-By Luke Keatinge
Perth grunge rockers Tired Lion wrapped their most recent national tour last Saturday night at Capitol, with support from Verge Collection and The Hard Aches.
Local heroes Verge Collection were up first, missing a member but still packing all their feel-good energy and charm. The (temporary) three-piece had the good vibes flowing with their unique blend of indie-pop rock and bright, guitar-driven Australiana. Their set showcased all their cheery, upbeat favourites, building to the closing tracks in “Class of ’09”, followed by the crowd-pleasing “Our Place”, which got the early goers dancing along to its infectious energy and catchy lyrics like always. Verge Collection’s ruefully honest lyrics, endearingly genuine vocals and warm, wistful melodies really come to life on stage, and if you’ve still never seen these guys live, you need to do yourself a favour.
Adelaide two-piece The Hard Aches were the second support act for the night with a hard-hitting set of Aussie indie-rock. The ‘pub rock band with punk rock fans’ as they referred to themselves have powerfully anthemic tracks that alternate between bare vocals and aggressive crashes of drums and guitar. The Smith Street Band is the most obvious name that comes to mind when thinking of The Hard Aches’ sound and their air of raw emotion, honesty and vulnerability – a clear influence. Playing tracks off debut album Pheromones and their most recent EP Organs & Airports, the band’s big hits “Loser” and closer “I Get Like This” got the biggest reactions from the packed floor, with the head-bangers at the front thrashing about and chanting along to the latter’s infectious hook.
Tired Lion came out firing with set opener Pretend off their Figurine EP – as good a summation as any of their intense, catchy and melancholic air of grungy 90s nostalgia. The track’s distortion-soaked walls of frenzied guitars, relentless drums and bass, and peaking vocals set the intensity early, and was followed by “Desperate”, off the band’s first EP All We Didn’t Know, and “Fresh”. The night then went up a few notches with the hugely energetic “Suck” – the first of many standouts.
The raucous melodies and garage-y guitar riffage continued with the beautifully nostalgic “Figurine” and recent single “Not My Friends”, which got one of the biggest responses – clearly loved by the crowd. The band’s grungy, garage-infused indie-rock instrumentation was bolstered by charismatic frontwoman Sophie Hopes’ snarling vocals and smoothly seductive rasp. Hopes amped the crowd between songs, encouraging them to celebrate not only the final show of their tour, but the five year anniversary of the band’s first ever show at Amplifier next door.
It wasn’t until midway through the set when things got rowdy, with guitarist Matt Tanner bringing a (slightly) buzzed fan on stage for the much-loved ‘shoey’ (which for those uninitiated involves one sculling a drink out of a shoe). In true ‘shoey’ fashion, the gesture opened the flood gates for the wild crowd antics that followed, which included more thrashing and crowd surfing in the center circle, as well as an endless stream of stage diving – the latter of much dismay to the Capitol bouncers who at one point perhaps got a little too rough with throwing the young lads off the stage. This didn’t go unnoticed by the band, as drummer Ethan Darnell left his kit to pull one sore fan back up on stage before setting him down with a fresh beer in hand. What a guy.
It would perhaps be amiss if the band finished without performing their much loved cover of Violent Soho’s “Saramona Said” (intertwined with Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979”), now a staple of their live show. The band is clearly aware of the reaction it gets (evident in Hopes’ build-up to it), and when the circle pit opens up as long-haired bassist Nick Vasey head bangs on stage, you’d swear you’d been transported to a Soho gig.
The night fittingly peaked with closing track “I Don’t Think You Like Me”. In many ways, this is currently the quartet’s biggest song, and seeing it live again reminded me why. In contrast to the tender melodic verses in December, played earlier, the soaring choruses in this track aren’t just a representation of Hopes’ crazy vocal range, but a portrayal of the band’s unrelenting energy. The entire room was screaming along to the raw, adrenaline-fueled final chorus, before the final fade of crashing noise and dropped guitars was met with a mixture of awe and disappointment that the night had come to a close.
Driven by raw passion and a take-no-shit attitude, seasoned Perth outfit Tired Lion delivered a fierce final show before soon heading to Europe to impress with their uniquely modern brand of grunge rock.
Photo Credit: Matthew Picken