The Thornbury Theatre is one of a growing number of old community centres and theatres around Melbourne that are being turned over from their traditional purpose into the hands of the youth to do what they will with, usually using their opulent interiors to host events that the original attendees would probably greatly object to.
It's a perfect venue for Lightning Bolt to play, a venue so unsuited to them in size and decor it's almost perfect in it's imperfection. If you don't already know, the band do pretty much everything completely differently from everyone else. They ignore the stage, setting up just in front of it, similarly rejecting the PA, plugging vocals, drums and bass into a variety of amplifiers set up just behind them. The crowd gathers in a circle around them, miraculously managing to not knock any gear or band members flying despite the constant frantic pushing, shoving and crowd surfing. Some are lucky to grab prime spots literally on top of the band, others invade the typically out of bounds stage to gain a high view, others push a table blocking access to a balcony and stream upwards to gain a view over the crowds whilst the rest of us just hover in the emptiness left by everyone else and watch the crowd flow in every direction possible instead of the band. Despite the messy noisy chaos everyone is in exceedingly good spirits, security are bemused, standing back and just allowing band and crowd to do what they want, the bar staff are loving it, constantly diving into the seething mass of bodies and dodging landing crowd surfers to grab glasses and bottles (yes, glass here, not of your plastic crap) and emerging grinning, running to their colleagues and chattering enthusiastically.It's hard to comment on a band's performance in much detail when they can't be seen for the entirety of a gig, but for a two-piece they produce an exceedingly large amount of riff-laden noise, conjuring sounds reminiscent of un-oiled industrial machinery grinding against itself, with the semblance of a tune and structure lurking enough within the cacophony to maintain some semblance of music. Lightning Bolt break just about every rule in the book but do it with such tenacity, conviction, energy and positive attitude, there are no ill words to be heard.
Published in Inpress