I grew up in Hobart, and as I face my 10 year “Canberra-versary”, I have been missing my old stomping ground - so I was stoked when Hobart band ‘This is a Robbery,’ hit my band Semen and Garfuckel up to play with them and Melbourne-based Quinton Trembath at The Front. You’d think it was me who was living in Tassie (or maybe just under a rock), given I hadn’t heard of these guys before now. However since then, I’ve heard that Chris Burrows of TIAR has been kicking around the folk punk scene for years!
I met the guys at The Front early as dark clouds began to swell above us, in spite of the weather there were a few people milling about. By the time the show started, a decent group were relaxing both inside and on the tables outside, peering in through the glass.
The opening support for the night was Yass local, Ben the Red. Playing a selection of songs taken from his 2017 release ‘Songs from the little red shitbox,’ an aptly named homage of love to his former Honda Jazz. Ben’s songs are super catchy, he plays with intensity and emotion but can pull himself in to deliver melodies as syrupy sweet as those in one of my favourite songs in his set, ‘Cornflakes and Honey.’ Ben’s set was full of catchy hooks, and I have been singing his songs in my head for two days now. Go and check out the video for his song ‘ I think I need to talk,’ the finale to a fantastic set that had the crowd engaged and even ‘air drumming’ along.
As rain which had begun during the previous set was settling down, the crowd of people from inside moved out to enjoy the cool reprieve from the hot day. Quinton Trembath, in true DIY style decided to take his music out under the awning for his set. Quinton commanded attention without the aid of any amplification. The crowd was transfixed, only talking to sing along with his catchy hooks in songs like ‘ Tea Bags,’ from his 2017 release 'Souvenirs'. My housemate’s dog Zeek was present and I think probably enjoyed Quinton the most given he was able to sit up front and centre in the pet friendly outdoor area.
We were up next and the couple of pints I bought were settling in my stomach along with the usual nerves. We had a really fun time, and it was humbling to hear people singing along to some of our newer songs. It's also worth mentioning that it was so nice to have friends come out who haven't seen us before and I really appreciated your energy in the room. You also said really lovely things about hearing us again. I suppose it’s about time for Semen and Garfuckel to start thinking about doing our own EP… Watch this space.
By the time This is a Robbery played, I had learnt that the day before their drummer Gus mistakenly ate some peanuts and nearly went into anaphylaxis. Fortunately for us he appeared to be all good and sat happily upon his cajón – which in my opinion is an ideal fixture in any folk punk band. The guys played as they themselves are, down to Earth, a lot of fun and a little bit loose! Chris broke several strings and there were little breaks in the set as ‘muso-turned pit stop guitar tech’ Quinton, hurriedly restrung only to have Chris take his axe back and shred another string almost instantly.
Technical issues didn’t spoil the mood, and TIAR slayed songs like the one that hit me a little too close to home, ‘Jesus Bus,’ from their new release, ‘DIY Another Day’. The atmosphere throughout the whole night was one that seemed to inspire people to stick around and hang out which was super encouraging to see in Canberra on a Tuesday night! We’re glad you like folk punk Canberra, because we want to be bring a whole lot more of it to you. Also a big cheers to the staff at The Front who were absolutely lovely all night.
For more information and some seriously good music:
This is a Robbery - Bandcamp