Amyl and the Sniffers made sure Torquay knows Australian punk is alive and well

Amyl and the Sniffers made sure Torquay knows Australian punk is alive and well

Torquay Hotel has been killing it with gigs lately. I don’t know if they have a new person booking the bands or something, but in the last year or so, the place has grown into a hub-venue for alternative music that the surf coast has been desperately thirsty for. Over the last few months, they’ve had a charcuterie board of Australia’s best current rock like Cosmic Psychos, Skegss. Murlocs, Tropical Fuckstorm, Cash Savage and Amity Affliction, as well as the crème de la crème of bands that are just bursting through the underground scene, like Pist Idiots and Civic. The latest band to hit their stage, which currently straddles both of these scenes, was the country’s preeminent dirtbag punk outfit Amyl and the Sniffers.

The night started off Geelong-heavy with Vintage Crop and Vertigo as the openers.

VC were up first, some hometown favourites of mine. They warmed up the crowd with their wiry guitars and off-kilter beats and mix of wry-wit verse lyrics and amped up choruses. The crowd was receptive as they pumped out some of their bigger tracks like ‘Headache’, ‘Gerald pt. 2’, and the always intense ‘American Living’. Their set also included a lot of new tracks I’d never heard before. They sounded mad so it makes me keen for whatever they’re thinking of releasing next.

Vertigo were next up, I hadn’t seen them play in a long time but I was quickly reminded why they’re considered some of G-town’s best hard-core punks. Their energy is so wild. I think it’s like, they definitely have that hard-core format of SCREAMquickriffSCREAMquickriff, but each riff within a song will bounce around in new directions that leave you in this frantic guessing game while you’re jumping around to it. It’s really cool. Their set felt a bit quick, maybe it’s hard to sustain that guttural vocal style for too long – it makes me want water just thinking about yelling like that – or maybe it went for well over half an hour and I was just too beered up to realise? Either way, I guess it left me wanting more, which is a good sign of their quality.

Amyl blasted onto the stage at about 10.30, all big mullets and thick riffs, whipping the crowd into a quick frenzy. They played a fair few of their older tracks of Big Attraction that had everyone singing along to ‘Balaclava Boogie’, and a lot of raised beers chanting back to ‘Walking to the Westgate’. It was the newer tracks where things got particularly loose though. It wasn’t the biggest crowd I’ve seen in that room before, but definitely one of the most high-energy mosh pits. During tracks like ‘Cup of Destiny’, ‘Gacked on Anger’, and the closer ‘Got you’, the front section of the room was a swell of sweaty people pushin’ around under crowd surfers, and a few people climbing up and hanging from the rafters. Shit got wild. And the frontwoman of the sniffers, Amy, was right there along with it.

If they’re a band you’re into, you have to see them live. Amy’s stage presence is madness, fully taps into the manic energy of each of the band’s songs which had her ending up right down on the floor with people, jumper-punching moshers and having a crowd surf. Did she hang from the rafters too? Can someone confirm that? I don’t know; I was jumping around a fair bit myself and may have had a couple of drinks. Regardless, Amyl and the Sniffer’s raw energy made it a super fun night and showed the Surfcoast why they’re one of the best live acts to catch at the moment. It was super fun Mum, ya shoulda been there.

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When: Friday, February 28
Where: The Torquay Hotel, Torquay
Reviewed by Liam McNally
Photos by Joshua Braybrook