From the outset this gig had some mystery about it. The Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) Chevron Gardens had a new home at the brand spanking Elizabeth Quay and The Dub Pistols had never been to Australia before. Seeing the main stage floor almost empty, just five minutes before show start, was little indication that Perth was in for such a treat.
Like a call beckoning to neighbouring tribes, Little Dave (Dave Medland), youngest by far of the troop, blazed out the introduction on trumpet as The Dub Pistols, looking like gentlemen gangsters, took over the stage. Quickly the people mustered into the arena from the surrounding Gardens and it was on.
Frontman Barry Ashworth’s first words were “we came a long way” as he addressed the crowd and skanked out across the stage, transmitting an infectious energy. Switching mic control with special guest MC for the tour Seanie Tee, there was no doubt these guys were here to show Perth some of their modern day punk rock renegade attitude.
They wasted no time in getting the crowd involved, Barry jumping into the crowd for a boogie to the housey lick “Alive”, off their 2012 album Worshipping The Dollar, before bringing one lucky girl up on stage to share the mic.
Playing through most of their latest album, Pistoleros, released last year, they switched the pace up and down from the drum and bass fuelled beats to the ska roots and breakbeat sounds of tracks like “Sound Killer”, “Turn Up”, “Real Gangsters” and “Sticky Situation”.
The full set was highly interactive, Seanie Tee taking time to talk to the crowd between tracks, sharing words about their time in Australia and their 24-hour flight time.
Keeping the fans in check they covered some of their extensive back catalogue and dished out dirty funk for the ladies with “Peaches”, calling out “time to get horny” before dropping the killer bass lines of “Fit Girl”.
The band worked seamlessly together with their programmer Bill Borez running the digital fills from the engineer’s booth. The only gripe I heard on the night was the lack of sub bass to the left and right of stage.
Barry appeared truly humble and “fucking delighted” that Perth invited them here, thanking the crowd on several occasions. “I know it’s not a full house. Whatever’s gone on here tonight, you’ve showed us you know how to have a party. We’ve had our second and were about to have our third. Where you going after this?”
The show wound up after an hour finishing with “Gunshot” and the band running off the stage until the highlight of the night, the encore.
Seanie Tee graced the stage once again and thanked “each and every one of you individually for coming out”, before introducing the band members one by one. Getting the crowd involved once again on Pistoleros he got everyone in sync (Boh!) before the final assault.
With Johnny Rock Star (guitarist) leading the charge on a riff no Aussie would deny, AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell”, the Dubs showed us how they consistently defy all genres, mutating it into a ragga rollin’ head banger with Seanie Tee spittin’ up some wild freestyle lyrics, biggin’ up Perth while showing respect to the Rock ‘n’ Roll legends.
It’s taken 20 years for the Dubs to get here and speaking to Barry after the show he was a little disappointed the promoters over East did not book them as well. Not that that will slow them down as they head home to kick off their UK tour and find time to finish off their 7th studio album – with brand new feature artists, like Beardyman!
Credit goes to the PIAF program and artist management for booking these guys and big respect to the Dub Pistols for coming all this way just for Perth. Looking forward to their return.