19 Jul D.I.Why we bother
For the days leading up to Carb On Carb’s ‘Stay True Young Emo’ tour I was locked away dubbing tapes in real time, that’s 20 minutes a side for those wondering, on an old 70s tape deck I’d borrowed from Matt at The Reverence Hotel when our high speed dubber broke. So I’m trying to get them finished in time for the 1st show, trying to pull time out of the air and asking myself D.I.Why bother? The week that followed was exactly why we bother. Working with Carb On Carb on this release and helping out with the tour has cemented something I often doubt, does anyone really care anymore or should we all just buy into the current trends and get sponsored facebook posts, write music that is so safe and lacking in anything that resembles a challenge to the listener that maybe our high school friends we outgrew a decade ago might show up to a show and still pretend what we are doing is rooted in punk and DIY ethics? I’m happy to say this is not the future and there is something really positive happening right now. This little DIY community is creating some of the best bands in the country and people are starting to notice and get excited.
- Watching crowds sing along to H A N N A H B A N D songs, songs recorded in my very living room with my best friends.
- Watching Carb On Carb play to a room full of people they hardly knew and watch it connect with them night after night.
- Watching Sweater Season own every second of there 20 minutes set like they had been playing for years not just 6 or so shows was a constant reminder that this community is world class.
The tour was 4 shows excluding a Monday night mass date in Melbourne, which was not booked in the same fashion as the others so I’ll leave it out for the sake of the reader.
Melbourne was the 1st night with Sweater Season, Stockades, Kissing Booth and Employment. I live in Melbourne and I often find shows here very stale and underwhelming for bands of this size, but on this night the Public Bar this packed and there was some kind of excitement in the air. Sweater Season took to the stage to a comfortably full room at 9pm on a Friday, for a band that had only just one song recently put online the response was huge, maybe it was James and I screaming along like fan boys, but it was without doubt a really good first show in Melbourne.
Stockades hadn’t played a show since the start of the year so everyone there was very keen to see what they had been up to since their last. They have been busy. Playing mostly a new, much, much darker set they had everyone’s attention and admiration. Stockades are one of the most creative and interesting bands you will see. I play in Employment so ill just say we all had a really good time and were overwhelmed with the positive response to the addition of Georgia Maq on guitar and for the 1st time I felt like the band was comfortable and coming across how it’s intended to. This was also the last of 3 shows we’d shared with Kissing Booth so it was great to see them kill it as they do time after time. They were the perfect transition from a bunch of yelling at everyone to what everyone was really there for, Carb On Carb. I’m clearly bias as I mentioned spending hours making tapes for them, but they are the best band in New Zealand easily and not far off it here too. The crowd by this point was loose and really let go of the normal uptight persona Melbourne is so known for. This was the best show I’d been to in Melbourne in a very long time, if you were there I’m sure you would agree.
Next was Canberra with H A N N A H B A N D, Sweater Season and Oxen. I had heard that Canberra swag was strong and shows like these were getting people out of the house, but I was blown away. Canberra swag is indeed strong. The Phoenix was full all night, while having a ciggie outside (why we endured that kind of cold is beyond me) the venue was at capacity and doing one in one out as Oxen’s set came to an end we actually couldn’t get back in until after they’d packed out and people come out to smoke. What ever is happening in Canberra at the moment is something amazing and really special, Jordon from Lacklustre Records claims Canberra to be the best city in the world, and after that show I cant tell if he’s saying that tongue in cheek anymore. It’s safe to say that if they keep going with this kind of passion and keep producing bands like Oxen it will be come a favourite city for touring bands. On the drive home we all were stoked on how much fun we had all had, and the sense of community there. There’s nothing more confronting and heart warming that seeing strangers sing along to you’re best friends bands, I couldn’t wipe the proud smile from my face. I must have looked like an idiot selling merch like I’d just been out the back smashing nangs all night.
This whole tour had an air of quiet confidence, not the ego driven lets make our own lanyards and pretend we are the next Smith Street band kind of confidence, but more of a holy shit if these last two shows went so well in cities that are often cold and unresponsive we cant wait for Blackwire and Beatdisc, where we all always feel so comfortable. And the Blackwire show was just that. I’ve never seen H A N N A H B A N D play that well before, some kind of switch must have flicked in Nathan between eating pizza and drinking beers at home and standing in front of the same microphone he’s stood in front of too many times to count, because I was watching a very different and even more emotive H A N N A H B A N D. The same switch must have flicked in Nicole and James too cause it was the best Carb show of the tour also, its pretty rare that Ted Danson with Wolves get over shadowed, and they most defiantly didn’t play an average set by any means.
The new Teddy Deez songs are somehow more complex and effortless than ever, what Ted Danson does I don’t think any of us thought is what Ted Danson would have done when asked what would Ted Danson would do. Maybe it’s just what blackwire does to us all when ever we see friends kill it there, or maybe its that this tour featured some of, if not the best bands we have seen in a long time?
Parramatta holds a very important place in a lot our young emo hearts. Beatdisc was the 1st in store my band ever played and was the best show we had been apart of for a long time, which we played with Dylan and Jacobs other band, Oslow. so much like watching H A N N A H B A N D the night before at blackwire, watching Sweater Season at Beatdisc was very powerful. There must have been something in those Piston Head beers Dave hooked up for this tour ‘cause it was a tour of front people going from endearingly shy and awkward to these amazing inclusive and warm people whose stage presence matched there off stage charm and talents. Jacob personified this that night at Beatdisc, every word out of his mouth was thoughtful and sincere, as he thanked Pete, Tom and all involved in making Beatdisc what it is. Two bands on this tour I had not seen before, one I have been trying to for many years and have had 2 shows for unforeseeable reasons fall through but was really excited to see were Bare Grillz and Beast and Flood.
Beast and Flood followed Sweater Season and really blew a lot of people away, myself included. A noisy Modest Mouse/Colour Revolt vibe played loud and loose in the best way. Bare Grillz are a band I’ve loved for a long time and considering how many ties I have through mutual friends is kind of amazing I had seen them yet, but it was worth the wait. Just got listen to their record its heaps easier than me saying how they are the perfect blended of slacker pop/post punk/experimental pop ect. They should have a new record in works soon to so that super exciting.
The last show of a tour is always an emotional one, you’re tired and you’re body wants it to be over but you force yourself to push through, cause it’s the last night and there’s something in that mix of emotion that’s spawns amazing sets and powerful performances. Or maybe its that you have spent so much time in a car with the same people sharing so much of yourself without realising it, that you have become such good friends in such a short period of time cause you bonded over a shared love of romantic comedies, Mariah Carey and other 90s RnB gems, the excitement of being in new places, sleeping on floors together and seeing American Football/Owen that you when you realise this is the last time we will all be in this room for this reason on this tour that you over come what ever your body thinks is best and say fuck it I can go another night of poor sleep and a hangover. Either way Carb On Carb were amazing as they were all tour.
There is a really strong sense of community at the moment with this for lack of a better word emo revival and I think we should all take a moment to reflect on it and be really proud and excited that something as small as a DIY tour booked around seeing a band we all never thought we’d see can have such a profound impact on so many people. So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who was involved and continues to be involved.
Stay true young emos
Click links to all bands and fine record stores/labels to listen and purchase releases.