REVIEW: The Chats rock Bristol’s O2 Academy
PUBLISHED: 17:23 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:29 16 December 2019
“Can we get a round of applause for the security team”?
These aren't the parting words you expect to hear from an ordinary gig, but Australian punk band The Chats did not play an ordinary gig on Friday night.
Guitarist Josh Price, drummer Matt Boggis, and bassist and vocalist Eamon Sandwith rocked a lively crowd at Bristol's O2 Academy on the penultimate night of their inaugural UK tour. Warm-up acts and fellow Aussies Crocodylus and Bad Dreems got the audience amped up with mosh pits a-plenty. However, things stepped up another level when the main men arrived.
The three-piece entered the stage to Queen's We Are The Champions in a darts-style walk on and instantly had the crowd on their side. They then warned that anyone who wished to crowd surf would be escorted out by the men in high vis jackets and must re-enter the chaos through the back door. What followed was a whirlwind hour-long set of early material and new numbers. I decided to stay well clear of the mosh pits and watched from the top tier, looking down at an incredible amount of people lying flat while being passed over the heads of strangers.
The Chats' lyricism is both a funny and realistic account of Australian culture, with songs such as Wrong Way Sekisui calling out urban developers and local government for building high rise apartments on Australia's beautiful beaches. Lyrics such as 'this is our beach, and we'll stand by our reefs' are incredibly powerful and provided the audience with both relevant context and pathos towards a problem many knew little about. What's more is they're all incredibly talented musicians in their own right; Sandwith delivers nasty bass slaps, Price aggressively shreds the guitar and Boggis is a speedy whiz on the drums.
Other material from their debut self-titled EP also went down a treat with the early day supporters, including I'm The Best Person In The World. Fans of The Chats see them as a revival of early punk as they draw influences from the 1970s new wave movement, and this inspiration is clear in their material.
The audience was teased into thinking they were about to hear a 'brand new and exclusive song' only for the trio to go into the song everyone in the crowd had heard numerous times before. Smoko went viral in 2017 thanks to its iconic low-budget music video, and its live rendition was off-the-scale. Crocodylus and Bad Dreems came back out to join in on the act, with some members jumping into the crowd for a quick crowd surf and Price walking out into the audience and up the stairs while strumming along, much to the surprise of both the security and crowd. What followed was even more unexpected; an impromptu rendition of AC/DC's Highway To Hell with all three bands rocking out to the iconic number.
The lads ended with two songs released this year which have also been accompanied by hilarious music videos in Identity Theft and Pub Feed, which sent the exhausted audience home happy. Sandwith then thanked both the crowd and the security team for their efforts in making sure things did not get too out of hand and, most importantly, no one was hurt.
After being signed to Universal earlier this year, and with an upcoming debut studio album due to be released soon, The Chats will receive global recognition once again and are exposing punk music to a much wider audience. These boys definitely have a big and bright future ahead of them.