LA pop rockers, Bleached have continued to wow audiences on their ongoing tour of Australia in promotion of their second album, Welcome the Worms. This is the first time that the trio: singer, Jennifer, lead guitarist, Jessie and bassist, Micayla have crossed our shores and hit up Melbourne’s renowned Northcote Social Club on the 30th of May.
First band to hit the stage, Pansy walked on with an aura of awkwardness that we quickly discovered was used to their advantage. Imitating the husband/wife or girlfriend/boyfriend aesthetic, the two intertwined each others’ harmonies with their angst-ridden lyrics and lo-fi guitar sounds (think bands like Teen Suicide, Elvis Depressedly, etc.). Actually this band could fit really well playing at the Bronze (the club in 90s teen drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) with it’s much noisier live show contrasted with softer, droning vocals; it was the perfect band to take you back to those nostalgic 90s vibes that we can’t get enough of.
Melbourne five-piece, DARTS is another band that indulged itself in the sounds of 90s, but leaning more towards the rougher, grungier sounds of The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. etc. Like Pansy, DARTS had two lead vocalists, but they contrast significantly. Angus is snarling, sharp and raw whereas Ally was soft and entrancing. This, alongside the use of keys worked together beautifully as it gently softens the roughness of their music, something the punters quite clearly enjoyed as a crowd began to fill in during their set.
Finally, Bleached walk on stage and broke into their first single from 2016’s Welcome the Worms, Keep on Keepin’ on. Coinciding with the grungy, Blondie-esque vibe that forms the band, Bleached have their own aesthetic which ranges from their brightly coloured hair to their awesomely vintage outfits that scream LA rebellion. Kind of like a mix between raiding your Grandma’s closet and slightly altering them for an arty rave. Having emerged from snotty punk roots, the pink and blue-haired Clavin sisters knew how to get an audience rowdy, dancing around the stage in a carefree fashion.
Although it took a few songs for the crowd to settle in, with a setlist full of classics like Dazed, For the Feel and Electric Chair, the crowd was moving with excitement. Aside from the older anthems, the set consisted mainly of songs from their new record. The sun-bleached sounds of lead single Wednesday Night Melody offered a moment of respite and nostalgia whereas the angrier, upbeat tunes like Sleepwalking had the crowd pushing and shoving in an uncontrollable mess. We were even treated to a cover of The Misfits’ ‘Skulls’ which funnily enough got two older punks in their Misfits jackets to burst from the back of the crowd and bustle excitedly around the front. Later came energetic solos from Jessie, the blue-haired guitarist who was jumping out and onto the merch table whilst Jen jumped in for a drum solo.
This was one of the most exciting shows I’ve been to in a while. The girls clearly played their hearts out and the audience rewarded them with their incessant head banging, pushing and shoving that’s naturally drawn from their music. Besides their garage-punk exterior, they were also the most down to earth rockers around, and greeted their fans graciously, sticking around and chatting with everyone afterwards. Bleached play one more show in Auckland before they head back to the US and continue their hectic co-headline tour rollercoaster with Beach Slang for Welcome the Worms.