The Chats Melbourne Review @ The Corner Hotel

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The Chats played The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) 8 June, 2019. The Chats played The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) 8 June, 2019.

It's safe to say that Sunshine Coast's The Chats are somewhat of a polarising band.

Most casual listeners know them for 2017's viral hit 'Smoko' - a song that either endeared them or enraged music fans, without too much room in between.

But beyond gimmick and hyper-Australian subject matter of their tunes, the Queensland trio have grown into a formidable pub-rock-band force, even going on to support the likes of Iggy Pop on his most recent tour Down Under.

It was no surprise that, with a while between shows in Victoria - a state whose beer The Chats pay homage to in 'VB Anthem' - this Saturday evening (8 June) Corner Hotel gig was long sold out, which followed a packed-to-the-rafters under-18s show that afternoon.

You'd never have picked the band for having played two gigs in the one day, either; famously mullet-sporting frontman-bassist Eamon Sandwith, guitarist Josh Price and drummer Matt Boggis were not short on energy as they ripped through what's now an all-killer, no-filler set of relatable yarns set to punk-rock riffs.

One of the most impressive aspects of The Chats – and something those who write the band off as a novelty act miss – is the formidable post-punk, tightly wound rhythm section that weaves throughout their set, whether Sandwith is singing about his mother taking his cigarettes on 'Mum Stole My Darts', dealing with an STI on 'He's Got The Clap' or embellishing some solid youthful brattish rebellion on 'Don't Tell Me What To Do'.

Happily, security allowed for a liberal amount of old-school crowd-surfing and stage-storming, with only the bravest venturing to the front third of The Corner's room.

And while 'Smoko' continues to be a fist-pumping, wiry set standout, it feels like it sits alongside more than rises above the rest of The Chats' still-modest catalogue.

Not surprisingly, given the tour is the 'Pub Feed' round of shows, this fantastic ode to Aussie watering-hole grub and latest single proved to be the real highlight on a night that was hard to fault.

And all jokes aside, besides the band's always solid and candidly honest onstage banter, it's hard not to feel that The Chats have captured a certain Zeitgeist and love it or loathe it, they're not going anywhere besides up anytime soon.



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