There is nothing quite as sexy, quite as quintessentially Melbourne, quite as refreshing as a good live gig. Among The Restless wasn’t just a good gig, but a great one. They perfectly captured the Aus-Rock culture many of us love. Never have I seen an intimate mosh go off so hard, both of my glasses now sit on the Evelyn Hotel’s floor, in pieces.
And what was the glorious, sexy, punchy occasion? Me and a swarm of fans of all ages were gathered in the Evelyn’s fantastic band room to celebrate Among The Restless’ new single; PIXEL JUNKIES. Supported by several other small Melbourne bands; Tudor Club, Mathilde Anne and SCUD. Tonight was an absolute feast for the indie-music senses. I don’t have time to go over every band on this list, as Among the Restless put on one hell of a show and we’d be here for 3 hours (easily), but I highly recommend every single one of these bands. They created an atmosphere perfectly amplified by the purple stage lights, and air thick with the smell of Moon Dog Fizzers. There was something for everyone, from the occasional sad, lyrically wrenching Radiohead-esque moments to high energy tracks reminiscent of contemporaries Ocean Alley, Lime Cordiale or Wallows. I understand why Among the Restless has such a large, dedicated, diverse fan-base. Metal mum’s, Mitski die-hards and Punk teens were all standing shoulder to shoulder, spellbound by the 5-piece’s musical magic.
Torn is such a tasty opener. As a massive 90’s post-Rock fan, I can feel the influence of bands like Sunnydale Real Estate, several Grunge heavyweights, and Pavement. They really have a little bit of everything, and tasty is the perfect word. The bass, the guitars, the driving drums and vocals, all of it fuses together and it melts on my tongue. After opening up with Torn, powerfully enigmatic front-man Rhett James takes to the mic. Dripping with charisma, he spends a lot of the night talking directly to this crowd of hungry fans. We eat up every word, and he knows it. “Stay restless!” He barks the order at us, and we completely obey. Back-to-back bangers No Sense // No Feeling and Ego push the night to an impossibly high level. These songs have a definite ‘kick’ to them, elevating from just tasty to fuelling. I’m nervous – how will they go keeping up this level of energy? But I shouldn’t have had any fear, Among The Restless have the attitude and bite of musicians 20 years their veterans.
Rhett beams at us, “This is the saddest song from our second EP. Written by yours truly, our guitarist Seamus, it’s called Star Crossed.” Magician on the strings, Seamus Glenn coyly smiles and in a shy little voice just says, “stop it.” The love between them is clear, and it’s wonderful. Star Crossed is without a doubt, a crowd favourite. Everyone around me is lost in reckless abandon, and all I can hear is a chorus of “How low! How low!” Faces are red and screaming, the band room is entirely under a spell. It must be an absolute treat for Rhett’s family, who are up visiting from Brisbane. His brother is wading through the crowd taking photos and videos of twenty-somethings losing their fucking minds. “It’s quite emotional actually” and I hear James’ voice crack a little. But immediately he has to lift the mood, “Josh’s bass is fucked and Lachie’s guitar has fallen off, so now I’ve gotta stall. I’ll tell you a story I guess. One time Seamus and I got into Berghain, and we learned how to dance the proper, European way. And then kissed some German guy.” For the uninitiated, Berghain is maybe the most exclusive club in the world, with online simulator games to test if you’re “cool” enough for Berlin’s upper-echelon of club rats. Among the Restless are cool enough for Berghain, confirmed.
Slave Within the Change has to be another crowd favourite, this is the song where the first of my two glasses got smashed. I understood. One can’t not move to the 5-piece powerhouse of masculine love, energy and musical ecstasy.
“We’re gonna play a song we finished like last week, so it’s probably the only time you’re gonna hear it in a long time. One of us wrote this song about an ex-girlfriend who really liked the movies. So, yeah. Stay tuned, it’ll probably come out in a year.” The unreleased track is aptly named Cinema, and I can’t wait for its release. As the ex who really likes the movies, the lyrics are a perfect cocktail of funny, aching, and catchy – the Among the Restless specialty.
For a song no one’s heard, it gets rowdy. People are getting so down and so dirty. Rhett seems genuinely surprised, “This turnout’s fucked hey.” And people cheer, jump in the air and knock over yet another one of my glasses. “I saw someone do a bump before, that shit was lit. Keep it up.” And the drums kick us into Missing Pieces. The instrumentals in this band are fucking ridiculous, shimmery guitars, pounding bass and drums that dance around each other – it’s such a delight.
The 5 piece move offstage to grab stools, and I was very confused. Stool break? That’s a first. But when they come back, the fellas sit down and dish up an acoustic cover of Underground. It’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Rhett’s vocals really shine here. The pipes on this kid are next level, ethereal shit. I’m spellbound, and every inch of me has goosebumps.
The Screaming Jets are Aus-Rock royalty, and as a fellow Novocastrian, my ears immediately perked up hearing their name. In a tribute to James’ close family friend, Paul, they lose themselves in a neck-breakingly good cover of Needle. It’s bittersweet, powerful and shows the importance of community and musical brotherhood. Rest in Peace, Paul.
Wastecase into Someone Else leads us to the absolute showstopping finale of Lucy and, of course, PIXEL JUNKIES. Rhett comes out in full drag, “THIS IS FOR THE MILF’s”, is what I’m 99% sure he said. And god I hope it is. MILF Supremacy. Sporting his outfit from the recently released film clip, the stage littered with props from the same, it dawns on me as they shred through their final number and brand new single; these guys are the embodiment of the Wheatus song Teenage Dirtbag. They’re sweaty, messy with bleached buzzcuts and mullets, but they’re so much fun. They get the girl, they lose the girl, they write an amazing track. Honestly, they capture something so uniquely Australian, so nostalgic and outrageous. Stream this shit, I’m being dead serious. It’s so, so good.
Among The Restless are keeping the traditions of Aus-Rock alive. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they have such loving energy between them. They embody the community, the comradery and the love of music. And god can they play. With a setlist nearly 90 minutes long, they never get sloppy. All of them were born to play their instrument, it seems as natural as breathing. Keep an eye on these guys; I just know they’ll be big.