The Grates @ The Triffid, 8th August

Red beams of light shine brilliantly at The Triffid tonight. Fake chains scatter the stage and roses are meticulously hung from mic stands.  Audience members wear outfits of bright neon and faux fur and a blow-up kangaroo is making its rounds through the venue. Five-piece indie rock band The Grates are back in Brisbane tonight for their Team Work Makes the Dream Work East Coast tour, and as the space fills up and the chilly air disappears, it’s looking like quite the show.

Sydney garage-punk band Straight Arrows enter the stage with sparkling red guitars and edgy attitudes. Lead singer Owen Peglis is sporting a shirt that reads “bad to the boner”. The band provides a fresh yet grungy sound that beats heavily around the room, sitting somewhere between a punkish Joy Division  and The Clash. The instrumentation is straight-forward, although the vocals are at times limited. With fuzzy pedals and bouts of feedback, the guitars provide a big, grainy sound. There’s definitely an I-don’t-give-a-shit vibe, but it suits them.

After a short wait, The Grates explode into the room with a stellar performance of 19-20-20. The band consists of drummer Ritchie Daniell (The Trouble With Templeton), bassist Owen Penglis (Straight Arrows),  guitarist Jack Richardson (Superfeather) and lead singer Patience HodgsonThe instrumentalists are wearing all black with pagan star neck chains, while Patience stands out with a silver bodysuit that resembles something that Vince from the Mighty Boosh might wear. She delivers an infectious energy that only grows as the band constantly quicken their tempo. Her vocals are a little fast and strained at times as she tries to keep in time with the backing instruments, but her endearing stage banter makes up for it. She talks directly to fans and dedicates songs to members of the audience.

A beach ball bounces around the venue as Patience exclaims “I never knew I had a thing for beach balls until just now!” She blows kisses at the audience, asking for our kisses in return as she smiles, laughs, and dances around the stage. She’s eccentric and charming – everything a good front-woman should be. Taking on the hits from their first three albums plus a few newbies, the set list is everything a Grates fan would appreciate.They bear a rawer, angrier sound when playing live, as a result of a heavier bass groove and faster drums, though this doesn’t hinder the performance, it only gets the audience more rifled up.

Finishing with Holiday Home and encoring with Turn Me On, Patience enters the stage dressed in a cape of rainbow streamers.  As she twirls, stomps, and dives into a crowd of her admirers, her band of royal subjects back her every move. It’s the perfect end to an evening filled with eclectic intensity.

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