Having seen Eddy Current Suppression Ring (ECSR) twice before, I’ll admit I was somewhat biased heading in to the Annandale for the tour that’s launching their latest album, Rush to Relax.
The first support act was the barely heard of Carburettor, whose monotonous melodies combusted into an unlikely mix of Brit-pop and Aus-rock, and although Sydney’s Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys did a fine job of working up the crowd, there was a true sense of ‘Are we there yet?!’ as the three piece churned out track after track of their tiresome punk-rock.
If they know how to warm a crowd up, Eddy Current Suppression Ring knows how to make them sweat. In fact, the sweaty pit that had only hours earlier been the empty front of house space was begging for a mop and a crate of deodorant (for its punters). Brendan ‘Suppression’ Huntley in his iconic purple gloves ignored the audience for most of the opening track, but looked like a wild animal staring at its prey by the last. Mickey Young, the man credited as the bands tour manager, producer and master of guitars and keys seemed submerged in riffs and solos, coming up for air only at the end of a track, despite Huntley’s persistent head-mashing and guitar-smacking.
The garage, new-wave punk of ECSR has an authenticity to it that this crowd understood. Obvious favourites (read: punters sang along very loudly and danced very hardly to) included ‘Wrapped Up’, ‘Memory Lane’ and ‘Sunday’s Coming’ from Primary Colours and new tracks ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Tuning Out’. Moshing, surfing, stage-diving, even band-member kissing was totally acceptable (if not a requirement) and Huntley’s mumbling “Be safe!” was genuine. ‘Walked into a Corner’ saw him crowd surfing for the whole 0:59 of the track. He then made his way across the bar (all along the top of it) and disappeared for a minute behind it, all the while his charismatically bogan vocals belted out ‘Which Way to Go’ until the crowd rolled forward towards the reappearance of his blackpurplebluepinkbluegreyblack striped shirt.
As expected, ECSR didn’t disappoint. They’re musicians with more than just a method or ‘style’ – when they play they mean it and their musical consistency and ingenuity mean they’re likely to be around for as long as we’ll have them – and we’ll have them alright.