CLOWNS ‘Bad Blood’ Album Launch with American Sharks, Flour, Bodies. The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 06-03-2015.


Words Joel Parnell.
Photo Kres.

The Bendigo Hotel reached capacity on Friday, March 6th as Clowns and American Sharks brought the ruckus to Melbourne as part of their explosive Bad Blood Tour. Punters swarmed like moths to some fuck off lightbulb even as opening band Bodies were setting up and going over soundcheck, flickering on and off and emitting some electrical buzzing sound.

Bodies are a three piece sludge rock outfit fronted by legendary Melbourne publican Joel Morrison (The Old Bar, Public Bar) and are one of the most authentic and engaging live acts you might see here in our fine city. Barefoot, bearded and boozy, Bodies screech, bellow and stagger through their set like a train derailed. Morrison uses pain as a paintbrush, bashing his head on anything in reach and grinding the strings of his Kmart guitar across his face until it runs crimson with blood and sweat. The climax of their set, however, would have to be their gripping rendition of ‘Wolves’ by Little John.

Next up are Flour, who play music to drink beer and skate to. Guitarist Steve Cohen (Cut Sick!, Too Far Gone Screenprinting) pays homage to Johnny Ramone with his all-downstrokes, jackhammer style as the band tear through a set of ‘80s inspired punk in the vein of Gray Matter and The Hard-Ons. I couldn’t help laughing during their set as some fully sick security guard types made their way to the front and pretended to mosh in an attempt at some kind of irony. Anyway, Flour were fucking sick so go check ‘em out.

By the time Texan stoner rockers American Sharks hit the stage the room was so full that the only way one could pass from one side of the room to the other was to crowd surf and hope that you ended up where you wanted to go; pretty impressive for a relatively new band doing their first show in Melbourne. There’s an amazing energy to American Sharks’ live act which is accentuated by the placing of the drum kit in the middle of the stage, rather than the back. The boys from Austin dropped bomb after musical bomb from their stunning debut album with their bassist / vocalist injecting near inaudible Southern ramblings between the songs; “Ahh shebadeba fuggin ALCOHOL aaahh wazza give a fuck heyy ahhh DRINK IT ahhh hohoha man hahahaha!”

The crowd were worked into a state of mad euphoria as Clowns delivered their long awaited hometown performance. A sea of sweaty, drunken bodies swelled and spilled onto the stage as the rhythmic tide heaved the great mass back and forth. For some, the only way to get some steady footing was to take to the ceiling and hang upside-down from the piping. With two albums now under their belt, Clowns were armed to the teeth song-wise. Brand new tracks like ‘These Veins’ and ‘Euthanise Me’ went over like old favourites with the fans already having memorised every word. ‘Infected’ was a particular highlight, which featured a brutal guest vocal from Karina Utomo (High Tension). As the opening bassline to ‘Repeat After Me’ made it’s menacing appearance the crowd prepared for it’s final, climatic eruption. I could no longer be contained in the area between the floor and the stage so I sculled the rest of my beer and made a beeline to the back of the stage, behind Herny’s amp. As the song approached its breakdown phase I joined the guys on stage for my own guest vocal spot (Cheers dudes, it was fucking awesome!), plunged in to the crowd and lost my phone. As the punters protested the idea that this epic event might actually end, Clowns played a blistering encore of ‘Powders’ to their sold out audience and I scrambled to find my shirt and get the fuck out of there before I got 100% party and died.

Clowns ‘Bad Blood’ LP / CD is OUT NOW through Poison City Records.
There’s still a chance to catch Clowns and American Sharks on this tour: