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Live Review: Little Bastard, July 10 @ Black Bear Lodge

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on July 21, 2014

Sydney’s Little Bastard are like Mumford & Sons, but a lot cooler and a lot drunker. The Brisbane leg of their album launch tour was as raucous and energetic as you’d expect from a band that is notorious for their extremely fast paced version of bluegrass rock’n’roll. If there was anyone in the audience on the fence about them (highly unlikely), the guys put on a show that would sway even the sternest of sceptics.

Unfortunately, thanks to Brisbane’s increasingly appalling public transport system at any time after peak hour, I missed the support band and arrived to an already heaving dance floor and an electric atmosphere. However, I have it on good authority that I missed something pretty fantastic. The Family Jordan’s style of laidback and intriguing songs, and beautiful contrasting vocals provided by frontman Jordan Rochfort and vocalist Anna Clifford. I will be making it a top priority to catch these guys in action!

Black Bear Lodge, normally home to quiet, intimate and gentle gigs had quite the change of pace, with boisterous punters edging forwards, eagerly awaiting the band to take the stage. Whatever the audience was expecting, Little Bastard delivered tenfold, with an explosive set from the first note. Five microphones across the front of the stage, with a drummer and fiddle player behind, the crammed in guys seemed more like just some dudes having a good time – and just so happen to be packing out a venue whilst they’re at it. Instruments and vocalists swapping every which way, with playful and comedic banter filling time between songs as the guys assemble and reassemble themselves.

I think the best way to hear Little Bastard’s album is live, as it really highlights just how much is going on with this band. High For You kicks off the set, with Johnny Took bringing the party from the first note. As the set continues, Matty Took takes to the mic to sing Good Explosions and Frosty (which was actually a set highlight albeit it normally performed with his other band Callithump). Dan D’Arcy then shows off his pipes for a thigh slapping rendition of Little Maggie which also gives the incredible fiddle playing by Ed Rowe the spotlight.

The whole set is blistering, fast, and fun. Even the boys’ cover of The BeatlesThe Night Before takes surprisingly well with a country spin. Single Be My Kind isn’t done justice in the recording, and definitely became a new favourite of mine after seeing it performed. Soaring harmonica solos accompanied by rolling percussion and Johnny’s perfectly suited vocals reiterate why the song was chosen for the single.

A Little Bastard gig makes for a pretty great night out, with the added benefit of some really impressive music. This clearly talented and incredibly tight band of merry men are renowned for their exuberant and high spirited live shows, and now I can see why. If you get the chance to see these guys in action, definitely do it – and bring your dancing shoes!

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