Live Review & Gallery: Australia Bids Farewell to Beloved Post-Punk Ensemble Johnny Hunter – 19.04.24, Low 302, Eora/Sydney

In a moment tinged with both melancholy and anticipation, Eora/Sydney’s beloved post-punk ensemble, Johnny Hunter, prepares to bid adieu as they set sail for the UK, their signature eyeliner and instruments in tow.

Marking this significant occasion and coinciding with the release of their latest single ‘Frustration 2.0’, Johnny Hunter bestowed upon their devoted fans three unforgettable sold-out nights at the cozy Low 302 in the heart of the city. Yes —not one, but three consecutive sold-out shows.

In the realm of Johnny Hunter, there exist two types of people: those yet to encounter their sonic allure, and the cult-like devotees. There’s no room for a middle ground here. Consistently defying expectations, they have artfully carved out a niche within Sydney’s underground.

Let’s rewind to 2020 when Arun Kendall penned his thoughts on their single ‘Hollow Man’: “Sydney’s Johnny Hunter are quite a delight – drawing as they do on a long and creditable line of goth-tinged post-punk music stretching from Joy Division through to Editors and Interpol. And they do this without resorting to simple cliches or sounding like a mere facsimile of their influences.” And honestly, no one’s ever looked back.

Shortly after and with the release of their debut EP ‘Early Trauma’, Arun caught up with them for an interview:
Arun: “What’s next for Johnny Hunter?
JH: “New music, a full-length LP and a national tour across all 6 states of the country will forever be on the hit-list, but thanks to 2020 we can’t be sure when any of that can happen.

Fast forward just four years, and the band has unveiled their highly celebrated full-length album ‘Want‘ (2022) and captivated audiences nationwide with multiple residencies and live performances. As they set their sights on the UK, there’s little doubt they’ll be embraced with equal, if not greater, fervour.

The UK boasts a legacy of iconic bands like The Cure, Joy Division, and New Order, whose echoes resonate within Johnny Hunter’s distinctive sound. With an upcoming performance already slated for the Great Escape Festival 2024 in Brighton, the cloudy grey skies of Britain seem tailor-made to complement their brooding, noir aesthetic.

This wasn’t my first encounter with the enigmatic allure of Johnny Hunter live, and with each show, their legion of followers appears to grow, with many effortlessly reciting the lyrics to every track in their discography. They are the messiahs of Sydney’s post-punk community.

As we willingly crammed ourselves into the confines of Low 302, bodies pressed against bodies, it became evident that every corner harboured fans of all ages, all united in bidding adieu to the band. The All Mother opened the night with their own brand of post-punk hard rock, setting the perfect tone for the evening. It’s worth mentioning that the two bands exude a synergy that could rival the harmonies between a house red and a cigarette.

Johnny Hunter blazed through their setlist, treating us to beloved classics like ‘Cry Like A Man‘ and ‘The Floor‘ (“Et Tu Brutus!“), alongside their latest, ‘Frustration 2.0’. Amidst the chaos that reigned supreme, the band exuded their trademark poise, perhaps accentuated by a subtle nod to a new early 2000s Matrix-esque aesthetic (or was it just the cool glasses?).

Though I had secretly hoped to catch their cover of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’—a rendition that, in my humble opinion, surpasses the original— No one was disappointed when they treated us to their take on Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’.

It was a sight to behold, witnessing a crowd of devoted fans standing at eye-level with the band as they performed on the floor-height stage. The ambience exuded intimacy, nostalgia, and an unparalleled sense of connection—the epitome of how music is meant to be experienced. Johnny Hunter is a force – beautiful, theatrical and leaving an indelible legacy in their wake.

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1 Comment

  1. […] than a month has passed since their triumphant Eora/Sydney farewell with three sold-out shows at Low 302, and already, Johnny Hunter is set to make their mark at The […]

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