While support acts Los Scallywaggs and Dumb Punts thrashed through their sets, I quietly wondered why the atmosphere at The Triffid (15 June) felt so still, so well-behaved .
The under-18s were manic, truly, barely contained by the top-level railing, but the audience on floor were relatively quiet, relatively calm, relatively mellow.
Though as the set time approached space diminished between the crowd, punters condensing themselves to make a mosh.
Skegss entered to an eruption of applause before diving into their well-received new single, ‘Up In The Clouds’.
‘FUN’ proved an unforgotten favourite from their debut EP, '50 PUSH UPS FOR A DOLLAR', youthful lyrics mirroring their then-burgeoning career (‘I just wanna have a fun time’); they stopped, said hello, said thank you, bassist Toby Cregan was begged to scull his beer.
Click here to read our February 2018 interview with Skegss.
Discography heavyweight ‘Spring Has Sprung’ was surrendered next, its recognisable riff sparking anarchy. The song is impossibly likeable, albeit simple, only one repeated verse and uncomplicated guitar strumming failing to dull its spirit-lifting shine – fans basked in the glow.
Skegss paused: “Alright, sip your drink, take a breath.” I smiled as hundreds of mouths agreeably inhaled and exhaled; heart-rates rose again with ‘Wait The F*ck Up’, words shamelessly defying the prior pause.
Back to back ‘Everyone Is Good At Something’ tracks as ‘Mustang’ maintained the energy levels; both support acts were fondly acknowledged before the band unveiled an unreleased piece, chorus: “I f#$%ing hate it here.” They stopped, chuckled. “Buggered up a couple of the buggers, there.”
Guitars were briefly tuned before the trio belted out ‘My Face’. “Let’s split the crowd down the middle,” Toby declared, and down the middle the crowd split; tension built as the introduction of ‘Slayer’ began, fans slammed into each other on cue, “1,2,3,4!”
Sentiments slowed with ‘Holiday Food’s ‘You Probably Won’t Die For A While’, Skegss stopped, stretching the set time: “We believe in longer breaks between tracks!” They paced around the stage, eventually announcing: “This song’s about nothing.” ‘New York California’ only two lines long yet arguably the night’s highlight.
Bodies swayed during their debut single ‘L.S.D’, audience cooing the ‘oohs’ of the chorus. “Thank you so much Brisbane, you’re particularly special to us,” the band praised, before closing the set with ‘Got On My Skateboard’.
I expected the Byron Bay trio to perform more unreleased music, the gig very much an amalgamation of fan favourites. After ‘Up In The Clouds’ immediately shot to high rotation on radio waves, I falsely presumed another album would swiftly follow suit. Perhaps the boys are simply playing their cards close to their chest for awhile.
Even still, I’m relatively certain their next collection of music will be as worshipped as their previous. And so it should, and not merely because the band tapped into a trending genre (one that, admittedly, is saturated with similar acts across the country).
Skegss are frontrunners, inarguably, at the top of the pack, the pillar of Australian surf rock; not ‘one of many’, but instead very much the one drawing the ‘many’ in the first place.
My biggest surprise was the realisation of how effortless their music is: repeated guitar riffs, basic drum lines and easy-to-sing melodies making up most of their discography.
What’s incredible is how much so little can exude so much warm, elating energy, how with relatively primitive art supplies they’ve managed to paint such smile-inducing pictures.
That smile must be infectious – mid-set I caught a glimpse of singer/ guitarist Ben Reed grinning to himself, completely content. I only hope Skegss realises that everybody within earshot was wearing an identical expression right back.