The Smith Street Band made sure no one felt alone when they played the Corner Hotel
After teasing their new single Death to the Lads during their last Aussie tour, The Smith Street Band opened the set with the roaring anthem against dickheads, the packed room already singing along word-perfect with the ever-lovable Wil Wagner. Suffer was a brand new and never played taste of their upcoming album, doused with heavy vibes, with dense riffs and Wagner’s quintessential emotional voice at its max level, so much so that he apologised for getting so angry. “Had some shit to get off my chest,” he laughed.
Forever crowd favourite Young Drunk was played mindset, instead of the usual closing encore, not the only change marking a new era for the band. With much excitement, Wagner announced their new album would be released under their own, new record label, Poolhouse Records.
Towards the end of the show, Wagner became emotional (even more so than usual) and talked with the audience, his friends, about his struggles with his mental health, admitting this has been one of the hardest years of his life. He acknowledged many people in the room may feel the same, but with a community like the one in the Corner, at least we know we’re not alone.
Perhaps you don’t give a shit, but I’ve sobbed to Smith Street in the discomfort of my own room and depression more times than I can count, but this was the first time it’s happened during one of their shows. It was there, clutching my tour jumper, with tears dripping down my cheeks, that the power of the band was in emotional full force.
They’ve started a record label to create a community, but their community has existed for years, whether it's in a room full of people screaming I Don’t Want To Die Anymore, or alone in your room, pleading to be thrown into the river, with nothing but your own story and Wagner’s voice. And he’s right, that leaves you with knowledge that you’re not alone. I’ve taken comfort from that for years, as have many fans, and just as they’ll continue to play shows and make music, that community will live on.
Words by Claire Varley
Image by Lewis Nixon
Highlight: The band dedicating Wipe That Shit-Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face to Donald Trump.
Lowlight: That I couldn’t hang around post show with Wagner and become his best friend as is clearly destined to happen.
Crowd favourite: Gauging the audience reaction, all of it.