There is just something about punk music that evokes not only a great deal of nostalgia for us 80s and 90s kids that rode the tidal wave of the Warped Tour era, but also a deep sense of unabridged joy. For me, punk has always given me serious happy feet syndrome- unable to resist the fast forced rhythm and angsty melodic lyrics, it is impossible to keep still.
Strung Out brought their thirty-year anniversary tour (Jason Cruz stating he only remembers about fourteen of those years) to Adelaide and not surprisingly, they sold out The Gov as veteran punk kids surfaced to bask in the music that sound tracked their adolescence. What ensued was a mass hoard of forty something year old’s getting right back to their roots and going absolutely wild on a school night like we don’t have adult lives to deal with the next day. I’ll be honest, I have never seen anything quite so joyful for a long time. Grown ass men jumping up and down, high fiving and hugging each other, jumping on one another’s shoulders and singing their hearts out. I even spotted a mate have a little giddy fit as his favourite song started and run to the pit like a five-year-old at Christmas. It was the most delightful moment to witness. It’s fair to say, the dopamine was at an all-time high for everyone there.
Adelaide four-piece punk larrikins St Judes had the honour of opening for the night and I fell instantly in love with their raw energetic sound. Reminiscent of the The Bronx, Rancid and NOFX (before Fat Mike got sober) St Judes were a superb addition to the bill and definitely a band I need to see more of. Fun loose and loud, with all the quintessential elements for that perfect punk rock storm, they closed with 2019 political banger Snowy River which “is not about the current Prime Minister taking cocaine”.
Strung Out played a powerful set with a solid selection of twenty tracks spanning their three decade career and the audience loved every single one, firing up at each into and singing along devotedly. Everyone lost their mind for In Harms Way from 1994 debut album Another Day in Paradise but the best pub choir act award must be given to Velvet Alley when the entire venue broke out in impassioned chorus with fists flying in the air. Jason Cruz got right in there with them and held that energy for the entire set dripping with sweat and nailing his pitch. The entire band sounded immaculate and performed with so much stamina it begs the question, why did anyone say punk was dead when it’s clearly alive and has actually got better with age?
Treating the crowd to a three-track encore, acoustic belter Town of Corazon gave us all a moment to rest our tired old feet before popular bangers Bring Out Your Dead and Matchbook wrapped up the evening with one big final happy dance. On the way out there was a lot of elated fans gasping about how thrilled they were with the show and the selection of tracks, many had not even been to a live show in years. It seems Strung Out brought not only 30 years of music on tour here, but also thirty years of happy memories and joy to a lot of people.
Live Review By Bec Scheucher