It’s Autumn down under but thanks to global warming, The Truman Show-type sunny days that sustain our postcard industry just keep on truckin’. But unlike the weather, times they are a-changing in Sydney’s indie scene…
Indie Clubbing 101: Wanna hit the d-floor in Sincity alongside local hipsters, hot band kids and burgeoning young alcoholics? Look no further than the weekly messiness of Purple Sneakers. It’s the most popular late-night indie shindig in town, thanks to the failsafe formula of weekly guest DJs (bands, local radio kids, music TV peeps etc), a 5am license and a ridiculous amount of social pix plastered post-party on their website. We’re talking queues of up to an hour and over 500 people through the door weekly. Brainchild of the sleep-deprived Martin Novosel (PhDJ), Purple Sneakers has become a respected, recognisable brand, and is indicative of what The OC had the heads up on from season one: indie is the new mainstream. The populace at Purple Sneakers aren’t all music nerds with a passion for Pavement, they’re also kids from the suburbs who discovered the underground via Franz Ferdinand and Seth Cohen.
The Purple Sneakers crew are now doing so well not only has the circus stepped up from a one-man bedroom operation to a several-men-and-women frontroom operation (all hail progress), but are also launching a new weekly night in May called Rebel Rebel, at dance superclub Home. Ha! So Sydney can no longer support the dance culture we once gorged on, hey? It’s indie to the rescue! “We’re mixing genres,” Marty counters. “Whether that means indie kids dancing to electro, or dance kids dancing to rock, or funk kids getting down to trad-folk; Rebel Rebel is all about collision, contrast, and above all a massive fucking party for everyone”. Everything to everyone – that old chestnut… But is niche really dead? Not by the sounds of the opening night line-up: The Liars and the Shout-Out Louds plus local post-punk pin-up kids The Valentinos and Mercy Arms (more on that band war later), plus mad swamp-rockabilly noise merchants, Snowman. If that’s not an indie line-up, you can slap me silly and call me Suzie. What’s more you can bet your bottom marketing dollar the success of the night will rest firmly in the underground appeal of “indie”. Will the popularity of Purple Sneakers be able to convince the early-adopter-haircut-crew to party on the other side of the fence: in an established dance superclub? This idea is new for us hipsters: we’re more comfy in dingy dives with bad lighting and cheap beer. But weekly internationals of the aforementioned ilk might just sway us to the dark side. What the hell. Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care, as long as there’s a button badge somewhere on your outfit.
As well as being a hot young local band, Mercy Arms are also doing their bit to inject some good old-fashioned uber-arrogance into the state of play. Baby-faced lead singer Thom is barely outta short pants but can always be counted on for some classic mud-slinging antics. Last year he went head-to-head with fellow Rebel Rebel support act The Valentinos (the bands also briefly shared a guitarist, Kieran, now only onstage with the ‘Arms) but he’s moved on – to Melbournites Damn Arms. “Damn Arms? They’re the poor man’s version of us,” he sneered to the best web newsletter in Sydney, kripy.com. As pointed out by the kripy kids: “Damn Arms: damnation. Mercy Arms: mercy. The words are the opposite of one another. One band from Melbourne. One band from Sydney.” You can’t get better synergy than that people!
Indie Clubbing 102: The hottest kids spinning rekkords right now? Look no further than The Hollys, a boy/girl duo playing every hotspot in town, from the aforementioned Sneakers to nights bursting with scenesters like Starfuckers at Club 77, She’s Lost Control at the Brighton Up Bar, Kick Out The Chairs at uber-indie club Spectrum, the Darkness after-party and more… “It’s an institution, it’s a vibe, it’s more than a feeling, it’s an army, it’s far from dunzo, it’s a show, it’s on… and it’s now,” they tell Now No Now. What’s their secret to success? The Hollys are none other than Quince and Emily, two smart kids whose day jobs are in publicity and promotion at major label Warners Music Australia. A day job spinning angles will result in the skills to create enough hype to secure a night job spinning records. Now No Now quizzed the “adventurous, charismatic, fearless and charismatic” duo (their words) on what London bands are currently getting Sydney kids swingin’; “The Cribs, The Futureheads, The Uh-Huhs, The Editors, The Infadels, The Subways, Maximo Park and Prodigy.” Innit.
Stay in school (cuz It’s the best),