-By Luke Keatinge
After only two months since their last national tour, Sticky Fingers were back in Perth this past Monday night with an all-ages show at the Astor Theatre. After spending the last month or so recording in Thailand, the Sydney band were back promoting their upcoming third album Outcast at Last, the title track of which was only just released last week.
Again touring with support from close friends Bootleg Rascal, a band very similar in style and feel, the night began early with an inspired mix of reggae and hip-hop. The five-piece fellow Sydney band have a soulful charm undeniably reminiscent of Sticky Fingers, and the creative comradery between the two bands is always felt in their music. The Triple J-Unearthed outfit, led by vocalist Carlos ‘Q-Dome’ Lara, amped the crowd with their high energy rhythmic tunes like the super catchy Oh I Know and Asleep in the Machine, the title track of their recent debut album. Rascal has only just wrapped up their own national headline tour, so it was great to see them so quickly supporting Sticky Fingers on theirs. They always make for such a fitting accompaniment and lead-in when these two play together.
As the Sti-Fi set time approached, chanting and applause filled the theatre as we eagerly waited what everyone (at this point in the band’s career) knows is an amazing live show. A droning “STII-CCKY” rang out, and when the lights finally dropped, the theatre erupted in applause. When the iconic opening electronic notes of title track Land of Pleasure were heard (the band’s trademark set-opener) the crowd immediately fell into the rhythm of Sticky Finger’s infectious vibes. What continued was a set of non-stop crowd-stoppers, including hits Gold Snafu, Bootleg Rascal and Just For You, which got the crowd super active on this Easter Monday. The new single Outcast at Last, out for less than a week, was also a huge hit, with the crowd already singing along to its ultra-catchy chorus. A great addition to the band’s live set, the track is also a great representation of the band’s signature reggae-roots-rock hybrid.
The high energy and soaring choruses of these tracks were balanced well with a few slow tunes like crowd-favourites These Girls from debut album Caress Your Soul, and the intimate, dreamy Rum Rage. Frost stayed characteristically quiet between songs, letting bassist Paddy address the crowd and do most of the talking, and all band members – Beaker on drums, Seamus on guitar and Freddy Crabs on keyboard – were giving it their all.
Standouts from the set would have to be the stripped-down, indie-ballad Liquorlip Loaded Gun, with Frost alternating between his bare, vulnerable vocals and letting the crowd sing a few lines (at times the crowd’s singing even drowning him out; a testament to how big this band has gotten). The performance was mesmerising, accompanied by an incredible, ambient light display that flowed with the song’s highs and lows. This specific track and Frost’s live delivery really reflects the dynamic artistry and depth that this band achieves in their creative niche.
With the end of the main set, the band responded to cries, stamping and chanting from an adrenaline-filled theatre with a final encore. After playing crowd-favourite How to Fly, the band ended with usual set-closer and personal favourite Australia Street, the true anthem of this Sydney outfit. No track better encapsulates the band’s eclectic soul, and their gigs truly peak with the energy of the song’s final chorus in a way no other song does.
The night was incredible from the opening notes of Land of Pleasure to the closing, swirling guitar riffs of Australia Street. Sticky Fingers tapped into a transfixing energy of soulful, funked-up reggae psychedelia that didn’t let up for a moment. I will say though that if you’re familiar with the band’s live shows and their usual on-stage antics, this was a noticeably quieter night for the group – surely due to the gig being all-ages. At times this more subdued attitude was slightly disappointing, only because Sticky Fingers – and specifically front man Frost – are known for their energetic, frenzied and infectiously chaotic stage presence. But even with that considered, the intensity and passion that these guys project blows me away every time I see them, and even on their quieter nights, they remain one of the most formidable live acts in Australian music today.
Sticky Fingers are one of the hottest Aussie bands right now with a truly original sound. An inventive mix of psychedelia, reggae and indie rock, bolstered by distinctly soulful and earthy vocals from lead singer Dylan Frost, the band’s creative confidence and energetic intensity translates so well to their live show. Lead man Frost has a presence like no other, and the rich acoustics of Astor Theatre made for a perfect venue to showcase the band’s mesmerising vibes. With two incredible albums and countless international tours under their belt (as well as an ever-growing fan base) the band are at a career-high heading into the release of their upcoming album. Monday night reminded me why Sticky Fingers is my favourite band, and I can’t wait to see where Outcast at Last will take them next.
Photo Credit: Anthony Tran