Health at The East Brunswick Club
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Health at The East Brunswick Club

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Early last year on an unassuming Wednesday night in Richmond, Cali-based noise-rock outfit HEALTH performed their maiden show on Australian shores in which they absolutely tore The Corner Hotel a new arsehole.

Early last year on an unassuming Wednesday night in Richmond, Cali-based noise-rock outfit HEALTH performed their maiden show on Australian shores in which they absolutely tore The Corner Hotel a new arsehole. It was a cryin’ shame that the floor was running at half capacity, but it’s a sure bet every punter went home that night fully sated from a stellar dose of noise-rock at its finest. Less than a year later, the band return to a downsized venue as well as a more palatable Friday night slot.

The East’s stage curtains parted to reveal the quartet decked out in typical LA garb: a retro Simpsons tee, baseball caps, etc. Their few seconds of inanimate silence felt like an eternity – like staring at a toaster’s elements on an early-morn start, waiting for the fucker to pop and invariably being startled when it does. Well, HEALTH popped like a thermonuclear Breville, exploding into Get Color opener In Heat without the slightest sense of a count in. It triggered a bombardment of percussion helmed by the inimitable, hirsute beast that is drummer Benjamin Miller, along with assistance on an errant supplementary tom. It was a flat-out brutal first half of the set, burning through most of their second album alongside choice cuts off their self-titled debut.

"Lead singer" Jake delivered his haunting, stage-whisper vocals with a vacant death-stare to match while bassist John acted as a foil, taking centre stage with non-stop goofy two-stepping underneath a gleaming mop of hair (seriously, dude should be in shampoo commercials). Leaving little in the way of stage banter, the band seemed content to form an impenetrable barrier between themselves and the punters. This may seem strange for an outfit that act like hilarious shitheads throughout interviews, their Twitter feed, and promo videos, but as soon as they’re up on stage there’s no fuckin’ about.

The machine-gun drums eventually relented with a series of the group’s more electronic-inclined selections, starting with the stabby LP-closer In Violet and working through to a few new, less-ferocious cuts. USA Boys, the sole new studio track attached to their second remix collection, Disco2, was greeted with probably the warmest reception of the night, most likely due to its distinction as the most accessible, poppy song the group have produced. While the string of newer material provided welcome respite from the onslaught of percussion and feedback, it does pervade a sense of worry that the band may be shifting away from their signature noise-rock sound and into an electronic-pop aesthetic. This would be all well and good if it weren’t for the criminal underuse of their ace-in-the-hole drummer, who takes great pleasure in making as much noise as often as possible in their earlier work.

Much like a slasher-film serial killer, HEALTH rose to deliver one more burst of pant-shitting terror to the audience: the encore kicked off with ear-splitter Severin, leaving punters stumbling onto Lygon St extremely satisfied, yet a little violated. Kinda like a colonic irrigation for your earholes. Feels good man.

Loved: Renowned international act for <$30!

Hated: Still didn’t sell out. What the fuck’s wrong with you people?

Drank: G&Ts with a side of earplugs.