By Luigi Sibona
Oh, how the beer did fly… Melbourne natives, The Smith Street Band brought their fragrant brand of folk punk to The Garage last Wednesday with predictably raucous results. Made up of the entire Aussie population of London and a few of us Brits, I can safely say I’ve never seen more airborne alcohol at a gig (draw your own conclusions there).
Hot off the back of this year’s ‘More Scared of You Than You Are of Me‘, The Smith Street Band are on a roll, lighting up the venue like only a band with a very genuine connection with their fans could. Due in large part to Will Wagner’s introspective often emotionally revealing lyrics paired with the hold-you-pint-high, chant-along hooks of tracks like ‘Shine’, the show was as rollicking as it was poignant.
These songs, those off the new album in particular, were made to be played live. Made to be sung like they’re the only thing keeping Will standing, a guy bearing his thoughts and anxieties to a crowd of strangers connected by empathy and sweaty grips. When the roaring, anthemic ‘Death To The Lads’ fired up, everyone was in it together, the strength of that track was tenfold amid the crowd-surfing catharsis of the jam-packed venue.
The hugely intimate (or intimately huge), unabashedly genuine punk rock of The Smith Street Band is music to be shared live. When you close your set with a livewire cover of this guy’s favourite Nirvana track, ‘Territorial Pissings’, then hey, you’re doing something right.