When I first heard Melbourne’s Gold Class, my immediate response was ‘they sound like the dude version of Mere Women’, one of my favourite Sydney post punk outfits. Lo and behold both fate and Black Wire Records agreed with me, and in March they collaborated to release a 7” split record together. The relationship was taken one step further on Friday night when both bands bestowed their anthemic, morose brand of punk upon a sold out show at Newtown Social Club.
Mere Women got the crowd tingling quickly, largely playing tracks off their second album, Your Town, which was released in 2014. This year, the former trio became a quartet with the addition of Trish Roberts on bass. The dynamic between them all is almost physically tangible. Their collective power perfectly complement the raw emotion of lead singer and keyboardist Amy Wilson. One wouldn’t normally consider a heavy Australian-accented female screech to be beautiful but Wilson, coupled with the expressive content of her lyrics, makes you want to cry and scream and yell – yet in reality keeps you motionless and fixated.
While having a similar sound, Gold Class alternatively had a more energetic and almost seizure-inducing performance. Unfortunately after their second song, ‘Standing at the Fault Line’ (off the split 7”), they had a few troubles with the sound, which seemed to kill their vibe for the next tune or two. However, by the time they got to playing Perverts (“this one is dedicated to all you perverts out there”), sound woes were forgotten.
The onstage presence of Adam Curley forgoes typical assumptions about punk front men, exhibiting a reserved, somewhat self-conscious energy and ultimately what feels like a more genuine expression.
Thankfully they played my personal favourite, ‘Furlong’, before slowing the vibe right down and finishing off with ‘Shingles (Stay A While)’, the last track on their 2015 album It’s You. I’m not sure how they manage to make a song featuring lyrics about an infectious rash “glassy-faced/pink all over” quite so compelling, but if anything can make it sound beautiful, it’s certainly Curley’s honey baritone voice.