Sticky Fingers live in Sydney – review

sticky fingers by Colin Lucas

Laying down jams tighter than a tiger in spandex, rocking cricket shorts, sunglasses inside and shirts completely unbuttoned; Sticky Fingers are more legit than the word itself. James Jamhound Booker checked them out live at The Metro:

Having grown up on the north side of Sydney, moving to the Inner West only a few years ago, I was not fully aware of how auspicious Sticky Fingers have become. I had met their bass player Patty, from being in a band in the same vicinity, I had heard their songs on the radio, liked them and was vaguely aware of their status in Sydney. Nobody told me how ridiculously awesome a show they were going to put on. I left the joint thinking I was somehow pregnant.

The support acts chosen for the night are certainly on the way to building a reputation for themselves as well. The Walking Who were first on and played an overall charming set. Having parted ways with deceased band Blind Valley (R.I.P.) and continuing to play alongside fellow psych-rockers The Tsars, the musically-promiscuous Steven ‘Hicksey’ Hicks joined the group recently to play keys. With simple but effective chord progressions, filled out nicely by Steven’s spacey key pads, the band’s formula for songwriting seems to work in their favour, endearing the early-bird audience of about 3-400 to them quite nicely. These guys have some really catchy songs and I expect they are on the way up. I don’t see many left handed drummers bossn’ it these days either, so big upps to south-pawed drummer Paul Mclean for all the re-arranging of kits you have most likely done in your lifetime #Repre$ENT

Second to the stage were Bootleg Rascal, who rocked up in full mariachi gear, massive black sombreros and all. Apparently the costumes are from a forthcoming music video, so keep your eyes peeled for that hilarity. With ska/reggae grooves, they were accepted well by The Metro, which looked at this point to be reaching capacity (by the second support, no less). The band are old mates of the headlining act and joined them on their tour of Europe last year, which I would imagine made for a hectic leg given the groups’ congenial sounds and attitudes. They were serious jokers, the bass/keyboardist instructing; “Ladies, grind on the biggest dick you can find for this next one,” through a robot voice vocoder for one of their sexier songs. Their music was not too dissimilar from Sticky Fingers in approach – fun poppy reggae with the musical chops and charisma to back it up with integrity. There were a few points in their set where lead guitarist Jimmy audibly got the crowd to “wooow!” at his shrevidence. One solo in particular was completely enormous. I saw many a bro tap his sidemate on the shoulder and give a nod like “fuck, that guy’s pretty legit hey”. Oath.

Seeing how I like to give a recount of all the acts for the gigs I review, I should mention at this point that the DJ on the night was a bit of a tool, to be blunt. He said some seriously cringeworthy stuff that didn’t seem to get anyone more excited than they were before he said it. “Isn’t it finally great to see some ‘reeeeal music’ for once in this sad city of ours?!” Nah man! I see and hear real great music every week in Sydney, what’s your angle?

By the time Bootleg Rascal left the stage, the Metro Theatre was packed quite densely with an all-sorts crowd of chicks, dudes, ladies and gentlemen, all brimming with excitement from what they had just seen and were about to experience. I was really quite surprised to see that the venue was much fuller than when I saw Tame Impala companion band POND late last year.

Sticky Fingers gave a cheeky-ass gap between their set time and the previous act, I bet a couple of the younger fanboys up front were ready to jizz at just a touch from the suspense. I was imagining the band backstage, chill as all fuck, being like “you reckon we can get them to cheer our name before we go on tonight?” Didn’t take too long before my musing was justified as the audience began to chant ‘stiiiiicky fiiiingers!’ for about a minute, getting louder and louder, before the band finally waltzed on stage. Hopefully the boys and girls up front didn’t make too much of a mess.

Singer Dylan Frost rolled on like a fuckn’ Rock Star. As much as I hate that term the guy totally looked the part – and fuck, there we’re enough people come out to see him to warrant it. I remember while The Walking Who were still playing I saw this dude up on the mezzanine wearing bigass sunglasses thinking ‘haha! Get a load of this dude, he’s dressed like he’s playing tonight’. Hour and a bit later the same dude walks out in the same glasses and open button shirt to entertain a couple thousand people. Really gotta stop putting prejudice on dudes wearing sunglasses inside, cos it’s evidently a mark of greatness.

The band have definitely polished their music to a squeak and I found myself wondering for a whole song how the lead guitarist crafted his sound. It was as if the strings were being hit by hammers, like a harpsichord or piano, inside Zelda’s water temple. His playing had a certain snap to it but the sustain of the notes collected an interestingly dull/bright tone, each strum sounding like it slapped water and then submerged… eh, guitar sorcery. Perhaps his cricket shorts, way above the knee (ladies), were the source of his power. The relationship between drums and bass was well woven, perhaps as interesting as the guitar sounds to whatever percentage of the audience understand how hard it is to stay in the pocket – neither behind or in front of the beat, just groovin’.

Sticky Fingers had an enviably cool and encouraging crowd, singing along to almost every song. At times the audience’s harmony was even louder than the band themselves, which I reckon is pretty amazing given The Metro Theatre’s serious sound system. Songs Clouds & Cream and Gold Snafu were sure crowd favourites and certainly had me bouncing along with the hooks and grooves. Jimmy of Bootleg Rascal, now donning regular jeans and t-shirt, joined the stage for the final quarter of the set to provide some extra guitar and vocals. A few other people came on with tambourines or simple dance moves and the group occupying the stage began to look like more of a party than a band.

Towards the end of their set, the band quite abruptly walked off stage, probs to cop a quick beer and let the crowd freak out for a couple minutes. ‘What?! They can’t be done yet? You guys? Omg they haven’t played my song yet!… maybe if we chant their name again they’ll come back on – Everybody, together!’

The encore was obvious, but super effective, and when the band came back on to play Australia Street the place went legitimately hysterical. Actually tho. The front ten rows of the joint we’re jumping in unison and the whole standing area was jiving, shoving or supporting the flight of crowd surfers for the bands’ last song.

I think the most important factor of Sticky Fingers’ success at the moment, aside from making great tunes, is how easily approachable they make themselves appear as individuals and as a crew, any of their music videos will illustrate this if you don’t already know what I mean. Before the show I shot Patty a message telling him I’d be reviewing the night and as I was walking out I saw him getting pictures and shaking hands with all the chicks and dudes who had been up front for most of the set. I waved at him on the way out as he was getting swamped and he shouted over the clamour ‘Jamhound bra! How are ya?!, If ya write us a shit review I’ll smash ya cunn!’. Dreaming mate.

Charming dudes playing awesome music, go scope it next you get a chance.

james booker


Sticky Fingers live in Sydney review by James Jamhound Booker. Photo by Colin Lucas, stolen with love from the  Sticky Fingers Facebook page.