BOAT SHOW @ Rosemount Hotel gets 8/10

BOAT SHOW Unbelievable album launch @ Rosemount Hotel
w/ Foam, Good Morning, Debbie Downers, Muscle Magic
Friday, January 12, 2018

8/10

No Perth band came from nowhere to dominate 2017 like BOAT SHOW. Led by Dream Rimmy frontwoman Ali Flintoff, their debut album Groundbreaking Masterpiece was a killer feminist punk record, and to prove it was no fluke they’re back less than 12 months later with another winner in follow up album Unbelievable.

Adding to the launch night’s sense of occasion last Friday was two Melbourne bands in support. Plus, appropriately, all girl punk up and comers Debbie Downers, and perennial Perth faves Foam in the main support slot. After a series of personnel changes, BOAT SHOW themselves were debuting an all new line up, adding yet another layer of intrigue.

Muscle Magic

First cab off the rank Muscle Magic were notable for sharing members with Good Morning later in the night. The three-piece Melbourne punk outfit kicked things off noisily in the relatively empty, cavernous space that is the Rosemount. Give them more intimate surrounds and a mosh pit and they’ll go off.

Debbie Downers

Debbie Downers

Debbie Downers also share some familiar faces with other bands, although they are more of the local punk scene variety. With songs about Sir David Attenborough, Bridal Dresses and the importance of being both practical and fashionable, the Downers get away with occasional palm card use on the basis of having too much fun to care. Tunes like Nay Nays are already firm favourites on RTRFM – catch them next weekend on the local community station’s killer Distant Murmurs line up.

Good Morning

Someone nearby inevitably commented that Good Morning sound just like a Bedroom Suck band, the label that’s home to them. Chapter Music would also put up a good fight we think; these guys have the whole dole wave sound of bands like Dick Diver written all over them. But for a loose indie jangle outfit, they sounded pretty damn tight on highlights like In the Way, impressing on a rare West Coast visit as singers Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons frequently locked eyes across the stage. Perhaps the difference between Good Morning and similar bands is that as opposed to trying hard just to play their instruments, if anything these guys are trying hard not to play them.

FOAM

Part of the joy in watching Foam is the interlocking chemistry they have as a three-piece; a bigger part of it is just watching Joel Martin play guitar. After a huge 2017, now familiar songs like I Could Milk Myself and We Don’t Live in the USA are part of local music folklore but they kept it fresh in the main warm up slot, delivering more instrumentals and less hits than usual. For those who’ve seen them plenty in recent times, it was nice change up, showing the sort of versatility bands with much more than one album struggle with.

BOAT SHOW

Martin wasn’t away from the stage long. Returning as part of an all new, all fresh, completely revised and reinvigorated BOAT SHOW, this line up was a surprise even for those who’d seen them less than two weeks earlier at Badlands’ New Year’s Covfefe.

BOAT SHOW

Among the new recruits are Dream Rimmy and Human Buoy bassist Ben McDonald, while Martin is joined on guitar by newest member Kaitlin Keegan. Keegan, a solo artist with an EP launch of her own at The Bird in February, proved important in providing the energetic female backing vocals missing now that Stella Donnelly and Jenny Aslett have moved on.

While Donnelly and Aslett’s energy on stage is hard to replace, there’s no denying the cult of personality around frontwoman Ali Flintoff, who burst on stage midway through largely instrumental opener Entree. BOAT SHOW has always been Flintoff’s baby anyway, and she owned this night from the outset, jumping straight into ranting favourites Staying Alive and Suss, ensuring we knew that new album or no, there would still be some old faves.

Wild but not out of control, Flintoff’s onstage behavior is borderline bi-polar in the way she switches from angry and demanding to sweet and angelic. But for a punk she’s always respectful of her audience: when her antics knocked a drink out of one punter’s hand she requested a new one for them; later she grabbed one lucky fan’s phone and took a selfie. Demanding the audience come closer to the stage, she was intent on putting on a proper rock show.

If there was a knock it was that BOAT SHOW overestimated people’s willingness to leave the house in early January, and there was just a little too much room for the crowd to spread out into. Somewhere smaller might have worked better.

BOAT SHOW

But with a new album to launch this night rocked from start to finish and it was impossible not to get involved. Save Me and Fake It Til You Make It were among the early short, fast stabs, while soon-to-be-favourite Argue made way for the night’s biggest song in Cis White Boy. It was a memorable one-two punch.

As much as a cover of U2’s Vertigo was fun (and reading into it lyrically it’s perhaps telling of BOAT SHOW’s quick rise to the top) they’d be well advised getting live favourite I Hate Work back into the set instead. But alongside the big run home of Toxic, The Big Smoke and Can’t Deal it was cracking finish to a night that suitably celebrated the rise and rise of one Perth’s most exciting new bands.

HARVEY RAE

Photos by Q

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