Blood, broken amplifiers and bananas: An evening with Bad//Dreems

Words by Paul Maland Photos by Kellie Leaver

Fresh after a conversation with Linda Marigliano on Triple J’s Good Nights program, Bad//Dreems took to the stage with local and Melbournite supports to promote their Cuffed & Collared single, ahead of the release of their debut album.


Battlehounds at the gate First up were locals Battlehounds, who have recently also received similar critical acclaim from Triple J with their latest single Visions, produced by Gavin Lurssen (Queens of The Stone Age producer). The band played a pretty tight set, and had the attention of a few punters with their thumping riffs and loud performance of Visions to close off the set and warm things up for the rest.

The Mining Boom is real Second on stage were Melbournites/Perth boys, Mining Boom. Having received a personal recommendation from the Bad//Dreems fan page on Facebook earlier, the band delivered up-to and beyond expectations. Sauntering on stage in runners, tracksuits, moustaches and equipped with synthesizers, Mining Boom define themselves artistically and visually as different to the taste of a typical Baddies fan, but not without their own talent. Joy Division-esque synth tones and powerful, fast-tempo drums reminiscent of 80s punk demand eventual acclaim. Unfortunately the diversity between the bands style and that of Bad//Dreems eventuated in a degree of inattention from the crowd, but were ultimately met with applause and captivated listeners for their final track, PDA, before leaving the stage.

Goodies vs Baddies Headlining were local boys and retro-Australiana fetishists/real deal Aussie-rockers, Bad//Dreems.

The band has been criticized before for trying overly hard to portray themselves as farm-going, flannie wearing, 80s pub rockers - only to respond with acknowledging their appropriation of Australian culture, but imploring it as genuine (“I guess it shows us how much cultural cringe there actually is. People see something that is classic Australian and they think, 'That band is making some big statement by taking the piss.' But shit, we're just doing what we normally do” – Baddies member, Alex, to Rip It Up in 2014).

The interesting thing about seeing Bad//Dreems develop and perform over three or four years is that although these claims of being try-hard bogans aren’t un-justified, neither is the critical acclaim the band has achieved from music publications country-wide (and around the world at that). The band, who identify themselves as outsider rockers based on their taste of underground 70s and 80s Australian/English/American bands, show that their artistic endeavours aren’t without talent and substance.

Their show at Jive was no exception, despite being met with bleeding fingers from singer/guitarist Ben, a blown amp, and some kid with dreadlocks in the front-row who kept trying to feed each bands vocalist a banana (interestingly, each band literally took a bite – this seemed far more entertaining than it probably actually was).

Baddies set cruised along, being driven all the while by Ben’s Joe Cocker-esque arm curling, spasms, and literally playing guitar until his fingers bled everywhere. Whether for this reason or not, it was a perfect opportunity for Ali Wells (Grinch Records) to jump on guitar in front of the home town crowd after recently touring Europe with the band.

Hoping For, the film-clip of which was a target of criticism for its retro-Australian depictions, was the bands second song and drove the crowd wild for what continued into the duration of the set (despite a mid-point lull by a blown amplifier). Hits like Carolyn, My Only Friend, and eventually set-finisher Cuffed & Collared left banana wielding fans and the Baddies oldies alike exhausted, and overall impressed. Bad//Dreems are expected to release their debut album sometime this August, with further accolades surely to follow.