Boat Show Docks at Fremantle | A Mojos Gig Review

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There’s a whole lot of buzz around this band, Boat Show. They seem to have already reached cult-status, which is ridiculous seeing as they’ve only been playing together since October. I already know of all the words to their single ‘Cis White Boy’, as it’s recently been getting spun on RTRFM a whole lot. I already feel like I know this band, although I haven’t seen them before. In any case, the line-up for the event is extensive, with so many great Perth bands heading to Mojos to support the toast of the town, Boat Show, on this hot and sticky Thursday evening.

Those of us who arrived early sat (and sweated) on the perimeters of the outside area of Mojos, trying to figure out the mysterious Xanthea. She allures us by singing sombre melodies over beautifully played keyboard, with bright violin sonics performed by her friend in Jasmine Jeffs. She plays her songs ‘Sticky’, ‘Haunts’ and the closing ‘Exhumed’. These songs all come from the same world yet are all entirely unique in their own way. Within 20 or so minutes, Xanthea had the intimate crowd enchanted.

The following artist, Oosterbanger, sets up by laying out her guitar pedals and carefully placing her glass of red wine within reaching distance. She plays dissonant guitar chords while singing bitterly into the microphone. Her set reaches its crescendo with the track ‘Fuck Decorum’, using a loop pedal to mix screeching leads and slow palm muted power chords over the top of one another. She adds another layer with her wailing, esoteric vocals; creating an atmospheric yet punk-ish sound.

Thankfully the next band is playing on the stage inside, where there are fans and perhaps even air-con. Bikini Cops start cranking through their loud, fast, power-chord heavy brand of punk rock. They drink tinnies on stage and shout into the microphones. They take little time between songs, moving through one scream-heavy punk song to the next lead-guitar driven one. It is punk rock and would be over-kill to say much more.

Doctopus front-man, whom I know simply as ‘Steve’, is setting up outside. I learn that he has recently started performing hip-hop for a bit of a laugh, taking on the pseudonym of Reef Prince. He plays some fat-beats on a backing track and starts rapping over it. Nicholas Allbrook joins him and the two bounce off each other, performing melodic, alternative, and hip-hop styles, which makes absolutely no sense at all and yet that’s what makes it so good. The crowd love it; it’s a spectacle, it’s fun, its super weird and it’s awesome.  

Pond front-man, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Nicholas Allbrook is next up in this massive, never-ending line-up of great Perth acts this evening. He plays psychedelic guitar over synth textures and complex arrangements created by what I believe is a drum machine. His strong vocal range spans the entire galaxy of notes. He is a wild performer; full of energy, like a twelve-year-old on a playground. He becomes one with the crowd, serenading different members of the audience. Allbrook is one of Perth’s best performers and he proved this on Thursday night in Fremantle.

I have seen Doctopus at least a dozen times and they never fail to entertain. Their messy, distorted guitars, cymbal-heavy-drums and rambled vocals make for a rough-around-the-edges brand of garage-rock. They play old-favourites ‘A.O.E.’ and ‘Mettam’s Pool’ from their 2015 release Maintainin’ as well as treating us to new songs ‘Little Princess’ and ‘Over and Done’.

Boat Show hit the stage, 4 girls and a token boy (who is topless, wearing a bra only) on drums. They play songs from Groundbreaking Masterpiece, which is comprised of 10 tracks, clocking in at just over 20 minutes in total. The songs are punchy, witty and fun. ‘Serious’ is a fast, power-chord heavy song with a sarcastic vocal delivery (think: ‘Staying Alive’). The song is delivered with the band jumping around chaotically on stage. Front-woman and driving force behind Boat Show, Ali Flintoff is full of energy and it’s impossible to predict what she will do next. Her antics during the set include: smearing lipstick messily over and around her lips and starting a sing-along with ‘What’s up?’ by 4 Non Blondes, before singing Smash Mouth’s classic meme of a tune, ‘Allstar’. Flintoff is both funny and fierce on stage, not taking herself or anything too seriously, while new member and lead-guitarist Stella Donnelly kills it in her first gig with Boat Show, her fast, wailing guitar solos are delivered with the biggest grin on her face, which stayed there for the entire set. The set ends with Ali jumping into the crowd, screaming the final verse from ‘Can’t Deal’, track 9 from the album. I can understand the buzz around this band, with their live performance being quite tight, chaotic and fun. See this band. They fucking rule.