Photos by Maximillian V Williams / @waxmilliams
The Melbourne punks hit the stage to launch their latest single.
For the launch of their new single, ‘Infinite Growth’, Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice brought together a well-curated, refreshingly gender-balanced night of post-punk to The Evelyn. The gig also served as a hype show for the anticipated follow-up to their 2020 EP, Remember the Future? Vol. 1.
Chess kicked off a night of charismatic frontpeople with Emma Dunstan’s classic rock voice and casual jazz swagger – one of those blithe, mesmerising singers who impress lyrical meaning with just the whites of her eyes.
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It’s not hard to see why the self-described “strategy-based post-punk” four-piece is a clear favourite of Dr Sure’s, having called upon them to support other Melbourne gigs in the past.
Much like Dr Sure’s, they’re a product of their millennial milieu, with a clear belief in the potential for social change through music.
That said, they’re slightly more palatable for newcomers to the post-punk genre. They wouldn’t look out of place on the roof of a school or onstage at prom in an alt ’90s rom-com. They weren’t a half-bad fit for The Evelyn’s freshly revamped grunge aesthetic and soft pastel lighting, either.
Excited chatter swelled through the small but lively crowd. RVG and Cash Savage milled around amongst diehard Melbourne music scene followers. You got the sense you were living through a chapter in someone’s autobiography, though you weren’t yet sure whose.
Suddenly, ENOLA appeared on stage, like the band had been waiting for us to arrive. You immediately felt comfortable in their unflinchingly confident, yet serious, aura.
All their songs are thoughtfully crafted yet performed intuitively – a controlled-meets-couldn’t-give-a-fuck duality.
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Ethereal reverb and distortion paired with a doped-up heartbeat of bass-heavy drums made for an inescapable soundscape that flooded the slightly emptier than usual room.
It was 1980s meets 2030s – a futuristic-yet-nostalgic commitment to post-punk shoegazing visually epitomised by ENOLA’s boilersuit aesthetic and Alan Vega-reminiscent movements juxtaposed with bassist Tali Harding-Hone’s space-age priestess get-up.
Vocalist Enola’s voice bounced between boredom and Munch-level anguish, their long fingers gripping their forehead, shielding their eyes.
Meanwhile, fans might have felt a level of anxiety themselves trying to commit to memory the band’s numerous incredible new tracks, impatiently awaiting the release of their promised album.
Dr Sure’s don’t fuck around. There was barely a beer and bathroom break before they burst onto stage, bellowing “Forget what you think you saw” on ‘Weekend on an Island’ – a generation of disenchantment embodied.
Just two weeks ago, frontman Dougal Shaw told us, “If we can all be in a room together that will be a nice surprise.” Well, he must have been nicely surprised.
Not only were we in a room together but a (somewhat distanced) mosh formed, with a few particularly energetic folk bouncing around like loose ions.
Though at one point, he perhaps slightly overestimated the size and density of the crowd, attempting a stage dive midway through the set. Fortunately, love lifted him up where he belonged, and he managed to avoid a Jack-Black-at-the-start-of-School–of-Rock moment.
Shaw himself looks like a maniacal Scooby-Doo villain. You half expect him to pause and say, “I would’ve got away with it, too, if it weren’t for the you meddling kids.”
Instead, he sang/shouted his thoughts on capitalism and the Australian government.
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It’s hard not to think of his incidental namesake, George Bernard Shaw, whose own work famously highlighted the social problems of his time. And, of course, the inner-northern Melburnian audience was ripe for agreement.
Punchy teaser tracks like ‘How Can Anybody Be Sober These Days’ and ‘I Hope You Die’ riled the audience up in anticipation for their new album, coming later this year.
In the current climate, Dr Sure’s shouldn’t have much difficulty booking out an even greater capacity album launch, hopefully garnering Shaw the crowd surf he deserves.
As long as governments keep fucking us over, Dr Sure’s music will continue to draw a crowd.
Highlight: The atmosphere – buzzy! Plus at least two new albums to look forward to in the very near future.
Lowlight: Teething problems with the foldbacks.
Crowd favourite: ‘Super Speedy Zippy Whipper’.