On Thursday night, a sold out Smith Street Band had punters enthralled from the second we stepped into the venue. The energy of the crowd was ecstatic.
Support acts Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Sidekicks and The Sugarcanes played a great mix of tunes. Andrew Jackson Jihad, who is hugely popular in the US, were particularly interesting with their folksy performance. The contrast from their more subtle music to the Smith Street Band’s booming sound set the perfect scene.
The crowd were so excited, the appearance of lead singer Wil Wagner onstage well before the band's actual set had the crowd cheering. A flustered and happy Wil had to calm everyone down with a simple yet effective, “soon, not yet”. Blasting into songs like, ‘It’s Alright,I Understand’ and ‘Surrender’, which appeared on last year’s Triple J’s Hottest 100, The Smith Street Band’s set was absolutely electric.
Throughout the performance, the audience's connection with the group’s music and lyrical meaning was second to none. You could visually see the cathartic nature of people expressing their feelings through singing along to songs like, ‘Throw me in the river’. We put this down to Wil Wagner’s unique ability to weave melodies and complex lyrics together to create masterful songs.
The confessional nature of the Smith Street Band’s lyrics draw from Wil’s own experiences with depression and anxiety, as he has stated in previous interviews. All in all these factors mean that the Smith Street Band’s music is perhaps the most powerful and emotive upbeat rock we have ever experienced.
Perhaps the biggest ‘belter’ of the night was the brilliant 'Don’t Fuck with Our Dreams', which had almost the entire venue screaming lyrics. What more can we say about The Smith Street Band? They provide a voice for much of the emotional turmoil and confusion that can happen in a supposedly ‘normal’ life in suburban Australia. Their music can be identified with, and applied to, almost any of life’s more dramatic times, and we love them for it.
Following a tongue and cheek encore, the on stage duet performed for ‘I Scare Myself Sometimes’. A particularly moving performance, providing a unique dual perspective to events between two lovers. Featuring the gorgeous vocals of Lucy Wilson, the sadness and beauty of this song is just unbelievable, perfectly displaying the sentiment of anyone experiencing a difficult time with a partner. Had we not just been dancing to upbeat and somewhat bright songs, there may have been some waterworks in the advent of this one.
If you missed out on this gig but want to relive some of the magic, the below video taken by Triple J of their Splendour set, perfectly captures the Smith Street Band experience. Thursday night's gig ended with the brilliant and obvious choice ‘Young Drunk’, a song which further epitomises the groups capability to dissect the emotion and struggle from daily life.
(Don’t mind the tune rags)
If you haven’t heard a lot of the band’s music, we highly recommend giving them a concerted listen. The seemingly constant touring and song writing of the group means there are a wealth of great songs in the band's back catalogue, beyond that of their well known anthems.
All images taken by Wade Whitington