Words Carys Hurcom.
Photos Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.
I owe a lot to Unwritten Law. Unwritten Law (and The Vandals) inclusion on the ‘Idle Hands’ soundtrack (anyone remember that film?) are the reason I fell madly in love with punk music. However, over the years, my enthusiasm for Unwritten Law has waned; maybe it has been the previous five or so years of average performances by the band, or the stories of their off stage antics, or my chance meeting with the band in 2015, but whatever it is, I was oscillating between excited and apprehensive about tonight’s gig.
Part of my excitement was seeing one of my fave local bands, Blindspot supporting, and although they played to a sparse crowd, who were more interested in their beers, as normal the boys gave it their all. In fact due to the early start of 7.15pm, they seemed tighter and more cohesive as a unit than the more rowdy (read drunken) local gigs they normally play. Opening up with ‘Grabusabeer’, they blistered through songs, mainly from their You’re So Phoney and Selfie Titled EPs. By the third song, ‘Breakfast Beers’, despite a hiccup with the opening chords, a small, enthusiastic crowd had gathered to watch. The biggest cheers, during the set, was when vocalist and guitarist, Ben Swain and bassist, Aaron Graham acknowledged the northern suburbs and when they played their rave punk anthem ‘Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box’. If you haven’t checked out Blindspot and you like your punk, local and full of energy, you should definitely check them out.
The first, last and only reunion show of Kerb’s world tour was next! Kerb are local punk legends, their names were everywhere in Perth during the late ’90s and early 2000s, before the lads grew up and parted ways. Keeping the original line up, with Nathan Sproule, an addition on drums, they kicked off their set with ‘Agree 2 Disagree’. There were a nice number of original fans of the band right at the barrier rocking out and enjoying the trip down memory lane, showing their support by cheering and singing along. This continued throughout Kerb’s set, even between songs when the lads joked about being old and needing longer breaks. However, the first real evidence of moshing, for the evening occurred when Kerb played ‘Ordinary Day’, a song that is the embodiment of late ’90s punk: fast paced, easy to sing along to, and really catchy. Their loyal fans went nuts! It was great to see and I for one, am glad to say I have finally seen Kerb live.
After a suitable break, the lights dimmed and the band everyone came to see, Unwritten Law finally stepped on stage. The opening chords of ‘Harmonic’ got a rapturous applause, but many of the crowd were still finding their way from the beer garden, bar and toilets. The Law stepped on stage and began their journey through the whole ‘Self Titled’ aka Black album. Scott Russo’s vocals were on point, and the rest of the band played adeptly and confidently. ‘Teenager Suicide’ was met with a bit of a sing along, which after a brief chat with the crowd, led to a slightly heavier opening to ‘Sorry’. As the night progressed, the crowd got more and more involved, both in the pit and conversing with the band. ‘Lonesome’ was introduced as Russo’s favourite song off the Black album, and he took that time to take some video of the crowd. By the time ‘Underground’ started, many people decided to crowd surf the small mosh pit. With the low ceilings at The Carine, and only six or so people holding up one guy, it was bit of a sight to see. The craziness slowed down with ‘Before I Go’ which the band dedicated to departed producer Rick Parashar, before rounding off the rest of the Black album.
After a quick break, Unwritten Law played a ‘best of’ set list, including acoustic versions of ‘Shoulda Known Better’ and ‘Oblivion’. By this stage, the crowd was well lubricated and a fan decided to share a joint with Russo claiming it “was only tobacco”. Sure… Unwritten Law finished with ‘Up All Night’ and came back for an encore with Grinspoon’s ‘More Than You Are’. It was as if everyone in tavern decided to make up for lost time or to cram in as much fun as possible, because the final two songs were loud, ferocious, frenetic, and that was just the fans. All in all it was by far, one of the better Unwritten Law gigs I have seen in a while (and I have seen them well over a dozen times since those heady days of 1999), and to quote my mate Leigh, it was “real loose”.