The Grates - Brisbane - 1 May 2009

The Grates/Children Collide
Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane
1 May 2009

It’s not often that you have moments like this — where you have to take a step back from your surroundings and fathom what is the hell is actually going on. Arriving a little late and unable to find set times we wander into the crowd as the lights go down. The crowd are almost at fever pitch and the not insurmountable screams we hear surely signal that we’ve just made it for tonight’s headliners The Grates. Well I’m probably the only person in the room perplexed when the curtains go back and find three guys standing there… 

Melbourne’s Children Collide have instilled in a short time a reputation for rambunctious sets that have left a trail across Australia. A welcome mix of Nirvana’s shambolic grunge fuzz guitars and The Cure’s ear for a tune they are quickly becoming one of Australia’s darlings. “Across the Earth” leads the first mass singalong of the night and it certainly won’t be the last. “Marie Marie Pt 2” is probably the most assured of their set but the biggest cheer was reserved for recent single “Farewell Rocketship”, quite possibly due to the absolute flogging they have recently been having on local radio but that may just be the cynic in me. They really are an inspired choice for support, certainly tonight’s crowd would wholeheartedly agree, and the perfect band to warm the crowd up for the main event.

Still reeling from the feeling we had crashed someone else’s party, the roof on new Brisbane venue Hi-Fi was almost teared off for tonight’s main event. As front woman Patience Hodgson, resplendent in a fetching cowgirl outfit, bounds out onto their Wild West themed set The Grates could be forgiven for feeling like returning heroes. Doing one last victorious pass of the country before heading of to the good ol’ US of A for the rest of the year, the response they get without even playing a note is one of a team bringing back the cup. It must be a vindication for them to see a hometown crowd react with such feverent abandon.

There’s a constant playfulness to the band with Patience dancing around the stage, full of more energy than an army of Duracell bunnies, and constantly chatting to the crowd. We’re reminded of some long lost psychedelic and garish 80’s Saturday Morning kids TV show. It’s cartoon like and sugary sweet but the whole lot goes down well with the rabid crowd looking for their one last Grates fix for a while.

With the set pretty much equally drawn from their two albums Gravity Won’t Get You High and Teeth Lost, Hearts Won it’s a testament to the quality in their songs that album tracks effortlessly segue into their biggest singles such as “Burn Bridges” and “Aw Yeah”. Highlight of the night for this reviewer is “Science is Golden” but it seems that for each song you don’t have to look far in the crowd to see that it’s someone else’s highlight. Tonight hearts were certainly won indeed.

Garry Thomson