The Chats at Leeds Stylus

THE CHATS – 27/03/22

After several years of pandemic pushbacks, Queensland punks The Chats finally embarked on their UK tour in March 2022. This tour also happened to be their first group of shows in the UK composed of their new lineup, after the surprise departure of guitarist Josh Price in 2020. I headed to Stylus, Leeds, to see how the self proclaimed “shed rockers” fared.

After an unexplained 30 minute set time delay, Perth punks Dennis Cometti took to the stage first, each equipped with matching, band branded football kits. As frontman Alex cracked open a cold can of Fosters, it became clear to see why this band had been selected to support The Chats. A highlight of this set was punk anthem “Death Rattle”. If you’re a fan of The Chats, there’s no doubt you’ll love Dennis Cometti.

Next up was London punks Chubby and the Gang, who strolled on stage to Link Wray’s 1958 track Rumble. Instantly they provided a burst of energy, with frontman ‘Chubby’ contorting to all sorts of weird shapes while drenched in a backdrop of angsty red lighting. Later in the Gang’s set, Chubby proclaimed his love for the London punk scene; a move not entirely amicably received by the northern crowd; with chants of ‘Yorkshire’ echoing back around the venue. Nevertheless, Chubby and the Gang provided a solid set of pure punk energy, and are certainly worth checking out!

Finally, The Chats entered the stage, instantly showcasing their goofy persona as they sauntered on to the sound of Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ. Frontman Eamon Sandwith took no time in introducing the first track ‘Nambored’, a witty play on the town where the band grew up; Nambour. This ignited the next hour of non-stop early punk influenced tracks to come. A clear standout from the sets opening tracks was “Bus Money”, a fan favourite from the band’s second EP “Get This In Ya”, which saw the crowd surge forward as the song came to its climax.

One immediately noticeable characteristic of The Chats’ set was the speed at which even their most well known tracks were played at. Each song was performed notably faster than their recorded counterparts, often leaving you wondering just how drummer Matt Boggis keeps up the pace throughout the course of their non-stop hour set. This, however, only added to the raw energy The Chats brought to the stage.

Undoubtedly the most well received song of the night was their 2017 overnight viral sensation “Smoko”, which documents Australians reaction to their job smoke break, or “smoko”, being interrupted. However, it was their newer material where The Chats truly shined, such as “AC/DC CD”, a tribute to the “second-greatest band in history (after The Chats, of course)” and “Struck By Lightning”, which ponders what it might be like to get struck by lightning. These newer tracks, which are coincidentally some of the first tracks the band have released since new guitarist Josh Hardy joined the lineup, demonstrate a more refined and honed Chats sound, and certainly hint towards an exciting future for the band.

Overall, The Chats provided a solid hour of audacious punk rock, which blitzed through most of their 6 year discography, complete with perfectly suited tour supports.

Word and Photos by Jacob Swetmore 

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Philip Goddard

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