The Growl high-five Friday night

Photo 1 by Sophie Metcalfe

Gooching, Growling and Garbage Can drumming – Just another Friday night at Brighton Up Bar.

So Friday nights. They’re for throwing up arms in excitable fits of freedom. Your eyes are wide and you’ve just broken up with your inbox for a delicious weekend full of promises, whiskey and debauchery. Well, this is my experience MOST of the time. Last Friday night however the autumn slump had got to me, I found myself on the train home from work having no jovial pretences about the weekend ahead.

Nevertheless, I did my duty. I donned my kick around boots, slapped a questionable amount of eyeliner on, high-fived some Jack Daniels and headed out with a friend to Brighton Up Bar on Sydney’s Oxford Street.

Standing outside Lick-Her-Shop (brilliantly named booze store next door to the venue – Ed), I could hear the calamity inside and pulled a face of disgust “I’m not ready for this… rock n roll requires dedication and tenacity…”, but I took one deep breath and headed in.

So. The Gooch Palms. Murphy’s law eh? Not only was I not well lubricated enough for the scratchings of Brighton Up Bar, I had landed straight into a gang bang of one of the most razor sharp offensive punk rock acts that our dirty old city has to offer. I was not even through my first (Five Dolla Beer!?) when the lead singer Leroy had stripped himself bare, pulled the microphone to his man parts and was making rhythmic slapping noises.

Hello. Fridays?

Penises and profanities aside, the guys can surely wield their vocals, theremins and guitars – and if it wasn’t your thing then hey, at least there was a punch-up at the end. I do urge you to head along to one of their gigs for… a culturing experience?

Now Friday, okay, okay, you’ve proved your point. Next came The Growl and although I had a vague idea of what I was in for, tonight had proved it was going to be full of surprises. The Growl hail from Perth and have recently shared the touring wagon with their buddies Tame Impala. The six-piece crowded a corner of Brighton Up with a double bass, two drum kits, a beaten up trashcan drum and various other equipment; it was surely a cosy stage.

So, we were recovering from the molestation of Gooch Palms and if that was a gangbang, this could only be described as a candle lit slow-fuck. The Growl grabbed our weathered bodies and one by one the crowd merged into a collective puddle of soul. We were theirs. Lead singer Cameron Avery executes blues with relevant ease and commands your attention with such arresting presence. The guy has such a rich and delicious…voice?… yes… yes voice. A voice that had every woman and a good portion of the men dancing a dance that you could NOT take home to grandma…

A special mention goes out to their cover of ‘John the Revelator’, when we thought Avery had pulled out all stops, out comes the harmonica and again those vocals! Currently gigging around promoting their new EP Cleaver Lever. Avery also has his finger in many other musical pies collaborating with outfits such as POND, Abbe May and his own in studio project Avery & Co. Seeing The Growls made this all make sense as their set was not only passionate, but extremely professional. They could have easily been plucked out of this little venue and put on at the enormous Hordern Pavillion, and it wouldn’t have been out of place. I daresay we will be seeing these guys on stages of this calibre sometime soon, if they keep up that same stunning repartee.

So the time came where there was a call for last songs, the crowd puppy-dog eyed, pouted and threw a tantrum. But all good things must come to and end. It was 11:15pm or thereabouts… I walked out of Brighton Up my hair mussed, cheeks flushed and, with a cigarette in hand, I high-fived Friday night. Rolled over, and went to bed.



Words and pictures by Sophie Metcalfe.