Pennywise are legends of the American punk scene. They’ve influenced countless bands on your playlist, and thirty years on, the Californians still keep going strong.
It’s easy to see why they are favourites down under. They have toured here regularly, estimated at thirteen times, they engage with the crowd and they still have a vibrancy and energy of a much younger band. Punk is an attitude after all, not an age.
Openers Civic from Melbourne start with a burst of feedback before a dirty fast riff unloads. A blur of drumsticks and a Black Flag vibe to their music, they are greeted warmly by those in attendance who use the bands energy to pump themselves up and drink beers.
Circle Jerks are one of the originals of a scene that shook the world in the 70’s. Focussing on the more intense hardcore version of punk, their influence stretches into every single piece of the scene you’ve seen today and for the past forty years.
Armed with a set list that seems to have hundreds of songs squeezed into a forty five minute performance, they go about blasting through their repertoire in quick time. Frontman Keith Morris stops occasionally to regal us with a story like a narrator over an old movie before another half dozen or so songs fly by.
While the band may not be as mobile as previous years, the drumming from Joey C more than compliments as you’re left wondering how he didn’t burst a drum skin he hits that hard and fast.
Pennywise are the headline act though and after getting the crowds vocal chords warmed up with the intro tape of AC/DC Long Way To The Top, they open with Fight Til You Die and everyone is singing.
The interactive singing is a staple of the all inclusive experience that is a Pennywise show. Straight Ahead with its ‘hey hey hey’ refrain a prime example as the chants reach3s the back of the venue.
Your favourite tracks are all here, Time To Burn, Every Single Day, Watch Me As I Fall and of course Bro Hymn.
Jim Lindberg is affable and gives the impression you’re watching your big brother on stage rather than a bona fide punk legend.
You know what you’re getting when you go to a Pennywise show, quick numbers, empowering lyrics, a party atmosphere and a sore throat from singing. They delivered again, good job lads and we will see you next time.
Live Review By Iain McCallum