There is a technique to crowd surfing and don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s a Hail Mary twisting of the shoulders and abdomen in the hope that your lower half follows suit. Of course, the success of all of your writhing undulations and contortions rely strictly on the myriad hands that at once prod your head, legs, torso ass and crotch. With any luck, you’ll be passed around like a prison bitch for a while before being safely delivered to stage front security. These trusty men in fluro are known affectionately as ‘meatheads’. I know all this because I’ve been to Camp Eddy Current.
An Eddy Current Suppression Ring gig revolves around girls and boys working out their sexual frustrations in the most constructive way possible: moshing. People and objects become a blur as if you’re watching some kind of experiment in cinema vérité, shifting violently to a back beat as you try to find a safe place for your tongue. It isn’t long before you realize there is no safe place for your tongue or for the rest of you. Your best bet is to bite down on it really hard, somewhere between checking your jacket and entering the mosh pit. Try drawing some blood and any subsequent mastication will pale in comparison. At the very least, you can dribble some blood down your chin and pretend to be that Twilight guy. Girls aren’t necessarily exempt from this practice.
The ugly face of the new youth doesn’t slam dance and wear a Mohawk; it wears non-prescription glasses and hangs out at the Rooftop Bar. It’s skinny jean-clad North Korea and it’s utterly terrifying. What I see tonight are the cracks between the conformity. A crowd branded with the mark of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Philly Jays. But there are plenty of hipsters here too, if that’s your thing.
The Palace is, for lack of a better phrase, fucking packed. I’m not the only one wondering how a band from Frankston got this big. It had to happen sooner or later, though. A cocksure Melbourne band had to do it for themselves eventually. I’m just glad I’m around to witness it.
The band takes the stage. The gloves are on. A set list is torn through with Running of the Bulls-like ferocity. ‘Memory Lane’, ‘Colour Television’, ‘Sunday Comes’ and ‘Get Up Morning’ are all there. The latter reminds me of ‘Do It’ by the Rollins Band, but a whole lot catchier and with less boneheaded lyrics.
Each member of the band is dressed like you’ve seen your grandfather do at some point, whether on holiday, out to collect the paper in his robe or whatever. But they don’t sound like your grandfather. Hell no, what I hear is a Keith Morris-era Black Flag. I’ve never felt so patriotic towards Melbourne.
Guitarist Eddy Current plays the way you can instead of the way you wish you could. Brendan Suppression engages in all the usual Iggy Pop shit and one has no choice but to eat it all up, it’s just too good; the stage dive, walking on the crowd’s hands, running through the venue and climbing the balconies with the Palace’s eye trained on you the whole time. It’s not so much commanding the crowd as baiting it.
I don’t know what kinds of drugs fuel energy like that. My hope is it’s all Corona and a prayer. One thing I do know, however, is that good music is born out of passion. It’s something that you can’t sniff, snort, smoke or mainline. Passion is what makes Eddy Current Suppression Ring one of a handful of current bands worth a damn. It’s not the next evolution in punk or rock or music. They haven’t reinvented the spirit like Bikini Kill or reformulated the sound like Atari Teenage Riot. What they’ve done, and I couldn’t phrase this more childishly, with more arrogance or any other way, is give Australian live music a kick in the teeth. Maybe even a push in the right direction – one can only hope.