"It's always the place to be when Constant Mongrel rear their heads up for a show."
"At the Copa Copacabana" (!) as part of Leaps And Bounds, this famous by name/reputation juke joint opens its doors on a sunny (yet bloody windy) Sunday afternoon for more than a few bands that wouldn't be welcome on salsa night. Awkwardly packed with people, the room is in full gear as Whipper kick off a bit behind schedule and it's balls-out punk rawk, offering more of a wake-up shot than the low price (yet with slightly suspicious content) Bloody Marys. Loose Tooth follow and, in this setting, are quite diverse in their setlist offering a good balance between their native punk/garage rock and melodic, rhythmic songwriting.
A quick dip into the record fair and a fight against the crowd to snag the 'Goodfellas' table, Gabriella Cohen on paper is debatably the softest thing on the bill. Beginning her set solo, with a few sound issues and an inattentive audience the set doesn't really 'begin' until she is joined by her full band and the sound/performance becomes more fleshed out. It has its moments, Cohen and her band are a joy to watch, but on this beefy bill they fail to leave as prominent a mark as others.
There is half a carton of beer next to the drum kit (that has seen better days). In lieu of a keyboard stand, a couple of cartons of beer house a synthesiser at the front of stage. Once Constant Mongrel start playing, shit doesn't work properly and it's deafeningly loud. It's always the place to be when Constant Mongrel rear their heads up for a show. The band looks quite healthy members-wise these days. Their sound can be boiled down to all members playing around a scratchy, authoritative, Australiana-tinged punk riff as assorted vocalists indecipherably yell into a microphone while sax is jammed over the top. Yes, it is as good as it sounds and a highlight set.
Under the ugly glow of aged fluorescent lights on the 'bana's dancefloor, Habits once again prove they're the shit in Melbourne. They're their usual dark, bangin' selves and the unavoidable late-night electronica literally pushes the (also aged) 'bana PA to the point of distortion (largely as a result of the duo's soul-swallowing low end). Performance-wise, they clearly love their time on this stage, but musically it would be nice to see less reliance on pre-programmed loops and a bit more live instrumentation. The band also have become quite comfortable in their set and it really would be nice to see them vary up things for fans. But it is a winning formula and Habits definitely bring the sex appeal back to Copacabana.
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Rounding out the day, Tyrannamen lose a few audience members to the promise of a warm bar heater and internet streaming as a result of a long day. But they're simply on fire and deserving of the headline slot of the day. The band's garage/classic punk rock sound has become so refined that it's just addictive. They're as much rooted in pop as anything and short, sharp banger I Can't Read - a prime example of the band's playfulness - sees stage invaders/crowdsurfers having a ball. Even after the consuming volume of Habits, Tyrannamen essentially just fucking go for it and take whoever wants to come with them. Upon conclusion, and with a quick shuffle out by a security, all's done and dusted. And what an afternoon!