LIVE REVIEW: HITS AND PITS FESTIVAL FEAT. IMPLANTS / HEARTSOUNDS / MASKED INTRUDER / BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE / DEATH BY STEREO / TEN FOOT POLE / CASUALTIES / FACE TO FACE
Sunday 18 May 2014 at Capitol
First published by the Space Ship News 21 May 2014
Round three of Hits And Pits, the compact but hard hitting punk festival that last year brought us giants Black Flag, returned to Capitol this Sunday, this time boasting USA greats Heartsounds, Death By Stereo, Casualties, Ten Foot Pole and Unwritten Law on an otherwise stunning bill of punk acts.
The miniature festival started dead on 3:20PM with punk supergroup Implants, sharing members with Strung Out, Death By Stereo and Ten Foot Pole, spurring the gathered crowd – already thick – out of their early-afternoon stupor before Heartsounds, angsty San Fran punks boasting a good quarter of the t-shirts in growing audience, a breed crawled out of Perth’s cracks and inclined to big hair and torn denim. Heartsounds, like much of the bill, are on their first tour to Australia and passionately thank the audience after delivering a tight, brilliant set with standout ‘Internal Eyes’ from their new album of the same name.
The stage is immediately hijacked by pop punk criminals Masked Intruder, a bizarre balaclava-clad four piece serenading a bewildered crowd with felony-themed love songs while their “party officer of the law”, a burly porno-stached cop who, with the power of rock ‘n’ roll, throws himself bodily into the crowd to drag unfortunate dancers into the pit. Rife with banter – a little witty, a little dumb – Masked Intruder steals hearts with their restraining-order duet, ‘Heart Shaped Guitar’, with guitarist Laura Nichol of Heartsounds kidnapped into Blue Intruder’s crooning love song, and the officer whipped off his shorts to reveal a sweaty jockstrap before launching himself into the crowd one final time.
Boston ska punks Big D and the Kids Table took the stage next to a wailing sax and reggae dub quickly giving way to generous punky helpings from latest album Stomp such as their ode to scratchers, ‘Shit Tattoos’, and ska heavy ‘Don’t Compare Me To You’. If you ever wanted to see the Specials play with some extra punk rhythm and fronted by a blond Seth Green lookalike chucking a righteous tantrum then Big D awaits, a mess of shredded tees, trombone solos and camo pants. Hits ‘L.A.X.’ and ‘Noise Complaint’ are greeted with audience sing-alongs and the audience’s massive reception isn’t gone unnoticed by frontman David McWane as Nichol delivers another round of shots: “Australia, man. Best shouters in the entire globe. You guys must vacation and hate it.”
Death By Stereo deliver their set with no uncertain terms, frontman Efrem Schulz immediately launching into the band’s manifesto: “We don’t have much time in our lives so we gotta shout as loud as we can, as long as we can.” They roar through their set under a wave of pogoing, screaming fans as Schulz delivers vicious soundbites and bellows over the rabid crowd, “Where’s my pit? Who wants to go faster? CIRCLE PIT!” In comparison sunny Californian veteran punks Ten Foot Pole seem like kittens, but Dennis Jagard surges through classics ‘John’ and ‘ADD’ with a savage pride well received by the audience. When the crowd begs for ‘Gnarly Charlie’ and are rewarded with a rapid playthrough, building to full steam by the end of their set. In Jagard’s words, “Ten Foot Pole: the band that gives a shit.”
The Casualties legitimately take the stage to the Star Wars Imperial March and rocket into their set with their mohawks like buzz-saws, the sonic equivalent of putting an opossum through a blender skull first. Jorge Herrera’s stage banter is nearly inaudible, mumbling something about chicken, a chicken fight, free beer, free chicken, do not harm the kitten… but the Casualties drive the crowd to a frenzy, the volume louder and louder to earsplitting extremes, and smash out street punk anthem ‘We Are All We Have Tonight’ to the cheers of their fans.
Face To Face have riot on their minds as well, opening with a powerful cry of “are you ready to rally?” from founding frontman Trever Keith, launching into their emotional, pounding punk rock torch songs with Strung Out and Unwritten Law bringing a stunning close cut short by the Capitol’s noise curfew. The festival ended with a tantrum as Unwritten Law, stopped six songs short of their set, trashed the kit in retaliation – a punk spectacle, sure, and the punter’s money worth, though the venue is sore for it.
‘LIVE REVIEW: Hits & Pits Festival at Capitol’ by Richard Moore.