Australia pub-punk trio The Chats brought their brand of raucous fun to San Diego, and inside a sold-out Observatory North Park, there was a swelling of anticipation and excitement. It was a night that would prove to be a loose, chaotic evening of punk rock.
It all began with an indie quartet from New Hampshire, GymShorts. Fronted by Sarah Greenwell – whose smile was infectious no matter the subject matter of the song – GymShorts is truly an entertaining band and not your typical “indie” stuff. I highly suggest you go see them!
Next up was San Diego’s Schizophonics. This is a DO NOT MISS band! Guitarist/vocalist Pat Beers is literally all over the place; down on the stage one second, then flying across it the next, all while playing guitar and singing.
It’s a crazy show you need to see in person.
Also from Australia in direct support of The Chats was Cosmic Psychos. They have been around since 1981, and this no nonsense, no frills, gruff rock/punk outfit showed up just to melt everyone’s face off. While this “old guy” (me) had never heard of them, much of the crowd had – or at least they acted like they had by the sheer amount of cheering, screaming, and hollering the band received.
Then it was time for what we had all showed up for: The Chats!
The headliners hailing from the sunny shores of Queensland brought an auditory onslaught for the entire venue. The Chats – Eamon Sandwith (bass and vocals), Matt Boggis (drums), and Josh Hardy (guitar) – are known for their blue collar lyrics, and driving rhythms of short songs similar in length and drive to the Ramones or the Circle Jerks. On tour supporting their latest release, “Get Fucked,” they were able to play 10 of the 13 songs from the disc, as well as almost all of the rest of their library of songs.
With little fanfare they appeared onstage, gave a quick wave to the audience, then launched into their set with the ferocity of a freight train, and the crowd responded in kind. The opening chords of “Nambored” instantly ignited a frenzy in the audience.
Bodies collided, drinks were thrown into the air, and the room became a swirling vortex of sound and movement. The Chats’ music was a relentless assault on the senses; a sonic barrage that left no room for contemplation.
It was pure, unadulterated punk rock at its finest, and it was impossible not to get caught up in the madness.
A couple of songs later, “6L GTR” got the place in high gear with fans yelling along to the lyrics at the top of their lungs. It was a communal experience; a gathering of like-minded souls who were there to let loose and revel in the chaos. The Chats provided the soundtrack for this rebellion, and the audience responded by crowd surfing, moshing, and letting it all loose.
As the set continued, The Chats’ repertoire of songs included “Out on the Street,” “Stinker,” “Southport Superman,” and “Temperature” proved to be a relentless onslaught of catchy, punk-driven anthems. They didn’t waste time on excessive banter or introspection; they were there to deliver a high-octane performance, and that’s exactly what they did. It was punk rock stripped down to its bare essence – no nonsense, no pretensions.
The concert reached its peak with the crowd screaming along to every word of what I am sure is their biggest hit to date, “Smoko.” It was a powerful moment of unity; a collective outpouring of energy that transcended the confines of the basement venue. In that instant, it was clear that this band from Australia had connected with their audience in a profound way.
In the end, The Chats delivered a concert experience that was everything one could hope for from a punk rock show. It was loose and chaotic, just as we wanted, and it left us exhilarated and drained in the best possible way. If you ever have the chance to see The Chats live, don’t hesitate. It’s a high-energy punk rock frenzy that you won’t soon forget.
The Chats are touring North America this month, wrapping up October 31st in Los Angeles for Halloween at the Novo.