Towards the end of a scorching set from hardened Australian rock ‘n’ roll band X, I momentarily stepped outside and observed a group of immaculately attired suburban dwellers walking down the stairs of the Transit and running out about a minute later. “What was that about?” one fresh faced innocent asked another. “A bunch of retro punks dancing to horrible noise,” was the bewildered reply. Well, if all you know is generic electro-pop consistently peddled as the shiny new thing, the confusion makes sense.
That ‘horrible noise’ was in fact an outpouring of unholy songs for free thinkers that sounded as energised and exciting now as would have occurred in some grungy Sydney pub in 1977. The star performer here was X guitarist/vocalist Steve Lucas who effortlessly incited the urge to revel in those concise rock glory days. While nursing a beer, I noticed a girl in a beige coat, blue jeans and brown boots intently reading the Steve Lucas interview in BMA – a story that involves beer-fuelled gigs in shitty pubs for no money, getting teeth knocked out by overly enthused crowds and thankless DIY record distribution. With that in mind, the excitable dude with the Radio Birdman patch sewn into a worn leather jacket was certainly in the right place.
Opening band Kill Dirty Youth sounded like they wanted to recreate Nirvana’s debut album Bleach and almost came close. They finished with an energised cover of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ that made perfect sense. Longstanding local legends Young Docteurs then engaged and often entered the audience in the best punk tradition and sounded like minimalist punk rockers Wire getting it down at London venue The Roxy. But headliners X kept the dream alive with loud and loose versions of ‘Suck Suck’, ‘Revolution,’ and ‘Halfway ‘Round the World’ alongside a bunch of other tightly wound tunes played short and sweet. What else really matters?