Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, Logan, The Empty Threats @ UniBar, Adelaide 2/11/2023

Girl Anthems. You know the ones. That perfect blend of sweet and salty, sing your guts out in the car to dick punching lyrics about the collective female experience and feel all the feelings. It’s a special timeless musical phenomenon, from Helen Reddy sweetly commanding the women of the world to speak up and embrace their feminine power, to Taylor Swift writing platinum selling albums about every shit boyfriend she has ever had. In between all that is the edgier angrier punk and hard rock sounds of the riot grrls and the woman that dominated grunge in the 90s with the likes of Slater Kinney and Veruca Salt.

When Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers dropped Girl Sports in 2022 it blew my millennial third wave feminist mind. We aren’t singing about heartache and being misunderstood anymore; we are really arcing up about toxic ingrained societal misogyny and inequality. We have a new wave of girl rock and this time we are being intersectional and a whole lot more assertive, and it’s a glorious thing to witness.

I was expecting this whirlwind for them- they have brought forward those raw and rough grungy punk sounds and applied modern themes to some very catchy energetic tracks, they are fierce and direct yet wholesomely adorable. They are the kind of girls you hope to share a dorm room with at Netball camp. Touring the country with debut album I Love You and selling out shows everywhere, there is an obvious and rapid evolution happening with these four Canberra legends, and from the last time I watched them play at Spin Off to a disappointedly sparce crowd to their set at Unibar last night, that stage chemistry and feminine fire is just getting bigger and brighter along with their crowds.

Kicking off the Adelaide set was local post punk outfit The Empty Threats who are an absolute treasure to our thriving little music scene and draw in the best crowd of young enthusiastic fans. As usual they sounded thick and large with an effortless enigmatic flow between some extremely talented musicians while lead vocalist Stuart Patterson sashayed around the stage completely uninhibited like the natural born entertainer they are while also delivering some robust oftentimes distorted clarinet solos intensifying the chaotic clamour of their noise, and to my absolute delight, nailing some spicy saxophone parts. There was a bit of excitement in the crowd when Patterson got in to the audience and facilitated skipping rope with willing members, improvising vocally to perfection all the while in a very Beck like fashion. A quick little Happy Birthday chorus for guitarist Matt Schulz wearing an enviously awesome diamante studded baseball cap on his special day, and they finished on a high with belter and fittingly titled track Boys in the Gutter.

Logan came out of nowhere (well, Queensland actually) and suddenly into our lives when they followed with a support set of… I don’t even know what to call it. Like Roadhouse blues fused with pub rock, country and punk all fronted by a Crooner who dances like Elvis. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure what to think but I was very entertained, ever so slightly charmed and insanely impressed with the quality of musicianship. Prominent jumpy keys featured heavily while I could have sworn Stevie Ray Vaughn started soloing at one point. There was a couple of real Micheal Buble moments from lead vocalist I will assume is named Logan and a cute little Elvis cover to really show us what his pelvis can do.

Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers came out to a wildly excited crowd and commanded the whole damn venue the entire time. Kicking off with debut single AHHHH! the hits just kept rolling with a hoard of mostly young women sing-yelling their hearts out. Even the very obviously misplaced middle-aged bloke with the breathtaking mullet was all in, horns up and adorably singing along to their incredibly compelling cover of Billie Eilish’s Happier than Ever cleverly intercepting Paramore’s All I Wanted which to be fair would make anyone’s heart melt. Then there is frontwoman Anna Ryan who is an absolute powerhouse on the mic, putting the punk rock in Pat Benatar while she confidently strolled the stage with sexy swagger. There was the usual wholesome commentary between the girls and plenty of audience engagement, but the energy was so good, it just made for a very happy night for everyone. Finishing with that infamous exhilarating girl anthem Girl Sports the place blew up, middle fingers flying everywhere.

Emotional and empowering, the whirlwind that is Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers blew through the city with an almighty roar leaving fans joyful and electrified. This is only the beginning as they continue to gain momentum and the movement that is girl punk continues to do the rounds, delightfully making many grown men undoubtably uncomfortable about it.

Live Review By Bec Scheucher

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