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Live Review: Cosmic Psychos, High Tension, Born Lion & Super Best Friends @Crowbar 08.09.15

You wouldn’t normally associate Tuesday night with high-energy punk rock and metal shows, but as BIGSOUND rolls into town this week the rules were thrown out the door and pre-party shows were being hosted all over the Valley. In the depths of Crowbar, Deathproof PR hosted a its very own, with the likes of Super Best Friends, Born Lion, High Tension and Cosmic Psychos on the bill. Tuesday night has never looked so good.

The night started with Born Lion, a four-piece from Sydney that meld together elements of noise, rock, and punk into a heady cross-genre sound. The vocals from lead singer John Bowker took centre stage, with a more melodious approach to punk vocals, but that’s not to say there wasn’t some powerful screaming coming from him either. The harmonies from John and back-up singer Red in songs like Good Dogs Play Dead created an interesting juxtaposition with the driving drum beat and heavy guitar riffs, giving their set a captivating dynamic. They were confident on the stage, with Bowker making his way into the pit early to sing amongst the crowd that had started to gather.

Next up was High Tension, the Melbourne based metal fiends with Karina Utomo belting out lead vocals. The power this group manage to emit is always surprising, with Utomo’s dark and captivating presence infectious to say the least. The crowd started to move forward once they took to the stage and launched straight into hits like Collingwood, Killed By Life, and the slow-building Bully. The heavy but muted guitar fuzz created a perfectly ominous sound that filled the room, with Utomo’s demonic vocals piercing through it all.

The crowd wasn’t as enthusiastic as previous High Tension shows though, with a fairly subdued mosh, but as a pre-BIGSOUND event the room was divided between restrained industry folks and mid-week punters. The atmosphere in the room was still very potent and Utomo looked completely in control as she stood on the stage railings and loomed over the audience. When they finished with their hit High Risk High Rewards, the powerful and hard-hitting metal track with Utomo’s guttural and penetrating vocals, they didn’t fail to infect the whole crowd.    

Cosmic Psychos took to the stage next and ironically announced “We are the future!”, a nod to their enduring presence on the punk rock scene since their beginnings all the way back in 1977. They remain as influential as ever, even if they are starting to show their age. The room at this stage was packed, with older, die-hard Psychos fans rubbing shoulders with the younger industry delegates.  

As part of their ‘Bum For Grubs’ Tour, Cosmic Psychos played hits from their most recent collection ‘Cum The Raw Prawn’. They were irreverent and satirical and tapped into the bogan Australiana that seems to unite people with its tongue-in-cheek charm. The crowd were singing along to tracks like Fuckwit City and Better, Not Bitter, shouting the lyrics back at lead singer Ross Knight. The solos from lead guitarist John McKeering were the kind of intense shredding that deserved a stadium audience, easily filling the small room. The Psychos appeal lies in their DIY, pub-rock vibe, with the lovable Aussie twang a highlight in each track, and it’s this kind of character driven spirit that has cemented their legend-like status amongst the punk rock scene. They’re just some Aussie blokes playing punk rock, but they play it bloody well.

Unlike normal gig procedure, where the headlining band plays last, the final support band Super Best Friends played after Cosmic Psychos, sadly when a lot of people started to leave. It was a tough act to follow, but the Canberra and Melbourne based band didn’t let it faze them and confidently finished off the night with their indie, punk-rock set. They played new and old hits, amongst them All My Friends Are Leaving Town, a guitar heavy track about the band members own experiences growing up in regional NSW and Victoria. Despite the difficult time slot, Super Best Friends delivered a tight and high-energy finish to what was one hell of a Tuesday night.  

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