Live: Dr. Sure’s Unusual Practice/Slag Queens/Brenda at Altar (nipaluna/Hobart) 25/03/2022

It was with a large slice of excited anticipation that I attended this gig.  Two of Tassie’s finest post-punk exponents provided support for a band from Melbourne with the most “unusual” of names, Dr. Sure’s Unusual Practice. Dr Sure are a part of the Marthouse Records stable, which is owned by the band’s leader, Dougal Shaw (he is also guitarist for Cash Savage & The Last Drinks).

Three-piece outfit, Brenda, began proceedings with a punchy set which was dominated by their angular guitar attack and driving rhythm producing sounds reminiscent of late 80’s post-punk masters, The Fall.

Next up came Slag Queens, Tasmania’s National Live Music Award winners for 2020, and they didn’t fail to impress, yet again.  Their music is built upon pounding basslines, quirky guitar and drums, and is all the while embellished with electronic keyboard wizardry.  The music is powerful, blending styles ranging from the punk sound of The Slits to popular new-wave icons, The B-52’s.

Having had the atmosphere set by the preceding bands, Dr. Sure’s Unusual Practice took to the stage and delivered a set full of polished assuredness.  Mercurial frontman and key protagonist, Dougal Shaw leads the band on vocals, guitar and synth, with the superb rhythm section made up of Jake Suriano on bass, and Miranda Holt on drums underpinning the great guitar work of both Shaw and fellow guitarist, Jack McCullagh.

Their post-punk art rock appears to draw from influences as diverse as The Fall and Devo, alongside contemporaries such as Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Peep Tempel and Tropical Fuck Storm.  The band write about topical, socially-aware subject matter, and call into account the so-called leaders of our society in the hope of a better future for all.

The appreciative crowd were treated to a powerhouse performance given by a band who endured the frustrations of Melbourne’s long pandemic lock-downs and who were bursting at the seams to get their music out to live audiences on this leg of their ‘Remember The Tour?’ tour.

If you haven’t heard of, or caught this band live, then do yourself a favour and ready yourself for a rollicking good time.

Feature Photograph: Andrew Fuller/fullonrockphotography

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