The unassuming home of Freo rock and roll that is Mojo’s Bar held host to one of the most impressive lineups in support of an equally impressive release for Foam‘s “I Could Milk Myself” single launch on Saturday night, with the melodic grunge trio recruiting Doctopus, Puck, Regular Boys and The Kramers for a night stuffed to the brim with quality rock and roll.
Openers The Kramers delivered an energetic set of raggedy power-pop gems, Jack Pogson’s lacerating guitar and Sam Rocchi’s primally low bass blending to cover the entire sonic spectrum with goodness. The group’s playing was tight and flashy without being overly technical, with Rocchi’s limber basslines becoming positively breathtaking as the group’s songs rose to their crescendos.
Regular Boys followed up in similarly impressive fashion; the group’s three guitars weaving simple but complimentary melodies into a grand, distorted punk rock whole. Even simple themes, like the two chord vamp on “Money” rise to meteoric heights with the right build-up. In the words of their drummer; “like, swipe right, lit aye-eff.”
No less entertaining, but Puck shifted the tone of the evening somewhat, from lighthearted and fun to properly fucking terrifying. Liam Young’s drums sounded like they could break apart the earth, and Steven Turnock’s drop tuned guitar sounded like the apocalypse. But what truly distinguishes Puck‘s sound and moves them truly into the realm of the horrifying is the measured doses of beauty, through the subtle harmonisation of Young’s haunting vocal lines or the sporadic clean sections before the trio brutally dismembers the calm.
Another strange tonal shift later and eternal clowns Doctopus had taken the stage, with the drunken murmurs of “William” (who the trio had only just met) punctuating their first number. The trio ride the line where satire is so good it might be indistinguishable from what it’s mocking. The group’s tunes are infectiously simple and stupid, with the bass cabinet draped with a hockey jersey bearing the text “Doctopus 420”. They’re probably not even trying to be good, and in that sense, they’re a rousing success.
Foam‘s new material has demonstrated a depth that had only previously been hinted at in previous releases, such as lead single “I Could Milk Myself” – an unnerving masterclass in dynamic grunge songwriting. While the studio version is quite clean and sparse in the production, the group dials up the grit live, lending the entire set a considerable dose more dirt. Harley Barnaby’s bass is a monolithic driving influence at the back, while Joel Martin’s drawling vocals wander and weave over his textural guitar playing like a jazz player drawing melodies past and through the bars and chord changes as if they weren’t there. Even the absurd slapstick of the drunk punter attempting to crowd surf, faceplanting instead when no-one caught him and being escorted out by bar staff, could not distract from Foam‘s commanding stage presence as the group rounded out their setlist is a wall of distorted noise.
Five band lineups run the risk of dragging if they are put together without forethought, but one of the great things about Foam‘s single launch was how the night never seemed to go flat. The variation and quality of the bands on show at Mojo’s meant that the night never seemed to slow, and as Foam gear up to hit the eastern states with a run of shows, they could not have given themselves a more encouraging start.