The Chats – King Stingray – Papa Said Live @ the Nhulunbuy Town Hall 13.02.2021
Written by Rob Stewart on March 13, 2021
Saturday the 13th of Feb will go down in the annals of Nhulunbuy’s history as one of the towns very momentous occasions.
Let me set the scene… the camera pans up the warm and well worn concrete path that leads to the entry doors of the Nhulunbuy town hall. A cacophony of feint screeches of joy and the pounding din of a booming bass drum is becoming more acute as we reach the doors, we get past security and meander by an industrial temporary fence laden with work site signs and milk crate thrones scattered around its perimeter. You get to the entry doors of the hall and an array of dazzling laser lights and smoke frolic with the jovial heat of 300 plus young and old bodies jumping unhinged to the booming crystal clear sounds of The Chats ‘shed fuelled dirty filthy rock n roll’. A scene hitherto in imagined for this conservative old hall.
Earlier in the night the mood was well and truly set with the deft aplomb and directness of local rock and rollers Papa Said.Livy set the ground rules from the first breath, as she addressed some of the high school aged fans at the front. I don’t recall all of the sentiment but I do believe it revolved around a directive of if she hears anyone calling her miss tonight she was gunna chuck em fucking outside. Punk rock goddess level achieved, Livy counted in the crew and they were infinitely the best version of themselves that I had ever witnessed. With a great selection of originals and covers, Jen, Kaz, Steve and Liv were playing tight, fast, fun, sweary, and were a joy to watch. I felt like a proud bloody dad knowing the boys from the Chats and King Stingray made frequent visits side stage and front of house to enjoy the show, and the smiles they wore were the same as the one plastered on my dial.Once Papa Said had finished slapping the bouncing masses around their appreciative chops, with enough energy and profanities to last until the creek dries up, it was then time to wield the not so secret weapon on all and sundry…King Stingray.
This triumphant moment saw the boys finally getting a chance to play a gig on home soil. And they did not let this opportunity go unnoticed. The charm and grace that permeates from their music loving souls meant we were about to witness why their star is well and truly on the rise. The combination of Roy’s indie DIY stylistics paired with his acute understanding and appreciation of the regions Yolngu sound, coupled with Dimathaya Burarrwanga’s natural flair for rhythm and substance is the essential foundation that the rest of the band build from and on. The traditional elemental threads are seamlessly interwoven into the contemporary jangly pop vibe that you’re left not only contemplating how? But more earnestly, why has it taken this long to make something that sounds so right, something that sound like it’s always belonged, something that sounds like it’s very destiny is to not be confined by any boundaries, geographically and spiritually? Yirringa as a front man, is indisputable, it’s etched into his very being, and puts you in mind of Warumpi Bands George. The rhythm section of Lewis Styles and Cambell Messer are tighter than the grip your sweat laden undies has on your genitals on a balmy territory night.
As for the Chats, the snotty snarly mythology engendered by their videos couldn’t be further from the gracious, kind, fun loving lads that I was privy to meet. Their mums should be very fucking proud of themselves. Onstage however, the brashness is essential as it fuels the spirit of a band who have a plan to simply play some fucking tunes that they wrote, and bloody well enjoy playing the pants off. They ground through around 20 fast, fun songs that had the punters smashing up parts of the crowd control barriers that were jokingly made by a company calling itself Fortress? One punter in particular was rewarded for persistence and innovation and was eventually invited upstage to throw on a spare guitar and rip into a crackin rendition of Pub Feed with the band…a memorable moment indeed and when I spoke to Eamon afterwards I asked him why and he just said “I was that kid once, just hoping that someone will give ya a go, cos ya gotta bloody start somewhere!”The Chats finished what they started to a deafening roar and a sea of beaming sweaty faces. To paraphrase their surrogate band Dads the Cosmic Psycho’s , it was a nice day to go to the Nhulunbuy Town Hall.
Check out the event photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set?vanity=govefm&set=a.10158491329292763