The Datsuns at The Annandale, Sydney


All hail The Datsuns!

Rock and roll is meant to be good fun – The Datsuns know this and aren’t trying to pull any punches – there’s no indulgent posturing going on, just loads of swagger that doesn’t take itself seriously, beer swilling, caterwauling, solid guitar work, and getting their sweaty-faced fans involved in the action – I learned on Sunday night that you don’t go to one of their gigs and leave disaffected. Their exuberance, second only to their high energy songs, will get you. It’s everything a rock and roll gig should be.

Sunday night and I’m stepping down off the tail of a breeze – there’s a windstorm kicking through Sydney, lashing at the Annandale’s doors and windows – once inside I look around to find Charlie Chaplin is getting up to no good on the television while the majority of the night’s tickets are barely being kept on their leashes by The Treatment – that’s no insult to the band, their wailing guitars and voices paired with an electric on stage presence had everyone going and made a perfect introduction for the headliners; but there was an undeniable tension in the air – everyone was here for one reason and every minute was ticking closer to the moment they set their shiny boots on stage.

The Datsuns have secured a following and every single breath was held until their Marshalls roared with familiar sound – take for example the half a dozen ultra-keen devotees with an almost religious fanaticism up front while the rest of the crowd began rolling in during the break – their arms up, fists curled tight, eyes wide, ready to soak up whatever singer De Borst might throw at them. By the time the man in question had come strutting out, head back as he downed the last of his beer, bodies were pressed tight and the tension prickling earlier had gone ballistic – it was a feeling sustained to the last note of the last song – a thread that held the room in thrall, and which had numerous fans throughout the night uttering “aw fuck yeah… shiiiiiiiiiit” during some of the more intricate melodies as the The Datsun’s demonstrated their prowess.

The set list spanned the best of their catalogue, and whether it be one of their most notable songs ala “Harmonic Generator” or “Human Error”, or a goodie from their latest offering “Death Rattle Boogie”, the result was the same – songs played like a riot, with thrill and skill. And it only made the crowd want more. Early on, snapping away at the stage, a forty-something in white chucks and a band t-shirt of some description asked if the photos I was taking were for my Facebook cover – I informed her they were actually for this very site, when she said “please mention me, I’m Tammy, and this is my first rock and roll gig in twenty years!” Halfway through, I look up and there is Tammy crowd surfing – I throw out an arm to keep her aloft, and egg her on. She’s transcended age, she’s timeless – she’s young again. That’s the best thing about a band like The Datsuns, they beat the crap out of any worries you walked into the gig beholding, and before long you’re shaking your head, tapping your foot and raising your beer in toast to a satisfying number – I felt like I did in 2002 – seventeen and green. There was a feeling on Sunday that if you’re going to worship anything, then rock and roll should probably be your cause and that The Datsuns are damn good for the uninitiated.

Here’s a band in their prime and Death Rattle Boogie adds weight to a discography that is already heavily armed with awesome. Make sure you add seeing them live to your list. There’s no disappointment to be found.

victoria michelle


Words and pictures by Victoria Mietchen.