Back You are here: Home Reviews Live Review: Kisschasy with Beth Lucas, Luca Brasi @ The Triffid 30.10.15

Live Review: Kisschasy with Beth Lucas, Luca Brasi @ The Triffid 30.10.15

I was just pushing twelve when Kisschasy released ‘United Paper People’, an album that would go on to be beloved by Australians of a certain vintage. Their career, which encapsulated two other quite good albums, also covered the decade leading up to my twenty-first birthday; a time which, I believe you’d all agree, might fairly be described as a pivotal time in any life. Despite six years since that last album, ‘Dinosaur’, the goodwill Kisschasy had accumulated was displayed amply by the heaving, sold out band room at the Triffid. Most punters also looked around their early- mid- twenties, and the air was heavy with a feeling that we were seeing so much more than a band tonight; we were, I think many of us, watching a musically accompanied montage of what might be termed the Golden Days of our lives.

Ninety minutes earlier, it was local girl Beth Lucas whose sparse acoustic pop/ punk arrangements hit exactly the right emotional note with the crowd. Her wounded, plaintive tone was often only accompanied by a single acoustic guitar, and the contrast between the laconic, easy strums and her wounded, plaintive tone was stark. Lucas is not far off delivering her debut studio EP, and the sort of confidence that breeds helped her cocksure yet vulnerable delivery. Time and time again I’m drawn to the emotional clarity of her lyrics; difficult subject matter delivered with a wide-eyed self-awareness.

Tasmanian punk rockers Luca Brasi played, all things considered, a subdued set. The band room was by this stage most of the way to full, in part I believe from difficulty in accessing set times, by the quartet’s brand of earthy, earnestly abrasive punk seemed to go over the heads of most punters. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, as the veins of vocalist Tyler Richardson’s temples popped and swelled, and all four were covered in a thick sheen of perspiration. C’est la vie.

That this set would consist predominantly of Kisschasy’s legendary first album, played start to finish, was broadcast well in advance and the cause of much excitement in the crowd. However, the first potential pitfall yawned from a mile away: this set would begin, cold, with Do-Do’s and Whoa-Oh’s, one of the band’s iconic calls-to-arms. The crowd were instantly pliable, recognising the transcendence of the moment, yet one wonders what might have been had this been later in the set, with the band in a groove and the crowd the fits of ecstatic glee. It couldn’t be helped though, and it meant that second song With Friends Like You, Who Needs Friends? was delivered to a rapturous crowd.

Indeed, the first half an hour of the set passed as in a dream. We were still in shock, I guess; this could be it, yet here we are, here Kisschasy are, their last weekend of existence. Another bridge to more idyllic days burnt, but not before one last mighty blow-out. Morning was a highlight of this period. Darren Cordeaux, stark, alone and illuminated on the stage, the difference between the man on stage and the boy we first saw as a precocious twenty year old musician plain to see. The old bones were still moving desperately, rumbling with the knowledge of times almost over, and next song, crowd favourite This Bed, was delivered with all the feeling of eternal youth. Australian rock has recently moved further away from riff-heavy, blunt pop-punk in favour of a looser, bass-heavy pop-psych sound, and it was refreshing to hear Sean Thomas’ smooth progressions afforded such prominence in the arrangement.

The Shake, as would Black Dress later, confirmed that somewhat counter-intuitively it was the quieter cuts where Cordeaux appeared solo on stage that resonated most strongly with the crowd. Perhaps this is a nod to Cordeaux’s simple force of personality, his craggy good looks that once made him pin-up boy for the last dregs of Generation Y, a generation already fading in favour of the Z’s and the Alpha’s and the unstoppable tide of the millennials. Ione Skye provided the last real shot of hedonistic energy to the main set, the punchy chorus delivered to a healthy echo from the crowd. Black Dress has, subsequently, been viewed as a somewhat ‘controversial’ song for its morbid subject matter but it more than any is Kisschasy’s iconic song. Darren Cordeaux delivered it simply, sweetly, gun-barrel straight and, in light of the fact no encore was guaranteed, with a mischievous grin that promised nothing and everything. The Burtonesque imagery of exhuming a dead love to bring her home and dress her up in bed shaped a generation that believed they felt everything more than anyone else ever had.

The encore, it hindsight, was obvious. But having played an entire album start to finish, was it ever so? Six songs were played in total, beginning with a duo of singles from ‘Dinosaur’, the title track Dinosaur and the wry Generation Why, followed by Doomsday and Revolution Wednesday from their ‘Do-Do’s and Whoa-Oh’s’ EP. And then, that was it: two songs left in Kisschasy’s second-to-last set ever. You know what they were, don’t you? Spray on Pants and Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm at Night, back to back, a moment that will live long into many nights.

What is Kisschasy’s legacy? They were a band that tapped into a youthful zeitgeist, whose self-deprecating and at times profound pop punk resonated with a generation just beginning to ask profound questions of the world. In hindsight, their heyday and perhaps, I imagine, how they would like to be remembered, was the Big Day Out tour of 2010, who alongside Powderfinger, Jet and Grinspoon, made a vintage line-up for Australian rock. Indeed, Kisschasy was one of the first in a new wave of Australian rock that rose after Silverchair and Powderfinger, continuing in their traditions but introducing a new aspect of introspectiveness, paving the way for bands such as Tame Impala, Bad//Dreems and POND. Vale Kisschasy.

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