15.07.2019

MOD CON’s Melbourne show reminded us of the punk juggernaut they’ve come to be

Mod Con
Words by Kate Streader

It was a welcome return to the stage for the beloved Melbourne outfit.

“It’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s chaos, it’s chaos, it’s chaos,” boomed MOD CON frontwoman Erica Dunn down the mic, an apt summary of the evening up to this point. Between MOD CON and openers The Opals and Pinch Points, there had been faulty leads and false starts, things were hardly going to plan. But where’s the fun in a seamless night?

With Melbourne feeling the squeeze of winter’s icy grip, the Grace Darling was a welcome reprieve from the cold. At the tail end of a mammoth Leaps and Bounds, you could feel the weariness in the crowd, though a little fatigue was no match for tonight’s lineup.

Packed into the upstairs bandroom, the floor bounced under the weight of the capacity crowd as The Opals unleashed their meandering psychedelia, followed by a hard and fast set of punchy punk from Pinch Points.

By the time MOD CON’s droning feedback began to spill from the speakers, jackets had been discarded and bodies were swaying. The room was warm and the beer was cold – what more could you ask for?

Dunn’s yelps and vocal cracks punctuated the set as she stared intensely beyond the crowd. Was her mind even in the room? One couldn’t be sure. Nevertheless, the band tore through the set with an air of nonchalance that made you feel less cool just watching them.

The three-piece were truly in the zone; Dunn’s face often veiled by her mane of hair as she whipped her head in every which way while bassist Sara Retallick plucked away with absolute composure. Barely visible from the back of the room, tucked behind her kit, drummer Raquel Solier was like a puppet master controlling every limb in the room as arms and legs flailed and stomped to her beat.

Between songs, MOD CON’s intensity was broken with light jabs between the three bandmates, like when Solier muddled the intro of a song while the other two laughed or when Dunn politely nudged the crowd to buy some merch so she could afford their upcoming European tour.

“Look, Sara’s embarrassed of me,” she teased, causing to Retallick crack a smile.

A new tune peaked its head between a steady sprinkling of familiar favourites ‘Tell Me Twice’, ‘Submit’ and ‘Mirror of Venus’, though MOD CON stormed on without giving it too much attention.

In what seemed like no time at all, an hour had gone by and Dunn was announcing “see you at the bar” before the trio dashed from the stage and through the crowd to get themselves a full glass.

As is the beauty of Leaps and Bounds, and Melbourne itself, punters had braved the cold for a night of hot tunes from local acts and were now preparing to settle in at the bar or face the wrath of whatever weather awaited outside – but not before slinging some cash at the merch desk.

Highlight: ‘Mirror of Venus’.

Lowlight: Fearing the floor was about to give out under the weight of the crowd.

Crowd favourite: ‘Tell Me Twice’.