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29 February

Special Guest Review by Tom Mantle
Photos by Chris Symes

The Dune Rats are the soundtrack to your kick-ons. But not the actual kick-ons, the kick-ons you imagine in the Uber on the way there with those legends you just met 45 minutes ago at somewhere like Lucy’s Love Shack. If you imagine hard enough, you just might get there. But probably not ay.

While herds of Perth music fans made their way to the ‘highway to hell’ event as part of Perth festival falling on the 40th anniversary of front man Bon Scott’s funeral, a smaller yet equally vocal and likely rowdier contingent of larrikin youths descended upon Metro’s City for the Perth leg of AC/DC’ cultural grandsons; The Dune Rats ‘Hurry Up And Wait’ album tour.

Dunies brought mates along for the ride with three supports acts perhaps reflecting the need for stacked bills to increase ticket sales in a tight economy. In this reviewers opinion the hefty lineup gave a festival feel to the event and the sense of mateship between the acts and fans alike was palpable. Totty, Dear Seattle & Ruby Fields were the acts lucky enough to be a part of what was very likely a loose tour. The cleverly selected support acts reflected the Dune Rats anthemic writing style with Dear Seattle being a clear standout, an incredibly tight outfit ringing echos of Gyroscope and American pop punk bands form the naughties.

Each support act held their own and the $10 beers were flowing, chased down by a mouthful of ‘vibe’. However, we were clearly “hurry up and waiting” for the main event; our good old boys the Dune Rats. A curtain was raised depicting The Dune Rats Rat drawn in the style of 90’s cartoons that the majority early to mid 20’s punters would recognise. Nostalgia is a strong theme with the Dune Rats aesthetic from the ‘Bay Watch’ theme T-Shirts to the songwriting and the way the tunes are performed. With a few hiccups from the FOH team adding to the overall feeling of the looseness and realness of the event (weirdly not a bad thing), the tension grew as we waited for Danny, BC & Brett to hit the stage.

All of a sudden ‘BAM’, the lads were clearly not here to fuck spiders. The curtain dropped with an explosive light show bringing to life the screaming first track of the Dune Rats set, ‘Bobby D’. A perfect tune to open the night the song being a light hearted service to the Dunie’s fans aka those “crazy mother fuckers.” They certainly were with legs, mullets and beers flying around in the sweaty pit from the second the first chord was struck.

As the set progressed the energy maintained and the boys gave us absolute classics like ‘Scott Green’ & ‘Bullshit’ that revved the already hyped crowd into a frenzy. With a few blemishes in performance (think Nirvana), Dune Rats are a refined band that aren’t afraid to rock hard enough to make mistakes. A good punk show indeed.

As I was swept away and pulled into the performance I couldn’t help but notice The Dunies writing formula. Kurt Cobain spoke about verse chorus verse yet The Dunies seem to find it more effective to constantly hit us with; Chorus, Chorus, Solo, Bridge (if you’re feeling spicy) Chorus. Does our Netflix, Uber & Tinder ingrained culture encourage this instant gratifcation in songwriting? Regardless, it seemed to work and The Dune Rats still seem to be able to say something and connect to youth culture, that seems to want to be able to switch off from our over complicated world and just rock the fuck out sometimes.

The beers flowed as did the vibe and my almost illegible notes and shaky memory lead me to believe that ‘Aussie Punk Rock’ is truly here forever. Dune Rats and co. are reforging something bands like The Angels, AC/DC and of course Cosmic Psychos set in stone decades before. I for one am fucking glad that in an oversaturated market of DJ’s and vapid inane pop songs, that there’s still some guys and girls out there who want to get sweaty and weird in a mosh pit to the screaming sound of pentatonic guitar solos and yelled lines about sometimes meaningful and sometimes meaningless ‘Bullshit…’

Tom ‘Big Tommo’ Mantle

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