The last time I was in The Crofters (The Croft as it was then called) was to witness a typically off-the-hinge night when the Dwarves were in town and oversold the venue by about 500% and the only way they could leave was to trash the equipment and crowd surf out the back of the audience. Tonight I’m happy to report is not full of the same madness well, when I say happy what I meant was a little disappointed it wasn’t jam-packed like sardines into this compact back room that still looks like a converted squash court but when you are in its all about the music and first up tonight were fellow Australians These New South Whales (when I say fellow I mean like the headliners, I’m not Australian) but I do hail from the original South Wales across the bridge. Anyway, I digress. My only experience with these young upstarts was my travelling companion sending me a link to watch their Comedy Central mockumentary.
To say from the moment they kicked off their no-nonsense punk rock I was hooked would be an understatement they reminded me of a punked-up Cabbage with fire in their bellies and a pocket full of very listenable tunes. Don’t ask me to name any of the songs because I’d be fucked if I know them yet but I can assure you I will as soon as the records arrive at RPM HQ so impressed was I they were duly ordered upon my return. A tight as fuck and a super solid rhythm section with a thumping drum beat and fulsome bass throb the melodies weren’t your usual shouty punk fair instead the singer actually sang the melodies and with a stinging guitar they have certainly got the chops to head up the pecking order of Australian invasion bands. they’re not afraid to mix it up either with more indie sound melodies but don’t be fooled these guys have got one hell of a bite. Really impressed and will certainly be hearing more of these Whales. Excellent start to the evening.
Right, it’s time for Civic who I managed to miss when they had a brief visit earlier this year and back in 2019 when they ventured over here. With a mightily impressive album under their belts in 2023 Civic are currently challenging for the top spot and quite how they’re playing venues (all be it cool) like The Crofters when The Chats and Amyl are selling out venues 10 times the size of this place is a debate for another time. Civic don’t fuck about, their no-nonsense to muscle proto-punk is an absolute joy. Sounding like a melting pot of the Saints having a dust up with Radio Birdman tunes whilst riffing off the dead boys decaying bones at their brutal best, wishing they were The Stooges but on steroids is about where I pitch Civic at this current time. Starting the set with the minimum of fuss ‘Selling, Sucking, Blackmail, Bribes’ quickly followed by a stunning version of ‘New Vietnam’ felt like being stood on the track as an Amtrak special ploughed you into oblivion. Life-affirming punk rock at its finest. Tight as drum these fuckers make one hell of a beautiful din. It’s fast, it’s frantic but boy is it good. Seeing as they had a new album to promote (not the reissue of New Vietnam) I’m on about ‘Taken By Force’, they only managed a few tunes off it instead digging back into ‘Future Forcast’ but a fist-pumping ‘Blood Rushes’ and ‘Taken By Force’ almost devastating the venue such was its raw power.
Hell, they were barely on stage for forty-five minutes but that was all it took to prove that punk rock n roll is in good hands or, at least down under it is. rude health I think is the correct term. It was after all a school night but to be fair ‘Radiant Eye’ got a wicked little pit going all it was missing was the horn section but that’s ok its a thumping tune anyway and a few tracks later we were done.
Civic will take some beating and the next time they hit these shores it should be in much bigger venues but if they’re happy to play these small shows then bring it on I’m all in wherever. Less than a dozen songs in less than an hour is just about right on the money and for £12 entry I’ll attend these life-affirming rock n roll shows every single time.
All hail Civic they deserve a bigger reception next time, My new favourite band from Down Under. Stiff Richards next please, thanks.
Author: Dom Daley