It’s comforting to know that in an industry typically drenched in egotism and greed, there are some mega babes out there taking time out to do good things for others. Over the weekend in Melbourne, there were two groups of musical altruists putting on fundraisers for special causes.
Over at The Old Bar, Bench Press hosted Bench Presstivus; a fundraiser for women’s support group, Wire. Their event, which featured the likes of Moody Beaches, Lazertits, Loobs, Hearts and Rockets, Shepparton Airplane and the aforementioned Bench Press, clocked over $4800 for the foundation. Meanwhile, over at The Curtin, another bunch of babes were hosting their very own fundraiser – the Babes of the Melbourne Underground calendar launch; an event which boasted a corker lineup of Amyl and the Sniffers, Dumb Punts, InfraGhosts and Dove.
The calendar, which is chock-full of photos of inspiring groups of female-identifying folk plucked straight from Melbourne’s music scene (including those performing on the night), raised money for two important organisations. These were Minus 18 – a group that manages events and workshops in a bid to tear down negative ideologies surrounding homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and Sisters Inside – a Queensland-based community organisation that advocates for the rights of women and families in the criminal legal system.
The brainchild of Melbourne superstars Harriet Hudson, Christina Pap and Kate Curtis, the Babes of the Melbourne Underground calendar launch was the culmination of the trio slogging it out all year pulling together epic photo shoots, painstakingly piecing the calendar together, and organising the sold-out launch event.
From the get-go, The Curtin was jammed with people raring to celebrate their music community and applaud all the babes in their community for their hard work. Dove and InfraGhosts were the perfect acts to warm the crowd up early in the night before Dumb Punts took to the stage. Contrary to some of their lyrical content, you can’t help smiling watching this three-piece garage rock’n’roll outfit perform. They write wonderfully crafted, infectious bangers and play them with a sense of joyful abandon that makes the world seem like it’s a damn fine place to live. It took the band a little while to warm up Z, but once drummer Ciarn swapped guitar and vocal duties with her brother James, there was a palpable shift in onstage energy. Tracks ‘Got it Good’, ‘Space Waster’ and ‘Heating Up’ were set highlights, before closing their set with the classic Punts’ crowd pleaser ‘Chiller’.
Yet regardless of what came before, no one in the crowd was primed for the onslaught from tonight’s headliners, Amyl and the Sniffers. Demonstrating what a couple of months of relentless international touring can do to a band’s live show, the group plunged onto the stage with a maniacal force akin to a crazed Doberman who’d licked up their owner’s meth stash and shot out of the garage onto the street for its next meal.
Since touring overseas, Amyl have radically transformed from a rather good live band to the country’s best, and tonight it showed. The band played tighter than ever before, while tiny-framed frontwoman Amy Taylor occupied the entire stage with an unrelenting power, lurching toward the crowd like she was busting to draw blood. Moving across the stage like a tornado, she spat, straddled and swore, shoving her face into the audience for ‘Stole My Pushbike’, leaping onto bass amps for ‘Loser’, provoking the audience during ‘Westgate’ before luring them forward into a furious mosh for their final song of the set, ‘70s Street Munchies’. It was all hot, riotous chaos, and a perfect conclusion to a night set up to celebrate babes in all their glory.