Words Sophie Dunsford
Junior buddies Being Beta kick started the party super early, at 7.15pm. It’s clear that their fan base is extending well beyond their friendship group now, with guitarist Jacob Impson noting “This is the most people I’ve ever seen at Ya-Ya’s before ten o’clock, I’m so happy!” Front man Andy Storey figuratively juggled synthesiser and electric guitar, and entertained everyone with trademark flailing limbs, hair flicks and wide grin. Being Beta has a new EP and is touring nationally for the first time in August.
Recently touring with The Hard Aches, power-duo Lionizer had a full sound and proved that two is all you need. With few instruments Vez Litten’s vocals were clear and crisp. She stood strong at the front of the stage; it was like watching a beautiful little bird with a surprisingly powerful voice. As always, drumming was a major feature of Lionizer’s sound; Bailey Lions’ meticulous strikes perfectly accented Litten’s guitar strums bringing together a comprehensive aural experience.
Punters were madly tweeting appreciative comments, banter and puns to the live @YaYasBar feed displayed on the LCD screens. The Bob Gordons drew the crowd’s attention immediately, playing what a patron described as “Classic Australian rock mixed with punk.” This lively quartet partied on stage. Leon Simpson (guitar, vocals) jumped about, singing through lengths of bouncing dreadlocks, and the band’s namesake bass player confessed “The notes A and C are completely interchangeable as long as you smile!” Members of Them Sharks delivered beers and provided backing vocals for the last song. People were jumping up and down and pumping fists, and it was only 9.15! Once the excitement was over, fans made souvenirs of set lists scrawled on torn café menus.
After a quick wardrobe change, talented trio Them Sharks reappeared wearing unbuttoned tropical shirts. Joel Woolerson used his dazzlingly bright green guitar adeptly to make the most wondrous array of washboard reggae tones. Walt Johnston tapped the drum kit with excellent dexterity and wore a very appropriate Rastafarian four-colour beanie. Their music was so effervescent that there was not a single unhappy face in the bar. A girl in a beautiful polka dot dress and boots was jiving in the front corner and soon almost the whole room was dancing full elbows-and-knees style, with a few reluctant toe-tappers lined up along the bar. The Bob Gordons reappeared on stage for a seven-man rendition of Them Sharks’ song about them. A security guard scanned the crowd for signs of impending mayhem, but punters weren’t looking for trouble. It was a classic ‘punky reggae party’!
With beers-in-hand, Ben David (vocals, guitar) and Alex Upton (drums) had been enjoying a night of rousing entertainment. It was now time for them to take over and sing their tales of friendship, love and leaving. David is a humble performer and kept stage banter low-key, greeting the audience with “We’re The Hard Aches, we’re from Adelaide.” He constantly thanked the eagerly applauding audience between songs. An open and unpretentious lyrical style showcased his honest and natural vocals. Upton played drums with passion equalling David’s vocals and the two worked as a single sound-producing entity. Audience favourites included Luca Brasi cover ‘Isaac Bowen,’ and their own ‘Wide and Wired,’ which turned the bar into a rogue folk choir. Newer songs retained a familiar feel, even if fans didn’t know all the words. There was a feeling that transcended the music itself and there was a mystical communion between band and crowd. Ya-Ya’s bar was packed full of friends and acquaintances that sang along with an amount of passion and zeal that appeared to overwhelm David, who said “We appreciate it more than you could ever fucking realise.”