Rock ‘n’ roll used to be a big “fuck you “to society. It was something loud, crude and guaranteed to piss of your parents when played at a sufficiently eardrum busting volume. Then a funny thing happened. The hard-partying, groupie-loving, long-haired rock gods of yesteryear gave way to the well-behaved, politically-correct, yoga class-attending adult contemporary “rock star” of today. Before too long, Britney was straddling a motorbike singing “I Love Rock n Roll” and it seemed the dream was over. Thankfully, Melbourne lads Dead City Ruins appear to have noticed this shift and seem hell-bent on putting the rock world to rights. Fresh from a tour of the UK and Europe, DCR are ready to build on the success of their debut album, Midnight Killer.
Sneering their way on stage, greeting the crowd with “Hey fuckers” before dousing them in beer, it took a minute or so to realise this was not a rock by numbers kind of gig. Lead singer Jake has possibly the best set of crazy eyes since Mike Patton, the bravado of 80s Axl Rose and the arse crack of a veteran plumber. The surprisingly large crowd laps every moment of it up and by their second song, tattooed groupies are divvying up the band between themselves and there has been a punch on between over excited moshers.
As the opening notes of “Midnight Killer” scream out, a microphone stand is launched at a stage light for the second time and security visibly bristles. When their lead singer decides to take a stroll along the edge of the crowd, over the railing, across the rickety merch stand and along the bar before jumping off and slapping this reviewer on the arse, you get the feeling if they weren’t playing, they would never get anywhere near Cherry and after tonight one would highly doubt they will ever be invited back. That being said, in this day and age when rock stars are more interested in yoga and sobriety the brash, dirty and rude antics of DCR are a welcome reminder of all that rock ‘n’ roll was and should be. Call it balls, call it a few lines too many, call it whatever you want, they are undeniably exciting to watch.
“Damn My Eyes” spawns some frantic air guitar playing from some punters near the back of crowd and a bizarre mosh/Irish jig from the ones at the front. “I’m not leaving till I get fucking carried out,” screams Jake, which considering the beers being ferried to the band by the audience seems very likely. The growing annoyance on the faces of security also seems to confirm this.
Slowing down to pay a tribute to their former drummer, DCR show a different side. It is easy to see that it is a hard song to play, the bass player and guitarist stand close together and for a while it is quite a sombre scene indeed. The moment doesn’t last too long as they close their set in synchronized long hair head banging unison and feral guitar fury.
Following chants of “one more song” from the crowd, they retake the stage for an encore complete with a tribute to Pantera’s “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott who was tragically gunned down on stage 7 years ago.
DCR are not without their limitations, thanking everyone there with “I know we’re shit but thanks for enduring us”, but what they lack in studio polish they more than make up for with a live show that harks back to the glory days of onstage bad behaviour. They unapologetically play ear splitting, bra busting, panty dropping rock n roll and they’re fucking good at it.
– Madison Thomas