Dune Rats, Ruby Fields, Dear Seattle, Totty @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 29/2/2020

Duct taped babies, toasted marshmallows, swinging scooters and a giant blow up rat behind tiny stage fires. It’s clear to say that Dune Rats didn’t just bring their hyperactive and psychedelic music to Thebby Theatre on Saturday night. With their long locks and not a haircut in sight, these guys know how to get their enthusiastic crowd-surfing fans pumped up. Their fun personalities and theatrics gave me one of the most interactive gigs I have ever experienced.

The Dune Rats trio began in their Brisbane hometown, forging a leading role in the Aussie stoner punk music scene collecting a predominantly young cult-like fanbase. Before the headline arrived, support acts from NSW, Totty, Dear Seattle and Ruby Fields played their punk/indie tunes for us. The fans packed the theatre for the support acts, singing along to all the bands songs.

Ruby Fields swung onto the stage with her band as they all took a swig of their Coopers and got straight into their first songs including Fairly Lame Fairly Tame. Ruby told us that “Adelaide crowds get the rowdiest! Thank you!” and then she focused her attention on her two mates in the crowd. Before we knew it, Ruby’s friend proposed and the crowd at Thebby were the guests at an engagement! The band performed Dodgy Neighbours (& Tax Evaders) and I Want. As the crowd sang along to I Want, I looked over and was delighted to see a security guard unable to contain himself as he nodded his head singing “I Want, I wanna be, I wanna be, I want”. Then the intro to Dinosaurs began and an electric jolt shot through the crowd. The emotional Dinosaurs explores nostalgia and growing up in this throw-away society with elegant and sentimental lyrics. This was the perfect lead up to Dune Rats as the crowd kneeled down and then exploded into a celebration of Ruby’s most loved song.

A huge Dune Rats material poster collapsed onto the stage floor and the boys head-banging guitar thrashing energy busted through the theatre as they played Bobby D in front of a giant installation of a blow up red-eyed rat and cartoon versions of themselves, blunts and cheddar cheese. Classic Dune Rats. We were in a nihilistic trance with Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana and Scott Green as we danced amongst random clouds of smoke, sticky beer-soaked floors and sweaty teens.

After the guys made the sweat-filled Thebby crowd chant “AIRCON” as they repeated “SPLIT SYSTEM”, they sang Bullshit and got Kelly from Totty to sing Stupid Is As Stupid Does. Danny Beus, the lead singer and guitarist then spat his chewy metres into the air and caught it back into his mouth before proudly looking up at Ruby and the gang upstairs as they cheered him on. The constant jokes, laughs and charisma from Danny, BC Michaels and Brett created the loudest rainbow of fun with their colourful stage presence and it was enough to be constantly enthralled in the antics even if stoner punk isn’t your type of music. Their engaging behaviour continued to entertain us as the boys suggested “Hey, we should go camping.” So, they brought out marshmallows and literally toasted them in the fires that exploded from the front of stage during their songs.

Then came the perplexing moment when Danny swung a baby doll with its neck duct taped screaming “Waaa it was so young!”. I was unsure if I was watching a gig or a theatre show and I loved it. Shoeless drunks kicked revellers and headless Barbies were tossed around the hedonistic moshing crowd. The lights and the fires went out after the boys played a new song for us and they disappeared. We thought it was over, but in true Dune Rats style, they surprised us scooting onto stage underneath the giant rat eyes that lit up bright red and came to sing their last song; Mountains Come And Go But Aussie Pub Rock Lives On (Forever). This raucous and reckless scooter swinging trio were ridiculously crazy and genuinely talented musicians, creating catchy music and are touring a bunch of sold out shows across Australia until March 8!

Live Review By Zara Zampaglione

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