Review: Bleeding Knees Club at Rocket Bar

Words by Timothea Moylan
Photos by Danny Howe

It’s a cold night in Adelaide, but inside Rocket Bar it feels a lot like summer.

And thank God, because I’ve spent the last week bemoaning winter coats and layered blankets and my dying relationship with the beach. This show couldn’t have been better timed, because there’s nothing like sun-drenched garage punk and sloshing pints to make you forget the winter blues.

Local four-piece The Yardsharks open with an energetic set that gets the sweat glands going. There’s a good-humoured intensity to both their sound and their stage presence – tight, surf-driven tunes that make you want to jump on the nearest skateboard and go for a cruise.

Goon Wizarrd follow with their unique brand of lo-fi goodness. Just when you’re getting comfortable with the heavy psych elements of their sound, they tear it up in an instant with raw punk attitude. It’s wonderfully jarring and at the same time, somehow seamless. Don’t ask, just go and watch – trust me.

Gold Coast boys Bleeding Knees Club dropped their latest EP ‘Chew The Gum’ in April. The four-track offering – clocking in at a total of eleven minutes – is packed with all the garage-y good vibes and energy you could hope for. In a live context, the band takes the aforementioned garage-y good vibes and energy through the roof. (Almost literally – I wait with bated breath for several crowd surfers’ Vans-clad feet to take down the lighting rig, and am surprised when crisis is averted.)

Broken amp early in the set? No big deal! While a sound tech leaps onto the stage to take a look at the damage, Bleeding Knees Club tear through a rough and ready cover of Chumbawumba’s classic 90s anthem ‘Tubthumping’ (complete with falsetto vocals), followed by a tongue in cheek rendition of the Australian national anthem. And then we’re good to go.

Older favourite ‘Teenage Girls’ has happy punters pitching their bodies repeatedly off the stage, while ‘Beach Slut’ earns a swaying and thrashing circle pit. The band seem content with the chaos they’ve instigated, so much so that vocalist Alex Wall eventually abandons the stage to briefly join the crowd surfers.

Bleeding Knees Club make music that’s fun to listen to, but as I discover, best enjoyed when played to a small, sweaty and enthusiastic crowd in a darkened bar. Sadly, there’s no encore, but I don’t think anyone leaves disappointed – just happy and somewhat bruised.

Bleeding Knees Club are touring until 2nd June - click here for dates and here to check out their (NSFW) video for 'Chew The Gum'.