It has been several years since I’ve seen the Grates, not since before the release of their first album, and so I was excited to see this little firecracker of a pop band again!
The Vasco Era displayed their hectic rock and roll songs to a full house. They were loud and sort of messy, with drums, bass and guitar working together to try and kill everyone’s eardrums. Their songs had that wirery guitar and brutality of the Birthday part, while exhibiting subtle pop influences of The Pixies. The three Melbourne boys performed a slow and sombre version of The Grates own Sukkafish, turning it from the quirky, banjo laden song it was originally, to a lingering, heart-breaking number. This band has an element of danger to them; I’d hate to bump into them in some dark back alley, at least not with their instruments in hand!
The Grates charged on, opening with Science is Golden, to get the already pumped crowd going even more! The one thing that is most noticeable about the Grates, is that they interact with the audience, as if playing to a large group of friends, Patience cracking jokes and playing around with the people in the crowd as if they are her mates, which is something bands, even on the most local of levels never do anymore. Of course, it’s not their jobs to be friends with everyone, but in the case of the Grates, it helped create that relaxed, fun loving vibe that their eccentric pop music does. Another element to their performance that seems to baffle everyone is the energy they possess, more obviously the oddly sweet Patience, jumping, dancing, star jumping her way around the small stage from the get go, right till the end of the set. For Rock Boys, Patience pulled out her ribbon-on-a-stick and showed of her rhythmic gymnastics skills. Also played were crowd pleasers such as Inside Outside, people taking pleasure in shouting along with the ‘rude words’, and Burn Bridges, setting everybody off who wasn’t already! Their set was constantly on a high, packed with energy, with my personal favourite Trampoline, sounding rough and ready like I remember it from its first incarnation on ‘The Ouch. The Touch’ ep back in 2005.
I had never seen the Peninsular lounge so full of life as it was tonight, Patience even suggesting a renaming of Moorooduc to ‘Mooroo-Party-duc’! The Grates are a band that you can’t help but feel happy when hearing one of their light hearted tunes, and when their live renderings come to life, create one giant party!