The Bennies at the Grand 2

The Bennies @ Garageland

I have lived in Cairns on and off for 20+ years now. In all that time I had never been to a gig at the Grand. This year I have played there 4 or 5 times and have now been to two shows there. The first time someone told me they were putting on a large show at the Grand I scoffed. “This will be interesting” I said. I was not a believer.

I was wrong.

The Grand is a great venue for a whole bunch of different acts. Every time I go there the setup is changed. This night had the band in the alcove at the back next to the kitchen and the main stage had couches on it. You mean I can sit in a couch and watch the band? I love couches!. Also, they had Mario Kart on SNES on a big screen. Koopa shells flying everywhere. What a great setup, I don’t know the Garageland crew but well done, keep up the good work people.

Swamp Donkey were first up. I love this kind of post rock, shoe gazey, sorry-I-am-busy-playing-with-my-delay-pedal, Sonic Youth washing machine stuff. Next was Hungry Lungs and I was alreadyThe Bennies at Garageland sold before they casually dropped Interpol’s “Evil” into the set. Don’t mind us were just covering one of Interpol’s tougher tracks. Awesome. The last of the support acts was Tropic Roots. Coming at it from a more reggae angle these guys are exactly the sort of thing that gets Cairns dance floors pumping. I look forward to catching them playing a ton of shows in the future. Quick shout out to the Jobstopper boys who were unable to play. Will was walking around like he had lost his dog. Made me just want to hug him and say “it’ll be ok dude, there will be other sweet support gigs”.

And it’s a real shame too because it would have been a great pairing. I am way out of my depth trying to come up with comparisons for The Bennies. Pop-punk-ska? Rock and roll? What I do know is that they were tight and hairy and absolutely blew the top off The Grand. I love when a band goes on and the crowd presses forwards. You can be standing at the back of the pub leaning on an ATM trying to look as cool as you can and next thing you are up front being jumped on by sweaty dudes in band shirts that all have some kind of pun name. “I am just here to do the review!” you yell but nobody hears. It’s a human riptide. So you swim back to the couch and watch a sea of people jumping up and down in rhythm trying their absolute best to hurt each other in the most polite possible way. Then the singer presses the SPACE button on his vocal thingy and boom shit goes cosmic. So now it’s pop-punk-ska-psy? Killer. Throw in some hard synth keys just because and man it was hectic. What a great night. What a cool band. What a sweet venue.

Tim Wright

Photos by Pappi-Razzi

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