Bad//Dreems @ The Gov Review

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Home-town punters had a gutful, a gutful of brew at The Gov (17 June) to cheer on Bad//Dreems and the bogan renaissance.

‘Bogan Pride’ from Bad//Dreems debut album 'Dogs At Bay' may have been written as commentary or satire of the bogan, but it was clear from the audience in attendance during the final show of the 'Gutful' tour that the title has been taken literally.

The surge in popularity of Adelaide pub-rock purveyors like Bad//Dreems, West Thebarton Brothel Party and tonight's support act The Bitter Darlings has extended beyond music fandom. It is now a cultural phenomenon: a way of dressing, dancing, drinking, a guide to living.

On this Saturday night, fans were predominately clothed in flannelette or footy colours and held double-fisted pints. Beer sloshed from jugs in transit left a slick across the floor, new-found lovers drunkenly pashed in the jolly mosh as though it was a B&S Ball, while crowd surfers were collared by security.

Between 2015’s debut 'Dogs At Bay' and this year’s 'Gutful', Ben Marwe has significantly upped the Strine in his vocals; it's like watching the progression of Tom Waits from fledgling singer-songwriter on 'Closing Time' to full-blown wino caricature on 'Small Change'.

Like Waits, the band have drawn upon a rich vein of historical influences to craft songs and more importantly a voice that feels refreshingly new, but more importantly distinctively genuine. Marwe, as he lamented 'it ain’t easy' on ‘Hiding To Nothing', was joined by a fervent chorus; crafting pub anthems that evoke such a passionate and authentic response ain’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it.

Bad//Dreems have built an extensive catalogue of anthems in just two albums. Fans turkey necked to ‘Gutful’ as though it were ‘Thunderstruck’ and chanted along to ‘Mob Rule’ as though it were ‘TNT’. Songs like ‘Million Times Alone’ already feel timeless. Keith, the father of bass player Miles Wilson, joined the band on sax for this slow burner and ‘My Only Friend’ while wearing a Bunnings cap.

Marwe switched to the acoustic for the similarly laid-back ‘1000 Miles’, but the band’s hour-long set was mostly high-octane bangers. As the band left the stage, the crowd chanted “one more song”. It was quite a specific and self-limiting request. They were given two to close a night that earlier featured The Creases.

While Bad//Dreems are heavily influenced by AC/DC, The Creases clearly listened more to The Easybeats as well as '80s shoe-gazers The Jesus and Mary Chain. Like the headliners, the Brisbane four-piece already have an arsenal of pop gems.

Youth radio is flooded with guitars again for the first time in almost a decade; these two bands are one of the reasons why.

2018 AIR Awards Nominees Playlist


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