Hockey Dad @ The Foundry, 29th September

The 29th of September is marked with two big red words on my calendar: Hockey Dad. I bound up The Foundry’s tartan stairs, two at a time, with my roommates in tow. Covered in Chrome is playing over the speakers as we get upstairs and punters are already buzzing; it’s going to be a wild one. Brissy locals, Muddy Chanter, pile out onto the stage and without holding back, they kick the night off with their powerhouse garage rock. The band is made up of five dudes, 4/5ths of which have hair longer than mine. Their amusing in-between-song-banter includes the likes of chicken wings and how fucked they are for work tomorrow. Their unified sound gives the crowd a crazy sense of energy; some guys push past me creating a four man mosh. After their set is finished my ears are ringing and wanting more.

Before we see the main attraction, we are treated to some of the best 90s grunge rock Adelaide has to offer. Three piece band Horror My Friend bring the crowd some of the most brutal guitar riffs my ears have had the pleasure of being assaulted with. The band literally bang and thrash the shit out of their guitar and bass, creating intense feedback which they use like another instrument. I can see the singers spit spraying from his mouth in the haze of the lights as he screams as if it’s his last. It’s aggressively raw yet melodic, it’s frenetically savage yet well orchestrated; it’s exactly what the crowd wants. Screams of an encore emit from the crowd, a rare commodity for a support band. 

The worst mistake I’ve made is leaving the crowd.  When I hear Hockey Dad start playing Lull City and rush to get in, I am met with a packed sardine collection of punters, being reminded this is a sold out gig. There’s guys crowd surfing, girls stage diving, one dude calling out for them to do a shoey, drinks being tossed and the security guards look like they are going to have a brain aneurysm attempting to control the crowd. I get a fat lip from some dudes Van in the middle of Jump The Gun. Lead guitarist and vocalist, Zach Stephenson,  says over a chorus of “yeah boiiiis”, “this is the craziest fucking crowd we’ve played for in a long time. Brisbane still wins.” It’s true. Even though the boys are giving it their all in their performance, the energy on stage is pale in comparison to crowd. Their leading single, So Tired, plays and I can’t even hear Hockey Dad because of the collection of voices bellowing out every single lyric. The temperature has gone up what feels like fifteen solid degrees and the drummer’s shirt has come off. 

The current garage surf rock and pop resurgence is so evident when taking in the bands of the night but Hockey Dad adds something a little extra. They have this sense of maturity in their stage presence and a sweetness to their musicality that is beyond the usual scruffy reputation of the genre. Throughout the set I am reminding myself they are only a two piece band. They have an incredibly expansive sound and I’m not once left wanting a full band, they provide a comprehensive sound in their live performance which is rare, even for some full piece bands. The fun, twanging guitar hooks are clean in comparison to the supports and the drummer, Billy Fleming, provides an admirable, solid backbone to the performance, not once faulting even whilst looking like he took a bath in sweat. Their music is just down-right fun and wistfully adolescent, they are playing to make everyone happy. Hockey Dad are, of course, called out for an encore and the crowd goes crazy for Can’t Have Them. The crowd, drenched in sweat and buzzing from the performance dejectedly start filing out, some going for the water and others going for the merch stand to change out of their wet shirts. A lyric of Hockey Dad’s floats throughout the crowd, “I don’t wanna go home, I’m having too much fun.”   

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