UNWRITTEN LAW, The Drop Bears, The Dead Love, Bukowski. The Croxton, Melbourne. 09-02-2018.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

The opening of doors into The Croxton’s band room is a little bit later than anticipated (probably due to VIP’s meeting with the headliners taking double time for selfies) but we fill it at a steady pace. The thirstier punters begin the soon-to-be never-ending queue for grog in an excited frenzy, others choose their spot within the room.

Our first act of the evening are Melbourne’s four-piece band, Bukowski. Their choice of name doesn’t necessarily suit their style of music – presumably an ode to Charles, wasn’t Bukowski more of a classical man?– but it seems to be irrelevant as we applaud their set, indulging in the local talent. These guys are one of the upcoming acts that we should watch, so it was a shame their set had to be shortened due to the late starting time. They leave us in a state of awe and appreciation for being there, and we progress into patiently waiting for what’s to come.

Sydney’s alternative rockers, The Dead Love play a tight set to really get the night going. With a little extra oomph to it, cause the three-piece have just released their latest single ‘Ordinary’! Now that there’s more to celebrate this evening, we begin the rising of the mosh pit. It’s nights like these which make it understandable why the city rivalries between Sydney and Melbourne can be forgotten in live music.

The Drop Bears play a set like no other. They’ve dedicated their performance to their late bassist, Johnny Healy, who tragically passed away recently due to a brain condition. Propped up by a stool, his beloved stage jacket adorns his bass guitar. Members of the band are all dressed in black tops and bottoms, with checkered ties to match the occasion. Looking dapper and ready to rock n roll, they kick into their set with with such drive that we can’t stop, and don’t want to stop, our bodies jumping around. With a bit of humour amongst the band and ourselves during an impromptu readjustment to sound, their set recommences. We get a couple of CD’s thrown into the crowd, and those in the nosebleed section scramble for the special souvenir opportunities. We make the most of any remaining space in the venue for the rest of their set, and leave them in a roar of cheer.

Having spent the past thirty minutes of an intermission wandering around the venue, we’re pretty keen as the stage curtains slowly open. Punters from every angle come running in to cram the tight space of the band room, and with a casual entrance from Unwritten Law, they’re straight into it, and so are we!

Having rejuvenated during the break, come their second song, ‘Teenage Suicide’ and the mosh pit is flying high. Bodies glide haphazardly from one side of the room to the other, atop our weakening arms. There’s no time to recoup as their set rapidly progresses, making us more and more excited. We get an incorporation of Fugazi’s ‘Waiting Room’ into ‘Lonesome’ and the only real concepts of time existing are the song changes through ‘The Black Album’ as well as the accumulation of sweat amongst us, to tell us that the night is pushing on.

With an interval between Unwritten Law’s two sets, the band return to the stage with frontman Scott Russo puffing on a cigarette. The security guards protecting the daring punters down the front don’t seem to get a break though as they continuously catch and return crowd surfers! With a generous variety of other favourable songs, we embark on a lengthy performance that shows appreciation to their fans who sold out the first night of their tour.

We’re given songs such as ‘She Says’, ‘Shoulda Known Better’ and ‘Up All Night’ but our screams don’t stop once they leave the stage again. Our encore is reciprocated by the thriving band, who return to the stage and finally close with a cover of Grinspoon’s ‘More Than You Are’.