Words by Patrick Martin
Photos by Wade Whitington
Christmas parties always have the habit of setting you up for disappointment. Drunk bosses, frisky co-workers and cheap buffets are the perfect mix for disaster. But when Bad//Dreems are in control you can be assured that your Christmas party will be anything but disastrous. As the Adelaide lads rolled in to Fat Controller for their last headline show of the year with a few friends in tow, no one could have predicted the pure chaos that ensued.
If only every Christmas party was this wild…
As the sold out crowd began pouring down the staircase it was The Hard Aches who welcomed in the Christmas spirit with some hearty rock and roll. After recently winning the Triple J Unearthed Competition to play Laneway Festival in Adelaide next year, it quickly becomes clear why they were selected. Playing a slew of tunes from the debut album Pheromones, the two-piece are tight and loud. Songs like ‘Loser’ and ‘I Get Like This’ get the mosh swirling as a few enthusiastic punters clash in a mini circle pit. The Hard Aches have built their reputation around their live show and they don’t disappoint. Bad//Dreems won the same Triple J Unearthed award in 2014 – it seems it won’t be long before The Hard Aches reach the same dizzying heights.
As the room swelled to capacity and the beers flowed steadily, members of Bad//Dreems and West Thebarton Brothel Party could be seen moving to the front of the room to catch a rare set from Adelaide legends Special Patrol. While the sight of an acoustic guitar and cello on stage at Fat Controller is a rare experience, it is even rarer to see a set received with such reverence. As Baddies Ben Marwe watched intently from side-stage, Special Patrol moved comfortably though a set of genuine, heart-warming alt-folk rock. It was a masterful mid-evening change up, giving the audience some respite from the reverb. As the drummer and bass player exchanged jokes, the rest of the band beamed from ear-to-ear. “Thanks to Bad//Dreems for getting us out of bed,” quipped the lead singer – a reference to the fact that this was only the second show in nearly five years they had played together as a band. With a quick unexpected cameo from Marwe on vocals and a casual wave, Special Patrol were gone. Rarely has Adelaide seen a band with such a genuine and natural sound, let us all hope they play another show again real soon.
As the lights dimmed and Bad//Dreems idled onto stage, the crowd heaved forward. Ben Marwe leered around the stage like a predator chasing its prey. The people in the front row were crushed up against the barrier, and then and only then did they opened with ‘New Boys’. As bodies crashed and rolled over each other, the band moved through their set at a breakneck speed. ‘Hoping For’, ‘Cuffed and Collared’ and ‘Naden’ were all early set highlights which were delivered with such ferocity that the crowd never seemed to stop bouncing.
While the majority of the set focused on cuts from their debut album ‘Hiding To Nothing’, Baddies still found time to work their way back to earlier songs such as ‘Caroline’ off their debut EP Badlands. And just as the set heated right up the unthinkable happened – the front barrier snapped. As security guards and Fat Controller management leapt onto stage to reinforce the barrier, Bad//Dreems just carried on undeterred. As punters were pulled out from the front of stage, one enthusiastic punter began swinging from the lighting rig. It was chaos and it was well and truly rock and roll. A brief moment of relief came with the mid set rendition of ‘My Only Friend’ but it was brief. Vicious versions of ‘Bogan Pride’ and ‘Dumb Idea’ closed out the set, as the front row limped away after nearly an hour and a half of battery. Bad//Dreems are custom built for the live setting and they absolutely nailed it Friday night.
It is probably the best Christmas present we’ll get this year.
We can all only hope that every Christmas party is as wild as this one was.