The Chats With Tenement Rats And Tommy And The Commies At The Regent, Monday July 8th 2019
The Chats are three young guys from Queensland and they have nothing to envy from Los Angels punk bands I see on a weekly basis. They are wild with that same laid-back cheap-beer-party attitude that made, let’s say FIDLAR famous, they didn’t even do too many stage antics, but the chaos that they installed inside a very sold-out Regent theater was quite the scene, last Monday night.
Tenement Rats opened the night with a strident and rather violent head-banging style, barked vocals and a greasy leather jacket attitude. They played with a true-punk aggressiveness, and, in the end, something that could have come straight from your dad’s 70s punk collection. The guitars were loud and distorted, the fast tempo of their songs never slowed down and kept their trashy raw attitude for the entire set… Amusingly, they have released their material on a London label called No Front Teeth…
Canadian Tommy and the Commies were a fun pop-punk band and they certainly had the tunes, bright with explosive pop choruses, a bit like a new version of the Buzzcocks! With a debut album on Slovenly Recordings, they effortlessly had that special ’80s punk-pop retro trademark, their music had the power chords and plenty of punch, sounding like a series of bouncy mini assaults delivered with swagger and a hooligan (as they describe themselves) attitude,
Till then, people were certainly enjoying themselves, but it was nothing compared to what was about to come during the Chats’ set, I knew nothing about these young Aussies, but all the kids in the front rows were singing the lyrics of all the songs like a call to arms, while the sweaty scene instantaneously turned into an insane chaos with plenty of surf crowding, and people landing at the top of each other. And this always fascinates me, how did all these kids know about the Chats?
The self-proclaimed ‘pub-punk’ band arrived on stage at the sound of the Rocky soundtrack and right away launched the show with their upbeat punk songs which cover all the essential themes of aimless youth: ‘Nambored’ is about been pissed off (or bored), ‘Mum Stole My Darts’ is about your mom stealing your cigs and smoking the whole pack, and ‘Bus Money’ is about spending bus money on a six-pack…These are the simple preoccupations of the Chats, the Aussie band rages about these down-to-earth, common life, almost useless things and especially asks to be left alone during their ‘Smoko’, the Australian equivalent of a smoke break. The video for the ‘Smoko’ song actually went viral, even got the attention of Dave Grohl, then Joshua Homme, who played the song to Iggy Pop. What better publicity could you ask for? That’s how legends are born…
The fun trio surely knew how to command a crowd and a room with a minimum physical engagement, but the mullet of their ringleader, Eamon Sandwith, was surely enough of an attitude. They drank beer on stage, addressed the crowd with that funny Aussie accent and the assurance of a band that has managed to sell out an entire UK tour last year, whereas it was the first time they had put a foot in England. They definitively looked like guys determined to conquer the new world too, and they had good reasons to be confident. The show, which was originally supposed to be held at the Echoplex, instantaneously sold out and was soon relocated at a larger venue, the Regent, which also sold out.
Eamon Sandwith on bass and vocals was certainly the leader of the threesome, and with Josh Price on guitar and vocals and Matt Boggis on drums, they barely stopped between their punk anthems whose lyrics were shouted along by the untamed crowd ‘I’m the best person in the world/Everybody else looks like a pedo/Cause I am so great/And you are so lame’
‘This song is about getting an STD!’… ‘This song is about contracting Clymedia!’ they said before attacking ‘He’s Got the Clap’. The songs were short and launched like pure jokey assaults, firing up the mosh pit each time, while Sandwith and his bandmates had the frenetic delivery electrifying the venue into pure mayhem. The music was fun and I may have found it even catchier if I hadn’t been too busy avoiding the legs of crowd surfers landing in the photo pit. A song announced as ‘a brand new song’ was actually a Kiss cover (‘Rock and Roll All Nite’) because only guys wearing mullets can cover Kiss.
The place had turned into a war field by the time they played ‘Smoko’ and a few more, but the crowd didn’t let them leave without a high energy encore with ‘I’m Better Than You’…On Monday night, The Chats had the right attitude to take over the world one hilarious song after the next, with the most sincere simplicity and the convincing demeanor you could imagine.
How Many Do You Do
Mum Stole My Darts
I’m the Best Person in the World
He’s Got the Clap
Do What I Want
Rock and Roll All Nite (Kiss Cover)
I’m Better Than You