1 October, Big Top, Luna Park

This is going to sound like a big old whinge, and believe me it’s not, but I have to go to a lot of shows alone. It’s part of the job and I love it, in fact, I enjoy them all the more. Being able to really soak up the gig and the crowd without the distraction of a bunch of mates actually works in my favour.

There is no show I have enjoyed solo more than Sunday night at Sydney’s Luna Park.

With a line-up including Dune Rats, Hockey Dad, WAAX and San Diego’s Wavves, I’m sure you can understand why. In fact, if anyone there wasn’t sold on Dunies, this event proved why they truly are the homegrown heroes of Aussie punk rock.

Brisbane’s WAAX and Windang’s Hockey Dad opened strong, delivering the kind of performance we have come to expect from each.  WAAX’s Marie is a force of nature. Having seen a number of their shows this year, each and every time she and the other members of WAAX take the stage, her unapologetic rage is truly something special to watch. I have almost come to expect a jaw-dropping set every time. Hockey Dad filled the room, and while the duo

Hockey Dad filled the room, and while the duo are still on the rise, as I made my way through Luna Park beforehand they were who everyone was talking about. One guy exclaiming loudly to his friend “I don’t care how drunk I get afterwards, but I want to be in my right mind for Hockey Dad.” Well done boys, a stellar performance.

Flying over from the US, hard rockers Wavves brought a fun San Diego flavour to the show. Frontman Nathan Williams delivered the kind of crowd interaction you know comes from more than a decade of performing. Hammering the massive room with a mix of the old and the new, You’re Welcome, Idiot and Post Acid gave me enough adrenaline to last the whole evening.

With a quick nod to our current political clusterfuck of a plebiscite, the boys were dropping truths and dishing out the attitude all night long. Definitely a new favourite, and with a new album out this year, there is no better time to sink your teeth in.

When Dune Rats finally took to the stage the venue was heaving. And boy do they know how to put on a show. The set opened with a video of the boys coming from the green room and onto the stage, infused with their filthy and fantastic banter.

With enormous inflatable self-branded tinnies, blinding lights, and three huge screens flashing caricatures of the band throughout the set, there was no opportunity for the energy to fall into a lull. Rattling off a 45 minute show including Fuck It, Red Light Green Light and Bullshit, Dune Rats made it clear that they are incapable of giving us a dud song.

Each with more intensity than the one before, their set list was a mix of new tracks and old favourites. Scott Green took us towards the end, and I thought that the show couldn’t get better. Wrong!  Inviting the guys from Skegss and Gooch Palms on stage, the golden cohort gave the crowd one of the best renditions ever of Skegss’ New York California and I just about died from happiness.

That sickly embarrassing bliss where you almost have a tear in your eye kind of happiness. AND THEN, as if it couldn’t get better, MC Trials of AB Original got up and shredded it to pieces, proving to me that Australian music is capable of being incredibly malleable. Somehow the spitfire lyricism of Trials and the filthy garage of Dunies just worked and worked beautifully. Pray this is not the end of that musical relationship.

This show was outstanding, a highlight of my year for sure.  My only criticism would be the venue. While The Big Top is a great space, there was a lot of time between sets, great for the smokers and people with small bladders, not so great if you are stuck in a moshpit with the lights on covered in sweat. A venue with multiple stages might have worked better.

I left the evening convinced that if there is a band that absolutely lives and breathes their act and live show it’s Dune Rats. While their sound and ethos might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is impossible to deny that they are the epitome of dedication and passion for great sound and for their fans.

Cheers for a top night guys, and bring on the next one.