Live Review: Unwritten Law, Grenadiers, The Lizards

9 December 2015 | 1:32 pm | Will Oakeshott

"The songs represented Unwritten Law's 'best of' — but it wasn't the best of Russo."

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Adelaide skate-punk surf-rats The Lizards were called upon to bring their SoCal-inspired punk to the unfortunately small crowd, but the minute numbers did not dampen the trio's spirits at all. They brought incredible intensity to a sound they clearly adore, channelling Aussie legends like Hard-Ons, The Meanies and Frenzal Rhomb, but adding the surf/skate adrenaline rush of Pennywise, The Vandals and early Bad Religion. Sure, it limits the sound to a degree but The Lizards do it better than many imitators out there.

How does one start with Grenadiers? Within seconds of Jesse Coulter and his merry men coming on stage, the crowd was instantaneously lost in hard rock and punk bliss. Factotum = stupidly fantastic; one would hope the band remembers it better than the crowd. What followed was Good Advice, Wishbone, Nothing On, Take Forever, Bad Hand, Old Uncle Scratch, Summer's End (easily their best song), and an amazing cover of Black Flag's Wasted; the crowd was lost in the chaos. Australia, be ready for these guys because they will triumph. Also, please recognise a bass player like Phil Meakin; that magnetism is undeniable.

The challenge was set — could there be more than one rock star for the night? Unfortunately Unwritten Law's Scott Russo took the 'star' part too far. Even '90s punk kids who considered Teenage Suicide their personal anthem might not have been able to stand it. This performance was better than Russo's effort at the Hits & Pits mini-fest, but when everyone knows the words better than the songwriter himself, it's problematic. The songs represented Unwritten Law's 'best of' — but it wasn't the best of Russo. The acoustic rendition of Harmonic was disgraceful and Here's To The Mourning was unfortunately apt.

There were, thankfully, a few redeeming features in the set. California Sky garnered adoration. Seein' Red had an army behind it. Truth be told, Cailin was just beautiful. Russo's genuine love for Australia, even Adelaide, was undeniable. Lonesome began promisingly, but lost momentum. Unwritten Law closed with Grinspoon's More Than You Are and though it won the audience over, you'd probably have been better off going to a Grenadiers headline show.

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