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Live Review: Real Friends w/ Columbus & Harbours @ The Brightside – 27.07.2017

It was a pop punk lovers dream come true when Real Friends made their first Australian appearance since 2015. As the ripped jeans, Chuck Taylor’s and band t-shirts filled the small floor space at The Brightside last week, fans were rather quickly reminded why the Illinois five-piece are on top of their game and genre dominators.

However, before the ‘bony-kneed’ American boys produced a shindig and a half, a handful of Aussie rockers showed the packed room just what the locals can produce. Enter Harbours, the Melbourne five-piece flying under the radar to soon become the next best thing about the punk-rock scene. It’s well documented in the AAA Backstage archives that Harbours are a band we have loved from the moment we first heard them. If the thick texture harmonic guitars and soaring vocals weren’t enough to get you over the line upon first listen, we highly recommend witnessing their live set.

Unfortunately, The Brightside crowd were mostly uneducated on the Victorians, however with naivety comes opportunity and by the end of opening song Flicker and Fade, the head-banging train had well and truly left the station. A tight set featuring heavy hitters Take Me Under and Is This What You Wanted?, the vocal power and control of Tory Robertson was next level. Rounding out the set with the emotional Nothing Stays The Same and Pulling Teeth, Harbours are slowly building their way towards something big and we can’t wait to see people get around this band.

As the “Brighty” gradually began to fill with eager punters, hometown lads Columbus quickly captured the crowd with new fan favourite Daffodil. The aggressive vocal of Alex Moses was drowned out by the sea of people as the three-piece tore through favourites from latest album ‘Spring Forever’ including; Learn To Swim, Raindrop and Replace Me. The poppy sing-a-long chorus of Next To Me proved to be a highlight of the night, as the room erupted into anthemic like proportions.

However, no amount of love for the openers could overthrow the love and hysteria for Real Friends. The moment the opening chords of first song Empty Picture Frames were strummed, girls were jumping everywhere as they whipped their hair back and forward (😎). The energy continued to pick up song after song, leaving our weary old heads headed for the comfort of the couches upstairs. But watching the passion and excitement on fans faces as they witness their favourite band play only metres away is something that is purely joyful.

This was exemplified when fan favourite I’ve Given Up On You was played. As peoples eyes lit up at the recognition of the notes, it was almost magic witnessing the emotional connection that each and every fan had with the songs. A very generous hour long set allowed the American lads the opportunity to give the best of their entire discography, tearing through everything from Late Nights In My Car to newer singles Colder, Quicker and Mess. 

As fans young and old left The Brightside with immense satisfaction and tired eyes, many of the punters who attended the show were already discussing their excitement for the AA show the day after, which goes to show the beauty and passion of music fans and their second-to-none attitude in supporting the scene which they love.

Written by Sam Muggleton