Back in 2015, Kisschasy had a farewell tour. Having loved the band for years but being under 18 for every concert they played prior, I went to every show of that tour. Now that they’re touring again, I’m far from mad because they’re easily one of the greatest live bands I’ve seen and will always be one of my favourites.
Being at the barrier with a crowd, I could feel the excitement in the room and found this something really rare; having a diverse group of people that still love a band that had brought them so much joy in the past. Walking out to Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ and then immediately blasting into ‘The Perfect Way To Meet’, judging from the crowd’s reaction, it was easy to see that Melbourne missed Kisschasy. It’s been eight years since I last saw them play live and they are just as good and strong as the first time I saw them. If anything, they’ve gotten even better.
One of the band’s more melancholic songs that featured in the set was ‘Ugly Birds In A Beautiful Cage’. The song has a change in tempo mid-way through that provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the beasts that Joel Vanderuit and Karl Ammitzboll are on the bass and drums respectively.
Seeing Ammitzboll play brings up comparisons of Dave Grohl just based on how hard he plays. Because a bassist must keep up with the drummer, Vanderuit is a perfect match with the intensity of Ammitzboll’s playing, and the guy has the ultimate bassist power-stance.
‘Generation Why?’ a song that is even more relevant now than it was in 2009, had the audience throwing their fists in the air and roaring the chorus. Evidence that Darren Cordeux’s lyrics still resonate with fans. Even singing the “La la la la” part, was powerful, fun, and irresistible.
A personal real treat was hearing ‘Darkside’, a track from the band’s first EP,’Darkside/Stay Awake’ that I had been looking for and finally found after years of searching the shelves of record stores. It was obvious that not everyone in the crowd knew this song, nevertheless, it was so awesome to hear it live.
After ‘This Bed’, the rest of the band left the stage for Cordeu, to perform solo three beloved Kisschasy songs including ‘The Shake’, ‘Dinosaur’ and ‘Black Dress’. Despite the lyrics of ‘Black Dress’ being dark, the warm reception it received was possibly greater than their last tour and this solo set displayed how strong Cordeux is as a vocalist. Having his voice on show in such a vulnerable way would leave him an easy target for negative critique, but I have none to give.
As ‘Black Dress’ came to a close, the rest of the band re-joined Cordeux, replacing the song’s typical violin outro for the band’s own composition and the decision to end the concert with a delicate fan favourite was a brilliant decision.
Almost seconds after Ammitzboll bounced off the stage, the crowds’ cheers for “One more song!” started and the band quickly returned with Cordeux saying, “Sorry, I forgot we had three more songs for you.”. The final three songs are their most familiar, and helped show just how underrated of a guitarist Sean Thomas is, playing songs in any tone and speed effortlessly.
It was obvious how much fun Kisschasy were having throughout the show, but it was never more evident than during their track ‘Spray On Pants’. If you’re having a great time at a gig, it’s even better to see the band having a great time too. These moments create a bond between the band and their fans, while showing the power that music has in uniting us.
If you only know Kisschasy from their singles, you’ll still have a great time and will be reminded of a time when the world felt a little easier and a particular band was singing songs on the radio that were relatable and with such great discography that your parents stopped telling you how Australian bands weren’t as good as “back in the day”.
The connection Kisschasy creates with their audience is part of the fun of seeing them live. Evident is the love they proclaim to have for their fans. It feels genuine, and after all these years, the love has only grown stronger.
Presented by SBM and Select Music, Kisschasy played in Melbourne’s Corner Hotel their first of three sold-out shows on Wednesday the 17th of May. Their other two shows are tonight (Thursday the 18th of May), and then next week on Thursday the 25th of May. In between, they perform in Torquay on May 19th and Hobart, Tasmania on May 20th before returning to the Corner Hotel in Melbourne one last time.
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Photography by Grant Alexander.