h

Review: Tropical Fuck Storm is a perfect example of controlled chaos

Pure Australian fire. 

Image source: 
Rhys Pope

Coming on stage to Kanye West’s recent meme-worthy track ‘Lift Yourself’ is a wonderful precursor for TFS’ sensibility - erratic, chaotic and off the wall. Their wonky and snarky approach to rock is as cynical as it is stupid. However, the playfulness of their music is rarely translated into their performance. Liddiard and co. find themselves surprisingly reserved in their interactions with the crowd and their seriousness seems to inhibit the joy that their recently released debut album implies.

Opening with their lead single ‘Chameleon Paint’, TFS are tight and well-rehearsed which feels oxymoronic considering the rushed sound of the album – however, the thumping and jarred track pulsates with kinetic urgency. Rolling on with that energy into ‘Antimatter Animals’ it appears quite quickly that most people are at this sold out show to witness the press-plugged indication that this is an Aussie supergroup of local legends, The Drones. As difficult a legacy that may be to shrug off, it’s clear that TFS are adamant to move past it.

What feels like a strong opener which quickly plateaus, TFS regain their energy midway with the set highlight, ‘You Let My Tyres Down’. This is a clear fan favourite, with the crowd joining in for a chorus singalong. Unfortunately, the crowd’s energy never matched the band’s beyond this point where they really come into their own. The backing vocals of Hammel and Kitshin are shrill and cut through Liddiard’s snarling cynicism. It’s clear that TFS are having a great time with their chaotic take on art-punk, but unfortunately the crowd aren’t as into it as they are until they play renditions of Drones’ tracks ‘Taman Shud’ and ‘Baby’, which are performed with earnest, yet feel more like fan service than anything else.

TFS have the energy and anarchic joy that few bands are able to emulate, and for that reason alone are a band well worth seeing perform live. One can only hope that more people get into their album and appreciate this as a new project instead of a continuation of the band members’ past projects.

Highlight – ‘You Let My Tyres Down’

Lowlight - A relatively slow start and a tepid crowd

Fan Favourite - Performances of tracks from The Drones’ back catalogue