Last month Sketch Method got together to celebrate the release of their latest single, ‘Panic! At The Costco’. Joined by Melbourne three piece Wolfpack, Canberra’s own Signs & Symbols and Box Dye. It’s was so nice to see all these bands back together after what had been a long stretch of no shows and cancelled tours, especially now looking back from our current lockdowns. The busy room and those piled in for the first set, contrasted the empty stage homing Box Dye’s logo atop a rotating film of stars, fires and rainbows. The Basement’s giant LED backdrop now as much a part of the venue as the many signed guitars strung from the roof. Now I should quickly preface this by saying I didn’t take any photos and since I didn’t want to burden you with my crayon drawings this will be a good old fashioned literary review!
Soaking the room with the rampant nostalgia of ‘Round The Twists’ theme song, Box Dye made their entry onstage, while evoking all kinds of strange buried childhood memories. Although I have actively tried to avoid reviewing the same bands over and over, I can’t seem to escape Box Dye and their relentless non-stop gig schedule. Their hard work prevailed with the release of their latest single, 'State Of Emergency', and sold out launch. Being familiar with a majority of their songs now, this set felt like The Box Dye Greatest Hits record, ‘Julia’ , 'Princess’ and ‘Stage Mum’ all staples since their origins in 2019. Resorted to a few songs in, the ominously named ‘sticky sticks’ made an appearance after a drum stick loss that flung across the stage. When done correctly live music is an inclusive and community centred experience, Box Dye are a constant reminder of this. Whether it’s casually including audience members in stage banter or having the words to ‘Best Friends Kids’ screamed back at them, Box Dye is great and I’d be lying if I said each show didn't get better than the last. Have you ever, ever felt like this?
For those who make it out to local shows, you will certainly know Signs & Symbols. They’ve been at it for a while and after a few shows you will come to expect several things from them. 1, They are going to whisk you between fast formidable punk tracks and big beautiful ballads at a moment's notice. 2, Somewhere in the set Callum is going to pop up from behind the drums and trade for guitar with Brent. Both equally outstanding on their respective instruments, it's always warmly appreciated when the band shifts gears. This time with a member injured and out on the bench, Signs & Symbols pushed through in a three piece formation. Having spent the previous two weeks crafting a brand new set of songs to suit the temporary lineup change, Signs & Symbols illustrated their strengths and no doubt, even surprised themselves with how well it came together. Opening track, 'Lifeboat', sounded as much like their old material as it did a fresh and reformed progression. To be part of a room where the songs don't exist outside is a special thing, especially when they were all written for one night in particular. Had I been told they laboured over those new songs for months on end I would have believed that too. So glad I got to witness these songs, here’s hoping they stick around for future sets to come.
Set off like a rocket, Melbourne power trio Wolfpack instantly peaked my interest when they sped through track after track of politically charged trash-punk tunes. Wolfpack's incredible musicianship prevalent with the dexterity and dynamics used to ease between unrelenting double pedal driven riffs and soft subtle reggae-esque sections. Barking from behind the drums, vocalist Tom cut through with snarls and bellows as each song flowed smoothly into the next. Since their inception in 2011, Wolfpack have raised over $52,000 for various organisations and charities. 100% DIY and not for profit, every dollar earned in merch and ticket sales has gone toward animal shelters, welfare and conservation. When supporting Wolfpack you know exactly where your money is headed. Captivated from the start, I was glued to the barrier. Honestly it’s so sticky I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to.
Finally breaking their 18 month dry spell, Sketch Method adorned the stage in a set of Costco uniforms, name tags and all. Despite being such a long time since their last gig, Sketch Method was once again a well oiled machine, as tight and as fast as they’ve ever been. Sketch Method are scene dads, whether you're coming through town or a local band, somewhere along the line you will have bumped into Joel, Zane or Jono running or attending your show. This particular evening they certainly were the parents of the bill. Box Dye, Signs & Symbols the children and Wolfpack the cool Uncles who you love to see when they’re in town. Zane’s shredding vocals were as powerful as they were moving and emotive when tearing through classics like ‘Asparagus’, ‘Pilot’, and 2019’s ‘Gladys’. Honestly, Zane can scream in my face any day. Rhythm section, Joel and Jono proceeded to play circles around the stage while Zane, shredding punctiliously, maintained direct blinkless eye contact with a punter in the front row. After a relenting and no doubt exhausting set the audience managed to wring an encore out of them. After quickly revising the chords and structure, Sketch Method wrapped up with an old favourite, ‘Rhonda’.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
3/3 forged Costco staff tags
(You will be hearing from Costco’s legal team very soon)