Words by Paul Maland
If you made it along to Drunk Mums' August 6th show at The Ed Castle, you would've seen the crowd-surfs, shoeys, and stage-rushing that made South Australia's welcome to the Melbournites so very Adelaide — if you didn't, read on.
Opening up the night was the first of two Adelaide openers, Kitten Kong. The five-piece delivered a varied set of alternative, trashy-rock that was enough to lure punters into The Ed's band room and give a sly nod-along to, but, with the exception of their track 'Matthew Mcconaughey' (whose lyrics consist entirely of the words "Matthew Mcconaughey"), the boys' passionate simplicity didn't elicit a significant enough reaction to warrant a higher spot on the bill. Kitten Kong seem like they just need to refine their sound slightly, and they'll be kneading sky-scrapers in no time.
As the night progressed, the Ed's band room begin to intermittently flare up at the front of the pit. Two keen-eyed women, with even keener physicality, had a throw-back to the Riot grrrl movement as they openly dominated and rough-housed anyone who dare join in at the front. The passionate throws of gig-goers towards the otherwise empty front of the pit synchronised beautifully with the calculated, emotive build-ups and bridges of Goon Wizzard.
The three-piece had an immovable stage presence and song structure, that was ultimately spearheaded by the lead vocalist. Similarities in lyrical delivery to Smith Street Band's Wil Wagner, Australiana twanged criticisms and stream-of-thought vocal style, Ian MacKay of Fugazi and Minor Threat's call to the unacceptably accepted (such as a track that even risked alienating punters in the audience of a matching description — "he's got deadlocks in his hair, a UDL in his hand: the date-rape extraordinaire"), and a mashup of Ian Curtis from Joy Division and very early Beastie Boys (when the trio were still a hardcore punk band) are easily found to listeners with the time to form justified associations.
Goon Wizarrd also found themselves with a novelty track detailing how much your girlfriend would prefer to be sleeping with their drummer — truth being: with his skills behind the kit, it's not a far-reach from the truth, probably.
"This is easily our best Adelaide show yet."
Finally, after a brief conversation discussing whether or not Melbourne boys Drunk Mums will take their shoes off on-stage in an art imitating-life-imitating-art fashion (replicating a scene from their video clip) for 'Pub On My Own', and after the earth-shattering news of being told it had been nixed from the set-list, the group took stage.
Opening with crowd favourite 'Nanganator', the boys immediately had control of the room, and it was clear this was set to easily eclipse their last Adelaide appearance at an otherwise echoey Jive.
The group followed with 'Plastic' before delving into a few hits from Gone Troppo and their back-catalogue. Also impressive for a band, whose best-known song is about abusing nitrous-oxide filled whipped cream canisters, was the amount of punters singing along lyric-for-lyric, even to the slowed down but Queensland-centric lyrics of 'Vitamin D'. Along for the ride as the band submitted to chants for an otherwise refused pre-set shooey ("Nah, you can do one out of our shoe...") was WOD, who provided axe-support in preparation for his upcoming encore performance.
By this point, the crowd had amassed strongly at the front of the pit, falling into the stage, swaying corner-to-corner, with an uncountable but commendable amount of crowd-surfs for an otherwise low-to-mid-level crowd size. Undoubtedly, although the band has amassed a much larger following since their appearance last year, the gig was booked to a much more size appropriate venue; the Ed has all you need to get punters interested in your band, but only if there's enough people around: a bar next to the stage, a beer-garden to talk nonsense and cool-down at afterward, and other rooms to delve in and out of in between sets.
Drunk Mums channel the stereotypical Australianic tropes of our rural or prior-generational counterparts, but without a forced expression that comes with some bands that has you questioning their legitimacy. The band is not out to make you think they're true-blue, fair-dinkum 'Aussie as', but their lazy, accidentally catchy song structure, varying vocalists with varying styles and stage presence, and references to the mythical ethos that is Australian culture convey enough to leave you with your ticket price justified, and a feeling that you and a nation of Drunk Mums have done your country proud.
Header and body images courtesy Drunk Mums via Facebook