Words and images by Matt Gleeson (and The Ginger Ninja) 31st August 2016
I have a confession to make…I’m old. I turn 42 next birthday and as a consequence it’s been a very long time since I last went to an all-ages show. With a bill that included the likes of mates, Australian Kingswood Factory, Udder Ubductees and Jerkbeast, I just had to drag my sorry old carcass down to Wrangler Studios on a Sunday afternoon to see them play. And that I did, dragging my 12 year old son, a.k.a. The Ginger Ninja along to his first all-ages show.
I was interested to see what the Ninja would make of his first full volume show. The Ninja regularly listens to the likes of Anti-Flag, Rise Against and NOFX, alongside CDs from local bands that I bring home from shows. He has also come along to the odd arvo acoustic show and seen Melbourne legends like Joe Guiton and the Krunchy Om-Let Experience (accompanied by a toga wearing Jen-Jen and his Drums of Fury). Despite these much vaunted experiences, the young punk padawan had never been to a high volume, full electric, nuts out (figuratively speaking, except maybe the odd wardrobe malfunction that time with Jen-Jen) punk rock show. I was interested what he would make of it all.
The old punk and the young ginger haired punk newbie turned up for the show early. The Ninja got plenty of kicks out of speaking to a few of the members of Jerkbeast and the Udder Ubductees. It was soon established that the Ginger Ninja was kind of Facebook famous with members of some of these Melbourne punk outfits introducing themselves and asking whether the young bloke was indeed the Ginger Ninja.
The first band on the bill were old mates Jerkbeast. The have a great party sound and the manic ravings and movements of vocalist Brad are always a spectacle to watch. With the young Ginger Ninja’s largely American pop punk pedigree, I wasn’t sure what he would make of the Melbourne 5 piece. He was pretty impressed, confidently telling his old man that Jerkbeast were pretty cool and I have to agree.
Next up, a four piece outfit, Feed My Frankenstein took the stage. Despite some technical problems involving breaking the jack off in the bass amp (not an euphemism for anything, but it probably should be), the young punk outfit knocked out an energetic set. Watching Feed My Frankenstein is a strange experience. The lead vocalist’s sometimes effeminate voice and camp stage antics coupled with nineties-esque guitar riffs and compositions, all combine to convince the audience they are watching a beautiful bad taste car accident (and I definitely mean that in a good way). The only thing this band is missing is some cheer leaders, a scary clown and a fire breather. Not sure what the Ginger Ninja made of Feed My Frankenstein. I’m beginning to think his notions of punk are a bit more traditional than I first thought.
Third act to the stage, the Udder Ubductees are well known to both myself and the Ginger Ninja. The Melbourne based cow and alien abduction themed ‘çow punk’ band are on regular rotation in the family wagon’s CD player, and the Ginger Ninja once took the stage with lead vocalist/guitarist Jenny in that infamous toga incident. Safe to say if you like your punk with plenty of bovine references this is the band for you. The Ginger Ninja happily rated these guy’s live performance a 5 out of 5 steaks.
The penultimate act were alt-rockers X-Minus. I don’t know whether the acid of my youth is catching up with me, but like Feed My Frankenstein, X-Minus instantly reminded me of the 1990’s. Definitely more alt-rock than punk, these guys were pretty tight offering up a pretty good show. The Ginger Ninja retaining his preference for a more punk outlook on life was less impressed with these guys than earlier offerings in the day. This didn’t stop him hovering near the front of the stage for their entire set though, so my guess is he was just trying to be cool in front of his old man.
Finishing up the afternoon were true Aussie rockers Australian Kingswood Factory. This is another band that gets played on high rotation in our household. AKF have a justifiable reputation for playing hard and despite their native habitat being the booze soaked dive bars of Melbourne, if anything the trio appeared to play harder and faster for the all-ages crowd. According to the Ginger Ninja these guys were the best act of the afternoon.
All the profits from the day are going to Minus 18 (an awesome charity that works with, for, and is run by, under 18 LGBT kids).