Live Review: Trash Boat – 31/8/2017 – Wrangler Studios, Melbourne

I put my hoodie on. Tie up my Converse. Grabbed my wallet, headed out the door, and jumped in my car. First thing I did was plug my phone into the charger to get that out of the- “Oh, that’s funny… Why is the car charging my phone when it’s off?” That’s when I suddenly realized I hadn’t fully shut my car off from the night before like an utter dullard. It was sitting on that ACC part of the ignition. I turned my keys and sure enough, silence was the only thing that greeted my ears. Already running a little late, I called the RACV to come jump start me and wait it out, silently praying to the pop-punk gods that the one and only good white van in this world would arrive shortly. Sure enough, my savior arrived in under twenty minutes and I’m on my way. Yet despite my best efforts, I missed the opening act of Strangers.



Melbourne’s Set the Score are a solid band, no doubt. They write some nice pop-punk songs with some good melodies and riffs to boot. Yet, when it comes to the live stage, I just can’t help but feel like there’s something in their shows… missing. Like an aspect of their songs from the recorded pieces that is somehow missing. Something gets lost in translation from studio to stage and I think it comes down to the lack of presence I felt from the individual members. However, credit where it’s due, as their vocalist David Bell apparently had a knee construction done recently so he was limited. Yet there wasn’t much in the way of a presence that commanded my attention. [STS are mad, you nerd – Ed]. 


Similarly, fellow Aussie locals Between You And Me also feel a little amiss. (God, I’m such a shit, aren’t I?) Given, there was more liveliness and energy from both BY&M and the gathered Wrangler crowd, nut there was still something that felt a bit too casual. A bit too cool. A bit too chill. I do understand that that is a merit in and of itself yet pop-punk or not, we’re all really here to be entertained and enthralled. Maybe I’m just expecting too much and look, I’m far from saying that these dudes played bad – they played well enough, they did get signed up to Hopeless Records recently, and there’s nothing egregious to hate about the band – but there’s also nothing that I made it a memorable affair.

However, that Death Note/L logo tattoo on the vocalist Jake Wilson’s wrist is very cool! Also, while I’m just dishing out unpopular opinions, you know that Netflix’s Death Note? It’s not bad, it was fine and wasn’t as bad as everyone says. Yeah, I said it.


Trash Boat are one of the most underrated bands in the pop-punk scene at the moment and tonight well and truly proved it. Opening with the glorious riffage of ‘How Selfish I Seem‘ they instantly set themselves apart from the other bands and the crowd as a group that takes influences from more than just Blink-182 and New Found Glory. This song and the other heated up barn burner, ‘You Know, You Know, You Know‘, have an old school melodic hardcore tinge to them that is just simply explosive when performed live.

But playing hard and fast isn’t all they’re good for. The beautiful, melodic bangers of ‘Tring Quarry‘ and ‘Brave Face‘ were nothing but astounding. The huge choruses of the former filled out the room whilst it’s gorgeous bridge and outro hit everyone in the room hard in the feels. The latter, ‘Brave Face‘ probably got the second biggest sing-along and crowd reaction of the whole night, with half the crowd rushing to the grab the mic from singer Tobi Duncan and belt out the endearing and heartfelt words for themselves. ‘Eleven‘ is also a perfect mix of both assets the band has on offer. That song is equal parts a blazing punk rock symphony, an emotional sing-along, and cry-mosh material and the band give it absolutely every bit of energy and care it deserves in the live setting.


Though it’s not my personal favorite Trash Boat song (hats off to ‘Tring Quarry‘), the epic finale of ‘Strangers‘ saw the crowd open up and explode like a bomb went off the moment the first riff sounded off and Duncan’s vocals wailed through the PA. Garnering the biggest response of the night, it perfectly summed up every bit of why people love Trash Boat and why as time goes on more and more people will. The equal mix of pain, hope, and love that the song conveys perfectly through its words and melodies are empowered by the instrumentation and musicianship that backs it up. All of this increases exponentially in the live setting, with the energy and passion seeping from the pores of the band members and covering the walls.

Trash Boat is a band that leaves everything on the stage. They took every part of who they are and what they have to offer and gave it to us here in this room. And you can truly feel that when you see them live. It’s honestly hard to do their shows justice with mere words on a screen. As they walk off the stage, the only thing they do leave is the want for more Trash Boat and with their recent support slot on Trophy Eyes tour, I know – I just know – they’ll have found a strong and loving fan base down under. Only time will tell if it’s strong enough to get them out here again before the next cycle.

Either way, bring on Trash Boat Do Australia 2: Electric Boogaloo!


Photo credit: Owen Jones. 

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