Review by Jake Suriano & Tiger Ranguetat.
Photos by Mitch Conti.
If you didn’t have the chance to make it to the Beat last Friday for FOAM’s ‘Sarpa Salpa’ EP launch, then you missed out one heck of a roster. FOAM managed to snag some of Perth’s most quintessentially unique psychedelic/funk/electro/alternative/punk/garage and whatever other genre classifications you can come up with, all lined up for their big night.
ENERGY COMMISSION kicked off the night with an energetic and quirky set, covering Devo’s debut album ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!’. Adorned in orange bin bag costumes the six-piece where a joy to watch. The songs were performed faithfully, recreating the complex rhythms and interesting key parts with striking ease.
Up next were the monstrous two-piece, PUCK. Both members (Liam Young and Steve Turnock) hail from the already well-established Novacaine’s and their performing experience really shows. Their bass heavy, dual amp attack pumped out a strong set of stoner Rock jams which definitely got heads banging. Special mention should be given to drummer Liam and his ability to not only sing, but nail his notes while continuing to hold down a solid groove.
Things got a little funkier as HUNTING HUXLEY’s tight and decidedly 70’s influenced Psychedelia hit the stage. Regarded as one of Perth’s most polished and energetic live bands, the three-piece manage to arrange ambient aural architecture, while simultaneously rocking out like few others can do. It’s not often to see a group of musicians play together as seamlessly as these three guys, but that’s exactly what they did.
Finally we were on to the band of the night, FOAM. The three members – Harley Barnaby, Jackson Hawdon and Joel Martin have been gigging around for a while now supporting the likes of the Love Junkies and Blackmilk to name a couple. It’s been almost a year since they were in the studio with Corey Marriot (vocalist from the Novacaines) to record their debut EP ‘Sarpa Salpa’ and the time has finally come to reveal it to the world. The garage-rockabilly release brings to mind a number of influences that the band is probably tired of hearing. Stray Cats, the Living End and the obligatory Nirvana reference – but it definitely stands on its own away from all these pigeon-holes. Of course as their first release it’s a big deal, but the band has developed since they laid down those four tracks and it would be unjust to ignore the sheer intensity of their live show. One thing to know about FOAM is that they are loud, not deafeningly so, but if you don’t like your music full of energy, then you won’t like FOAM, pure and simple.
Coming fresh from a hectic gig the night before at Fly By Night’s Jugular closing after Mai Barnes, Stuart L Holmes, Furchick/Brown and Instant Gratification, the band may well have felt somewhat drained, but if they were they didn’t show it, and they rocked at least as hard – hard enough for Joel to completely break his guitar lead two songs into the set. Technical difficulties are always unfortunate, but after a short drum & bass filled delay, things were back online.
The boys played through their catchiest, fast-paced tunes, keeping the set list tight and focusing on the special brand of garage-rockabilly that they do best. Rocking out with EP track ‘Peace in Pieces’ it was easy for the crowd to move to the driving distortion of FOAM’s set. Songs like ‘So Far So Goo’d and ‘Banf Gablei’ (also on the CD) call to mind dancehalls, milk-bars and alleycats – well-balanced with angst and noise.
Rocking his “Cousin Itt” hair back and forth, it’s clear through his voice where the Nirvana connection comes from, though Joel’s howling vocals seem somewhat absent on the EP. Nevertheless, whether live or recorded, if you enjoy strong rock sensibilities combined with lots of energy and a healthy dose of distortion, you will no doubt have a good time at a FOAM show.