Last Saturday night, the Newtown’s newly re-envisioned Waywards opened it’s doors to host an insane day and night of live music presented by Young henrys x Childe Eyewear. In celebration of silly season and an ode to summers perfectly balanced beer, Young Henry’s Stayer, a line up of incredible emerging musicians was pitched.
First to grace the sparkling new stage, which is now pushed out to line the far southern wall, were local psych rockers The Misty Lanes. Shoegaze is a term over used these days, and it doesn’t fit the genre here either, but the endearing demure of the band definitely represent what that term came about for: a quiet, unassuming coolness. On the left, most shoe inspired of all, Arthur shreds his green Fender Jaguar circa Red Hot Chili Peppers with precision. Tucked behind his strings sits the beautiful Tom Cameron on keys, his boyish curls in a real groove. It’s battle of the pedals as front man and project creator Steve, challenges some cosmic vibes and the growing audience is finding itself noticing the change in tones and taking the appreciation a “step” further.
Next up Tuppaware Party and Childe favourites took to the stage. They saw support from Lucas Trevis, better known for his soulful flute in Newtown’s funk band BREIZERS, today filling in for Karl on bass. Shelly was shining in a sheer button up blouse, it’s hem peaking out seductively from bottom of a black skater skirt. She was warmed up and in full swing on the guitar, impressing upon the crowd her talent in all facets. Yet it’s when the guitar is resting safely on the side that the true front women comes out and the full range of Shelly as a performer takes over, baby faced but womanly. That shy semi-circle of the thickening crowd is kept clear and Shelly takes up the challenge to fill it up.
Bryce brings the masculine in the classic black MOOKHI sunglass behind the kit. He makes a few kick drum adjustments mid-set and the audience was entertained by Keva on keyboards, in the trans rose KOMODO with her cheeky rendition of the Cityrail “All Stations to Cronulla”. Their sense of humour is striking and the ice is well and truly broken between stage and crowd, which is now swelling and charged with Young Henry’s tinnies.
Following the teasing puckered lips of Tuppaware, Good Pash is all tongue. The feminine energy that was introduced is picked up right where Shelly bounced off and the hecklers come out from the woodworks. This is post-punk, bra showing brilliance at Newtown’s best -all the things this venue has been rebuilt for, with its bar pushed back, allowing for maximum capacity and danceability.
“We’re beer lubricated at the moment, so let’s have fun” lead guitarist Maddy calls out so here we all are, lubed up and ready to rock. Courtney is steadfast but fluid on the drums, a full time musician and bassist for the Buoys, bringing the outright professionalism from the back of the stage to the front. This ain’t their first rodeo and their wily harmonica keeps the lefties on their toes.
A surge of keen all day stayer’s move in for the next band, Newtown High’s best product The Lazy Eyes. Noah on the kit doesn’t look legal but his drums are a full force of law and order and just like the Young Henry’s sign behind them, these guys are best served loud.
The first song is reverberating and heavy, everything else is for show. Lead singer Harvey starts on keys and is wearing a Sydney Olympic polo with its gold rings below the number “2000”. A haughty reminder of their age and I think that’s the point. His bleached locks bouncing inches off the ivory. The comparisons to Tame Impala are valid, especially considering there’s a real sense among the crowd that in the years to come those present will be able to say “I saw The Lazy Eyes play Waywards back in the day”. History is being made.
Keys are swapped for a creamy guitar and the whole stage is transformed. One song closes in a hailing and sonic squeal before another is introduced and the repour with the crowd is nurtured – professionals. Harvey gets off the stage to bunny hop towards Dani Hansen on camera, ensuring this is captured, iconically. It’s clear to everyone that The Lazy Eyes just get it.
Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents are up. Someone gave this boy’s fringe a trim. Maybe he just washed it. Either way Nick looks good. The first song is 1993 and that seven year age gap Is felt in pure authoritarian delinquent stance. There’s a low blow joke about the drummer hopefully no one gets and the smoke machine no one knew they were missing is turned on somewhere. The sweaty Aussie punk driven ambience is now thick with smoke and Young Henry’s which are littered all over the stage, floor and precariously, the front amps.
North Coast darlings, The Oogars are up and it’s their first gig in Sydney. It’s clear the female quartet all got the memo and that memo is ruffles, a chic Elizabethan nod paired with culottes and low cut Doc Martins. The cool is effortless. Each of them a choose your own adventure to watch.
Tanishka brings with her an Arabic inflection to her howl. Hands are up beside the mic, bedazzled in rings and the middle eastern flavour is danced upon, a meditation.
Their cover of Eurythmic’s Sweet Dreams is hypnotic. Danielle on drums is gentle, never drawing attention but oozing confidence and class. Gemma on guitar, using the chorus to stretch out her arms to the ephemeral sound guy “marker” at the back of the room. Her movements are theatrical but inclusive. And the Oogars spell is cast and settled across the room. They are the band no one knew they were waiting for.
Georgia June are on and they’re all glowing with blue lights and the opposing red of the back of stage sign. It becomes overwhelming apparent that we’re no longer upstairs of the Bank Hotel, we’re at Waywards. Four boys strong and stronger with Georgia. The sound is full. Plugged in. Turned on. Tuned right. It feels like an outdoor festival with all the acoustics of the newly upgraded sound proofed venue. They’re well warmed up and smooth - we’ve caught them mid stream.
Georgia wails and roars but it’s never annoying and never not perfectly on pitch. You can visualise the practise behind it all, controlled and dwelling on the flaws of what it is to be live. You’d be forgiveness to think the five of them were siblings. All long haired yahoo’s with a moustache (sans Georgia), retro and well dressed. A brunette version on the Von-Traps – an on stage family and a pleasure to watch.
After a loud intermission before the events headliners, the void that was left for the VOIID girls is filled. Again we’re delighted with another front woman. Anji Greenwood kicks things off with, “This songs about not giving a shit” in full punk-style glory. The balcony smokers that have finally come in for this one wouldn’t have expected anything less from a song intro. “I wish I was skinny” begins and it’s a 2019 anti-feminist caricature of itself.
They’re an incredibly striking group. Anji has a full face of perfectly primed makeup, not like that of other punk front women with their smeared lips. She’s a porcelain doll on top, in a sweet summer dress is and thick boot wearing, spikey leggedness on the bottom. Her eyes roll back playing the role of a real grunge worthy counterpart but the flawless face lends itself to something ethereal. Reminiscent of Taylor Momsen in The Pretty Reckless, and girl, are they ever.
The crowd are a surprisingly male majority and everyone’s backing that. A boozey mosh circle is formed and spills onto the stage. I’m reminded that Amyl and the Sniffers won best rock album this past week and it all makes sense again. Their set is saluted by a debaucherously happy crowd. Young Henry’s hoppy Stayer beer might be mid-strength but the room is full in numbers, the vibe is infectious and the night had just begun.
P.S Don’t forget your sunglasses post Waywards.