Ever noticed how those cheap Australiana tourist trinkets leave Tasmania off the map? It’s a bloody outrage. Aside from geographical correctness, there’s at least three good reasons to ensure that little island south of the strait gets as much attention as the mainland. For starters, there’s some seriously picturesque scenery down there. Secondly, the Cadbury Chocolate Factory is god damn icon. Lastly, there’s Luca Brasi, an awesome foursome who’ve been rising through the Aussie music ranks since their 2011 debut album.
Despite adopting the name of a thuggish mafia enforcer, Luca Brasi are anything but hoodlums. Since their humble beginnings in St Helens, they’ve released two more albums, toured with Bodyjar, Violent Soho, The Smith Street Band and Moose Blood; played Falls, UNIFY, Laneway Festivals and are on the bill for Splendour in late July. The dudes have toured Australia relentlessly, winning over both audiences and peers with their infectious enthusiasm and killer smiles. The lads were even kind enough to drop a new single and music video this week (which you can suss at the bottom of the page).
Adelaide marked the beginning of the Luca Brasi’s latest trek across the nation. The boys took over The Gov last Thursday night, with fellow Tasmanians Speech Patterns and Maddy Jane, as well as Baltimore post-hardcore act Pianos Become The Teeth.
Speech Patterns have described themselves as “four Tasmanians playing fast punk to keep warm”. I can’t speak for their body temperatures, but they certainly warmed up the early bird crowd. These lads have been lucky enough to tour with some of their influences, including Propogandhi and A Wilhelm Scream, as well as The Menzingers and Title Fight. Playing hits off both Crosswater and Indecisions, the melodic vocals in booming ballads and catchy riffs was a sound pairing any pop-punker would ~ship~. Speech Patterns were a perfect opener for Luca Brasi.
Maddy Jane was next up, and this fellow Apple Aisle dweller (really stretching this Tasmania stuff here...) was very different to her hometown counterparts. Listening to her pre-gig on Spotify, I was concerned that her stripped-back style would be lost amongst the punk and hardcore styles bookending her set. Sounding like the lovechild of Kasey Chambers and Courtney Barnett, and wise beyond her years, Maddy Jane’s fresh vocals cut through the punk haze. Whilst performing her hit No Other Way, the audience were reminded of 21st season - hearing the same polite questions about your degree and small-talk about what everyone’s up to from people you’ve specifically avoided since graduation (or maybe that’s just me). Maddy Jane’s set was a necessary and welcomed palette cleanser amongst a night of thrashing guitars and crashing snares.
Being the international drawcard, Pianos Become The Teeth were the first band of the night to have a dedicated legion of fans in attendance. Straight out of the studio having recorded the follow up album to 2014’s Keep You, the five-piece tried their best to continue the momentum created by Speech Patterns and Maddy Jane, but failed to capture the audience’s full attention. To allow frontman Kyle Durfey’s flawless vocals and stage presence shine in tracks such as Traces and Ripple Water Shine, the remaining four members played their instruments in a reserved manner. While this resulted in a highly emotive and vulnerable performance, the crowd seemed a tad underwhelmed by the US punks’ intimate set, sandwiched in amongst the home-grown talent. Pianos’ saving grace was a combination of older material and the zealousness of their fans, whose enthusiasm spread through the audience hanging around the fringes of the stage. As the set drew to a close, punters were upbeat, but ready to get back to the faster pace of the Aussie acts.
After a short wait and an alarming amount of shoeys, Luca Brasi took the stage. The lads were greeted with an uproar from the crowd as people rushed forward to stake out the best patch of floor to mosh on. The room turned riotous as the foursome launched into Aeroplane, with both the band and audience tearing up The Gov. Raucous on-stage antics during Drop Out were perfectly juxtaposed against a polished sound and lighting timed to the second.
Separating themselves from punk bands who sing about life being a desolate wasteland, Luca Brasi have a generally optimistic tone to their lyrics. Much like the advice your Mum gave you at your angsty-est, the guys admit that although life blows at times, it tends to turn out alright. At first I thought this was somewhat clichéd, but as I watched frontman Tyler Richardson’s reaction to the crazy crowd and hearing his own lyrics bellowed back at him, it’s obvious that this sentiment rings so true to him, and the other members of a band that have gone from playing in lounge rooms to headlining sold-out shows. The lads treated the crowd to rarely-played tracks off their first ever album, Extended Family, showcasing just how far these Tassie boys have come.
Luca Brasi truly connected with the crowd, to the point where no one left The Gov last Thursday night feeling indifferent to the show they’d just witnessed. The foursome come across as guys you could easily sit down and sink beers with, despite having been catapulted into the Aussie music scene. They’re incredibly humble, have stayed true to both their punk roots and arguably themselves. Moving through the set list, Say It Back and new single Got To Give both received air-time, and punters went crazy hearing the latter live for the first time. Songs off the boys’ latest album, If This Is All We’re Going To Be, got the most love from the audience. The Cascade Blues provided opportunity to focus on Thomas Busby’s guitar skills, and Overwhelmed//Ill-Prepared had the whole room grooving. It wouldn’t be a Luca Brasi gig without Anything Near Conviction, which had the crowd belting out the catchy chorus and thrashing their bodies to the infectious hook. Rounding off their set with Count Me Out, the Tasmanians left main-landers begging for more and counting down the days 'til their next tour.
With a dedication to euphoria and instantaneous likeability, Luca Brasi were a pleasure to watch and are a band to look out for. Their bogan-punk sound and tenacious attitude commands attention from the very first bar, proving that the future of Tassie’s music scene is in capable, beer-clutching hands.
Header image via AK Photography