Review: West Thebarton Brothel Party at Ed Castle Hotel

Words by Matthew Hayward
Photos by Dave Court

It's hard to believe it's been almost four months and one sweaty long summer since trailblazing garage rockers West Thebarton Brothel Party last appeared in Adelaide. The ludicrously named seven piece have been exceptionally busy, playing a wealth of interstate festival dates as well as putting the finishing touches on their debut album set for release later this year. Tonight sees the band play a rapturous sold out homecoming show at the Ed Castle for their Moving Out single tour, with help from fellow compatriots Hydromedusa and Bec Stevens.

Fresh from her own co-headlining national solo tour with Georgia Maq, Tassie transplant Bec Stevens is in full band mode for the sizeable early crowd. An engaging performer, Stevens' confessional and earnest songs capture the autobiographical nature of her subject matter. Songs such as 'Armed With The Past' and 'Trigger' cut deep with lingering uncomfortable truths and emotional resonance.  With a raw honesty and delivery akin to an Exit in Guyville era Liz Phair with some more recent emo folk introspection thrown in, Bec Stevens remains a talent on the rise.

After an extended set up and line check fellow locals Hydromedusa took to the stage. Hydromedusa bring a revitalised brand of swagger and thick muddy riffage that recalls classic bell bottom era Sabbath and bong ripping desert rockers Kyuss. Concealed with morph suit mask and black shades singer Troy Jezierski snarled his way into the audience like the invisible man crooning about the end of days. Make no mistake, there is a strong possibility this band came here to destroy. No, they do not take kindly to wimps. Having moved away from their earlier doom metal leanings (the 23 minute sprawling epic 'Pemulwuy' being a personal favourite), the band focused on songs primarily from their self-titled LP and their upcoming new "7 'Parasite', to be released through Clarity Records. Get in early and buy local kids, this shit definitely won't last.

Unfortunately at this point it had become irritatingly apparent that the audience to dickhead quota had been seriously raised in the room. Drunk and obnoxious male punters: you are now on notice and can no longer feign ignorance for stupidity. If the band you have come to see are politely asking you to please refrain from either throwing yourself around and hurting women or aggressively threatening them, you are no longer welcome at the show. Or any show, ever for that matter. Go be a cop or something. Perhaps these are the growing pains that many bands face in 2017 with having larger audiences… but then again, assholes.

The fight continues.

West Thebarton Brothel Party have come a very long way since their early in-jokey beginnings, exciting audiences with their meat and potatoes brand of working class rock and explosive live shows.  It's still a refreshing cultural about face for a band to be so unashamedly and quintessentially South Australian, aspiring to the loftier heights of fellow contemporaries such as Bad\\Dreems and The Peep Tempel.  Their latest single 'Moving Out', which gained spot rotation on triple j is an ode not only to malaise of early twenties independence, but also to the festival city itself; name dropping the worst to best of the western suburbs locales according to liveability.

Opening with 'Billions', bandleader Ray Dalfsen and company tore through the bands most recognisable material in quick succession.  The band showcased their best with the inebriated anxiety of 'Red or White', followed in tandem with the uni degree to job queue group camaraderie of one their more recent tracks 'Dolewave'. New songs punctuated the bands set throughout, with a Royal Headache inspired number at one point extending the mosh pit all the way back to the mixing desk.

A brief yet aborted Q&A session whilst dealing with an intermittent power supply allowed the beer sodden crowd with a brief respite before the band launched into final crowd favourite 'Glenn McGrath' and the encore thrash invitational of 'Chemotherapy'.

West Thebarton Brothel Party deserve to be celebrated as our next great SA band done good, a group of fairly down to earth guys who pen some smartly written left of field garage rock. Hopefully some of their more opportunistic fans will get the hint and come along with them for the ride next time.