Robert Forster of the Go Betweens fame, published his first book, The Ten Rules of Rock and Roll in 2009. His ten rules present the annoyances and nuances of musicians and fans alike, describing the great expectations and the worst clichés from his experiences. Yet, when he scribed “The three piece band is the purest form of rock and expression” as his tenth and final rule, he hadn’t heard a single note from The Sinking Teeth.
Brought together by a mutual producer in Shihad’s Tom Larkin, Brisbane’s The Mercy Beat and Melbourne’s The Sinking Teeth, formed a band relationship. Both boasting a three piece line up with a reciprocal love for bad puns, inexpensive alcohol, and raging riffs; it was only a matter of time before these bands would begin to share stages. Having returned swept and bruised from Melbourne’s winds and punters respectively, The Mercy Beat opened up their wide doors of somewhat hostile hospitality for The Sinking Teeth’s debut in Brisbane at Ric’s Café and Bar.
The two groups stew over their complimentary jugs of beer, debating the creaminess of its contents and whether Coopers Green should be the standard to top (it is). As Churv McSweeney of the Mercy Beat carefully scrawls up a setlist for the night’s performance, The Sinking Teeth comprised of Nick Manuell, Julian Doan, and Ben Stewart, guffaw and choke up at the scribbled dicks and other profanities left on the pages’ borders. Getting on stage seems to be an afterthought for the hometown band; quietly confident and preoccupied with indulging their present company with stories of drunken escapades and detailed accounts of female intimacies; the elder Mercy Beat playing the drunken uncles to their blushing Fitzroy nephews.
The Mercy Beat’s unassuming yet visceral live show is a rare and most welcome sight for sore eyes and once delicate ears. Escaping the vogues of popularity and manageable expectation, the locals rip through a set of fuzzed out grooves and lightening licks as if they were razor nails down a paramour’s perspiring back. Drummer, Angus Broadfoot, now shirtless, edges his drumstool, competitively eyeing his howling bandmates, Liam and Churv, as if daring them to keep up with his splintering stickmanship. As perfectly rude, crude, and raw as the Mercy Beat present, it’s anybody’s wonder why they aren’t held in the esteemed breath as their suburban neighbours with a slather of ragged haired teens poured across the tiles of the Ric’s front bar.
“Hi, we’re Slayer”. Before they had struck out their first song of intricately angular punk at their debut Brisbane show, The Sinking Teeth had already turned some heads by vocalist, Nick Manuell’s snide, misleading brief. Harnessing the ferocity of the aforementioned thrash group, the Melbourne based trio display too much soul and divine dynamic to be truly affiliated with satan’s service. An emerging crowd bustle in closer for a cover of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, the sound of the familiar met with air piercing guitars and rhythmic spontaneity, before a violently syncopated instrumental sees the band recklessly flay their ability across the room. The boys stand as if they hadn’t a nerve to shake in the first place; making the tiny Ric’s stage their new home, a consideration they’d take on the proviso that they move in with the Mercy Beat and every night was like this. Their newfound friends before them encouragingly agree. Their final tracks “Carcass” and current single “Temporary Living” show where the Sinking Teeth shine, demonstrating a manic bipolarity in Doan and Manuell’s sandpaper vocals, both grazing and soaring around their sharply executed melodies, before knocking their microphones to the stone floor, feedback screaming for mercy. Pure rock n roll expression? The Sinking Teeth grin and bare it.
The Sinking Teeth return to Brisbane for QMusic’s annual BigSound conference occurring September 11-13 and will be performing alongside Born Lion, Damn Terran, Gay Paris, and The Guppies; all acts worthy of your witness.
Part 2 coming soon…