"At times, you almost forget there’s a show going on, caught in the maelstrom of sweat and flesh."
“Energy. Good energy and bad energy.” If you haven’t heard Amyl & The Sniffers, this lyric from their uproarious and disarmingly deep track Guided By Angels pretty much sums the live experience up.
The Enmore Theatre’s floorboards certainly got a workout as the moshpit raged with waves of revellers careening into each other at full speed before kindly picking each other up to ensure no one got their heads stomped on.
Everyone seemed charged by the electrifying Sniffers and particularly their ringleader, Amy Taylor who whipped the crowd into a frenzy in a matter of seconds. Of course, they didn’t need much to get them going, after a lengthy wait in between bands and the fun-filled fury of opening act G2G and middle act C.O.F.F.I.N whose lead singer/drummer Ben barked into the mic all set and entreated the audience to do the same.
G2G hits hard in a self-described “freewheeling and frantic” way which comes across from the outset with the Sydney/Eora-based band converging with not exactly harmonic voices. That’s beside the point though. This is punk rock: part scream, part chaos, all holy trinity.
C.O.F.F.I.N have been around the traps for over 15 years and in that time have developed a heavy and frenetic live show tied together by the eccentric howl of their centrepiece, Ben, who slays it on songs like Fast Love and White Dog which features a didgeridoo and a slow and atmospheric opening before launching into a political tirade which gives meaning to the title. The entire set - but especially this song - shows the political power of punk rock, reminiscent of the genre’s forebears.
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After the stage lights rise to Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady, the crowd knows exactly what to do; they do more than stand up - they lose themselves in the music. A unanimous roar rises up upon seeing Amyl and the rest of the band. Her high-pitched Mullum accent belies an infectious stage presence which spreads like wildfire almost as soon as she’s ripped into the first song.
In the mosh pit, people push into each other with gusto, buoyed by the high-intensity performance on stage. At times, you almost forget there’s a show going on, caught in the maelstrom of sweat and flesh. But then you do and you see Amy strutting her stuff on the stage - tongue out, flexing her guns, flicking her mullet and waving her arms about, eyes like fire.
Knifey reveals a different side to the band, dedicated - as Amy says - to the ladies in the audience. The track discusses the fear women feel in this world, while trying to just enjoy their lives. It seems to strike a chord. While Hertz is an uproarious and joyful - almost romantic - song with a matching catchy vocal melody and bass riff everyone sings along to in the chorus. Then, Security kicks it up another notch as people gasp for air before throwing themselves headlong back into the frenzy.
And just like that - ears ringing, body broken, Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 playing over the speakers, the band departs and the sweat-soaked throngs file out into the cold night.