Review: Hockey Dad, Horror My Friend, Stork at Jive

Words by Paul Maland
Photos by Wade Whitington

Local surf-brigade Stork welcomed home Adelaide post-punk prophets Horror My Friend and NSW's Hockey Dad for a trip to the beach and back to Jive last Friday night... the surf got a bit rough.

You've got to hand it to Jive — the theatre turned nightclub, live music venue and record pop-up shop boasts an enviable venue size (complete with an upper-level catwalk) and is home to one of the country's only regular indie and alternative club nights in a venue of its capacity. It's also done wonders for the local music scene, hosting mini-festivals (like Vision Festival). The only thing (apart from the lack of beer garden) that truly polarises the venue from its own punters is the approach of Jive's security on crowd behaviour. 

Although this isn't entirely the venue's fault, and is largely an insurance and legal safeguard that comes with the licensing requirements (ie. being too large to count as a small venue, but not large enough to enjoy the fruits of a steady crowd), it can both disenfranchise folks who have paid to come inside, and lead to hilarious consequences when, surprise: drunk live music fans at a sold-out show might do the exact opposite of what's asked of them at the door ("Now, there's no crowd-surfing or stage diving tonight guys, okay?" — "Uh, yeah. Sure mate, no worries." ) 

One hilarious aspect of crowd psychology is affirming action — if you see a lot of people doing something in consecutive fashion, you'll probably feel a lot more happy about doing it, too. Combine this with the hilarity of doing what you were asked not to do (in an unusually explicit fashion) without malicious intent, and you end up with venue staff feeling a lot like how Cincinnati Zoo staff must have felt when asking the Internet to stop making Harambe memes (regretful). 

Local boys Stork made their way on stage first to start the night off and get the surf vibes flowing. Vocalist Patrick looked like he was a competent frontman, but took a few songs to get up on the board and find his balance. Bassist Jack also managed to ride the wave and break the rules a little early, making his way off-stage mid-song and onto a mate's trusting shoulders (while keeping rhythm, too). Stork bring a sound we've heard before (fitting a bill headlined by Hockey Dad well), but manage to present it in a way that doesn't let the audience get bored easily. If you want a sound that's simple to the ears (with easy to remember lyrics, such as a song about a certain Jack Russell) but layered with enough energy and crashing, punchy variance, Stork look like they're set continue to deliver.

Horror My Friend took stage for their longest "Yeah Boii" ever, and a solid reminder why they've accrued acclaim during their time interstate (both with Hockey Dad and independently).  

Horror My Friend bring a different sonic palette to audience members compared to the surf-punk vibes of Stork and Hockey Dad, with a much more layered and refined direction in mind. Josh and Tom share both guitar and bass duties, often switching guitar to Tom mid-set — a unique feature which switches the sound up, and demonstrates their instrumental talent refined in both Horror My Friend, and West Thebarton Brothel Party. All the while, the band are driven steadily by Sam's drum flourishes throughout, and deliver post-hardcore/post-punk, garage screams, and hypnotic throwbacks to the best parts of early '90s shoe-gaze in their song structure. At Friday's show, this resulted in a lull in the audience as numbers began to reach near capacity. The boys delivered some older tracks, before bookending the set with 'PB Remains' off their debut album. While Horror My Friend are often a great band to stand and watch (particularly when playing longer, more intricate tracks), it can lead the audience to get complacent and lose focus if they're not familiar with the sound (which is a shame, because the pit potential is there). 

After a post-set world record attempt at a longest "Yeah Boi" from Horror My Friend's Tom, (joined midway by a confused handshake), Hockey Dad made their way on stage. By now, the venue had reached capacity, and the Wollongong two-piece were raring from the sidelines of the merch table to rip into their set list from recently dropped album Boronia. By now also, a solid barrier-line had formed, as the sold-out venue were waiting eagerly in anticipation. Watching the start of the set from the balcony, the crowd literally moved like a wave as the pit motioned into the stage, before rolling back and resettling across the top of Hockey Dad's poppy, indie-surf sound. Gradually, someone would make their way to the stage before an attempted dive into the punter-ocean (now filling increasingly with sweat, and eventually blood), with disgruntled security staff on reluctant lifeguard duty. The repeated attempts to end or prevent stage dives culminated in guitarist/vocalist Zach taking a notable switch in demeanor from his angelic anthems to try and intervene. One man booed for doing his job later, and it was on with the show (and showcase of stage-dives). With such a raucous crowd, the band announced that Adelaide was now their new second favourite city (take that, world's most livable city) leading to enough of a pause in music for the crowd to demand the inevitable shoey for reluctant drummer Billy — if there's one way to negotiate anything, a pelting of sweaty shoes from strangers is often the missing bargaining chip. Zach pitched in with a shoe off his own foot to seal the deal (“do it out of my shoe, my foot's probably cleaner"), before the debut of a double-shoey

The NSW duo went on to perform a show laden with big hits both on the stage and in the crowd, complete with final track 'Seaweed,' before an encore of 'Beach House'. In the true spirit of the evening, the encore chants were complete with chants for ol' mate Harambe. The pit stayed at full energy for the duration of the show, resulting in one bloodied nose from vest-warrior Rhyce Frittum, and was ended with a stage-dive from each of member of all of the bands — a solid reminder: unless it's a warranted request, whatever you ask a room full of alcohol incarnate not to do, spite always wins.

Hockey Dad ultimately delivered an energetic and talented reminder of what they're capable of as a band, and where their sound is taking them as they continue to develop from extensive touring and warranted critical acclaim.

Hockey Dad's debut album Boronia is available here.