Vista Chino, Gay Paris, The Metro, Sydney, 28/01/2014

A mighty scoop of riffs and good times.

The Metro was sparsely filled when I arrived, which was hardly surprising. Sydney is an odd place to visit on a Tuesday night. The throngs of people seen on a weekend are replaced by a quarter as many locals, tourists and businessmen wrapping up one too many hours of overtime. A Tuesday night crowd is an apathetic crowd to play to for a support band. Most of the audience simply want to watch the headliner and leave as early as possible so that they can go home and prepare for another day of drudgery.

This was the kind of hostile apathy that Gay Paris faced when they took to the stage in front of a handful of people.

To the band's credit, they played as if they were in front of a hundredfold more people. Their set consisted of plenty of jumping, flailing about, beer and sheer volume. It's been a while since I've heard a band play as loud as that. Although such loudness is practically a necessity for their riffy brand of punk, stoner and rock. The band itself was all beards, swagger and pure energy. Their singer, Luke 'Wailin H' Monks, continuously humped the air and gyrated about when he wasn't jumping off the drum set, while the bassist and guitarist hopped across the stage, blew kisses to the crowd, chugged beers and generally caused chaos. Their performance managed to light a wet match and they gradually won over the crowd in the slowly filling venue.

After a half hour intermission, it was plain to tell that the crowd was more than ready for Vista Chino when they casually took to the stage and launched straight into Ardara off their first album as their new namesake, Peace. It was striking to note the difference between support act and headliner. While Gay Paris had been all chaos and energy and excitement, the more seasoned contenders of Vista Chino were a picture of focus and precision. Of course, the kind of music they play is very organic but there is such a level of confidence and experience in the band that they make it look effortless. "Tight but loose" I belive the phrase goes.

Ardara was followed by the Kyuss classic, One Inch Man. Kyuss material always sounded restrained on record, as if there just wasn't enough room to contain the sound. On a stage under hot lights, with plenty of beer and a screaming crowd in front of them is where the music truly comes to life.

And truly, these musicians are the right people to bring them to life. John Garcia was smoothness personified; he looked as though he could have been just as comfortable on stage in a dressing gown and slippers. Age has done nothing to rust those golden pipes of his (does gold rust?). Brant Bjork's drums were a hypnotic force of nature and Bruno Fevery may do more justice to Josh Homme's old riffs than the man himself these days.

The Kyuss hits kept coming, Hurricane, Gardenia and Asteroid all drawing louder and louder acclain from an ecstatic audience. Even the new stuff like Dargona Dragona and Sweet Remain blended in seamlessly.

Another mystical property we can attribute to the band is the ability to warp space time, as they made an hour and a half set feel it had passed in five minutes. Before we knew it, the band had left the stage with as little fuss as they had taken it. Sure, they were back shortly to give a three song encore but soon enough they were gone again, for good this time. All that was left was for us to slowly come down from the high as we dispersed off into the lonely night to confront the looming menace of a Wednesday morning hangover.