Review: Extended Family's Second Birthday

Words by Freya Langley
Photos by Mariah Anzil

Saturday night saw the Crown and Anchor filled to capacity with glitter-covered punters and a carefully-selected handful of local and interstate acts. The occasion? Extended Family’s second birthday party. Featuring a stellar line-up of bands who call Adelaide home, and others who call it their home away from home, this birthday party was truly something special. Featuring the likes of Adelaide’s The Brothers Goon, No Oaths, Stranger Things Have Happened, and Bec Stevens  and interstate friends, Squid Fishing, Ruby Markwell, The Flying So High O’s and FOLEY!, the birthday party guests were certainly in for a treat. With the familiar Cranka band room decorated with streamers and balloons, the scene was set for a special celebration of music and friendship.  

Locals, No Oaths, formerly Roadhouse took to the stage with their brand of post-punk/alt-rock, or as they joked on stage “neo-classical fuck you, Dylan”. The incorporation of violin into their set was mesmerising and a valuable and unique inclusion in their already strong line-up.

The crowd in the tiny band room multiplied when Ruby Markwell, of Melbourne’s The Football Club, appeared on stage. Appropriately dressed in a party hat, the singer/songwriter delivered a heartfelt and emotional set, performing solo-renditions of her band’s Footscray folk-punk. An entertaining and honest performer, Ruby has a truly rare and unique talent for crowd engagement. Joking and laughing throughout the set, she smoothly incorporated humour and clever banter into her performance. An adoring crowd sang along to all of her songs and hung off of every word she spoke. Performing favourites, 'Ivy' and 'How To Build A Girl', Ruby delivered a truly magical and captivating set.

Squid Fishing brought their un-ignorable folk-punk across the Bass Strait to an equally energetic Adelaide crowd. The Hobart natives delivered a high-energy and infinitely fun set. Lead Vocalist, Zena Mohamad’s voice is absolutely commanding. When she sings, everyone stops to give one-hundred percent of their attention to the band. “Grab a stranger. We all have friends here, grab a stranger instead and have a dance”, was her instruction to the crowd, as the band launched into their bluesy final song.

Stranger Things Have Happened followed with a truly magical, purely instrumental performance. Without exaggerating, this band perhaps sounded the best out of any band that has ever performed in the dark, dank, Cranka band room. Explosive and intricate guitar solos layered over rolling drums hypnotised the crowd. Such an engaging and emotive performance without vocals is a credit to the band and it is a crying shame that this was one of their last shows.

Dressed in a tutu and covered and glitter, Bec Stevens and her band (formerly Hyder Seek) delivered a strong and emotional set to another adoring crowd. Performing songs that make you want to dance, cry and hold hands with your best friend all at once, Stevens and her band are undoubtedly among some of Adelaide’s finest. Having “thrown together” a cover of Alabama Shakes’ 'Hold On' just two nights before, you definitely could not tell this was the case. Concluding with a tear-jerking rendition of 'Ten Minute Drive', Bec and her band left the crowd warm and buzzing for the next band.

FOLEY! topped off the evening with a high-energy set of rambling punk noise. The Melbourne three-piece delivers a nostalgic, narrative-heavy brand of emo-folk-punk, featuring comforting ocker-Aussie vocals and familiar, energetic guitars. Friends dived off the stage and carried each other as they surfed over the swelling crowd.

As I write this review, familiar and warm are two themes that recur throughout my recollection of the night, and that is a testament to the culture Sianne has fostered through Extended Family and the musicians through their craft. Adelaide can be a cliquey and incestuous place, with shows often being isolating for those without friends in whatever “scene”.  Extended Family counters this – a true example of hospitality, openness and friendship for all in attendance. This is not a transparent act or mask to pull punters to their shows; it’s a genuine and honest feeling of familiarity and comfort of an open door, good music and friends. It’s unpolished, raw, heartfelt and honest. Its acceptance, support and love – just what you’d expect from your Extended Family.