Review by Jack Eccleston
Chaos reigned as Melbournian noise-art-punk-psych heavyweights, Tropical Fuck Storm brought their blistering live show to The Gov for the penultimate leg of their Australian Tour in support of the quartet’s sophomore album ‘Braindrops’.
Riding high off the success of last year’s acclaimed effort ‘A Laughing Death in Meatspace,’ (the group’s first full album) Tropical Fuck Storm continues to make waves in Australia and across the pond, recently releasing their second album ‘Braindrops’ and soon to embark on a tour of the United Kingdom and Europe.
True to their name, Tropical Fuck Storm are weird, evocative of some bizarre punk crossover between an amped-up Nick Cave and a psychonautic Mad Max. They also have a well-earned reputation for being insane live, which makes sense given their significant musical pedigree; vocalist and guitarist Gareth Liddiard and bassist Fiona Kitschin previously played together in the legendary Perth rock band The Drones, while guitarist Erica Dunn and drummer Lauren Hammel used to play with Harmony and High Tension respectively.
Impressively, Tropical Fuck Storm’s return to the City of Churches was opened with style by Hobart-based post-punk band All the Weathers and the ever-impressive Brooklynites Surfbort (recently the stars of a Gucci campaign, among other things) despite the scorching hot weather.
In a short but intense set (roughly estimated to clock in at just over an hour-long sans encore), Tropical Fuck Storm drew from all corners of their catalogue, including fan favourites ‘You Let My Tyres Down’ and the funky ‘Chameleon Paint’ alongside covers of the Divnyl’s ‘Back to the Wall’ and Lost Animal’s ‘Lose the Baby’.
At times, it was difficult to pick where one song ended and another began over the echoing noise of effects pedals, and many of the Liddiard’s vocals were lost in the mix. But it didn’t matter because the real spectacle was in the performance. Whether it was Liddiard thrashing and shredding that poor, poor Fender or Kitschin sipping from a glass of wine mid-song without missing a beat, it was impossible not to be mesmerised by what was going on onstage or feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth.
Where Tropical Fuck Storm allowed the crowd to take a breather (while not looking like they themselves had even broken a sweat), the absurdity didn’t stop, with Liddiard candidly segueing from Adelaide’s world-leading rates of methamphetamine use, the band taking turns to decide whether a fans t-shirt lobbed on stage passed the smell test, and an invitation to the audience to strip and join them on stage to dance.
On a sour note, it was disheartening to hear complaints that some in attendance took things too far, acting inappropriately and aggressively in the mosh as well as an incident onstage during the band’s final song that could have ended badly. Fortunately, this behaviour wasn’t indicative of the rest of the crowd, who were energetic but respectful.
With that all being said, Tropical Fuck Storm’s return to Adelaide might be best described as noisy, feral, and mean, or, put another way, the best live performance the state has seen in years.