The Exploited, St Judes @ The Gov, Adelaide 11/11/2023

Like a good historical fiction novel, there is something about stories, art and music that comes from a specific time and place in modern history that has been oftentimes quite volatile and culturally significant. The Exploited are as much an important part of modern history as they are an origin act of second wave punk and crossover thrash, influencing a further lineage of musical genres and subculture. Suffice to say, it was an honour to witness a live show, and one nailed so brilliantly. There were whispers from a lot of long-time fans that this was likely the last opportunity to see them live and while we must admit that front man Wattie has battled some hefty heart issues and gets around with a pacemaker, he still commands an audience, and truthfully I think he still has too much rage in him to retire just yet.

Adelaide boys St Judes were clearly stoked to open for such a momentous gig as they took their already impressive performance to peak level coming out huge with their furious fast tracks, some which teeter on the physically impossible for a human to play. These guys can play punk as well as the big wigs that have clearly influenced their sound, and it is pointless to resist the urge to just rock out to it. From the happy little ska bops in Junk Food to the thick bouncy bass beats of Seizure the Moment accompanied by audience opportunity to yell F**k! in between verses, St Judes deliver a bloody good time. Finishing strong they played their absolute guts out to political banger Snowy River, which is so passionately written and performed, it really needs to be declared an Aussie punk anthem.

The Exploited came out in a ball of fire which turned out to be just Wattie’s iconic crimson mohawk in fast motion with the haphazardous riffs of opening banger Let’s Start a War. The pit was in full thrash mode as the band smashed out track after track exhibiting an insanely large catalogue of nothing but bangers. From UK ‘82 to Never Sell Out, Army Life and monumental anthem Punk’s Not Dead, music history class was in full session and every song has a cracker story to it (which you would need to Google, because it really is impossible to understand a Scotsman in their native tongue). Seeing everyone in the crowd young and old(er) move uninhibitedly was a treat with even a number of glammed up mature women dressed for cocktail hour in the pit unleashing their inner punk.

The energy onstage and in the audience maintained its peak throughout the whopping twenty three track set and thank the punk gods, those tracks are no longer than two minutes thirty, because it really is a crazy cardio session with the old fellas onstage absolutely sweating bullets. Half the audience was invited onstage to rock out with the band for Sex and Violence with the small group of baby thrashers from the local gig scene getting up there and having one of the most memorable experiences of their lives while exhibiting jovial comradery and ecstatically hugging each other afterwards. You just can’t buy moments like those, and the whole night was truly entertaining and memorable. Despite the angst and rage in Wattie’s anti-everything lyrics that juxtaposes the fast energetic music, it was another outrageously euphoric show executed faultlessly that left fans both long term and new smiling and satisfied.

Live Review By Bec Scheucher

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