sean Bonnette merges geek tales with social activism and rolls it into a college rock style that bounces with energy and catchy melody. Brave As A Noun, Children Of God, People II: The Reckoning and crowd favourite Big Bird showcase a band who is having the time of their lives on tour and appreciate the chance to play on the other side of the globe.

After Andrew Jackson Jihad leave the stage, it doesn't take long for The Smith Street Band to launch into It's Alright, I Understand. The band have spent years now constantly on the road, and that experience paired with a solid catalogue of tracks has allowed them to fine-tune their shows to the state of being explosively energetic. They do suffer slightly from a muddy mix though, and as they push on into Surrender, it's easy to spot the constant stream of bodies over the barriers agitating Wil Wagner and bandmates to the point where he rightly calls out multiple people for dickhead behaviour. Wipe That Shit Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face takes on new gusto with recent events, and as Wagner states himself, "The thought that Tony Abbott is now somewhere miserable and unemployed makes me so fucking happy." Skipping over typical banter, the Melbournites cram their set with Sunshine & Technology, Ducks Fly Together, Sigourney Weaver and Something I Can Hold In My Hands. Before a heaving crowd and a scorching room, the poignant I Scare Myself Sometimes featuring a reappearance from Lucy Wilson is impressive in its ability to ease the beast before a blistering Young Drunk takes the crowd into the night.

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