Revisiting the manic punk party glory of Chicks Who Love Guns

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I remember making my way through the terraced entrance of The World Bar on a Friday night back in 2011. It was smack bang in the middle of winter and appropriately freezing, so I quickly made my way to the sweaty depths of MUM to catch DZ Deathrays, who’d been penned as the ultimate party band after releasing Brutal Tapes. Instead I walked in on a different kind of mayhem.

People were hanging from the low-slung rafters of MUM’s backroom as the humidity crept well past 100% as five aptly sweaty dudes thrashed around the step-high stage. They were making a glorious racket, fast abrasive punk that was uncompromising in its ferocity, but dedicated to being entirely danceable. They were the perfect compliment to the DZ show to come, a pretty bang on party band. This was the first time I saw Chicks Who Love Guns.

Chicks Who Love Guns

With their final show looming this week, we’re revisiting Chicks Who Love Guns, a band who have blessed us with thrashingly good times over the past five years.

It’s always sad when a favourite local band call it quits, and slowly but surely they all have been peeling away. Those bands that you lost your shit to in someone’s living room back in 2011 have either called it a day or moved on to better things, and it’s inevitable that they will be replaced by younger bands with higher hopes and shittier songs. Of course you feel like that, or at least I do, cos’ nothing could possibly beat seeing Velociraptor crammed onto the smallest stage in Sydney, right?

Last week Chicks announced they were done, calling it a day after a few quiet months. Playing in a band takes a pretty surprising chunk out of your life, time-wise, money-wise and probably most of all, energy-wise, and it’s no wonder the five piece have decided to end it now when each member is so busy with their respective post-Chicks activities. Mody (guitar) and Xavier (drums) play in Deep Sea Arcade, Cass (vox) has been working on his solo project, Jack (guitar) makes beats with Winston Surfshirt and for his own projects as Bustlip, and Mitch (bass) is working on his new skate label.

It’s easy to see that playing together wasn’t as feasible anymore. When there’s no time, there are no songs, and when there are no songs, there is no band. Mercifully the dudes love to throw a party and of course they are putting on a ripper one at The Lord Gladstone to say goodbye, but before you do, maybe take a quick trip down memory lane with Chicks Who Love Guns. It gets weird.

The dudes thrashed their way into the Sydney music scene back to 2009, looking like something in between Primary Colours-era Horrors and The Birthday Party, and, come to think of it, making music that sits pretty comfortably in between the two as well. Led by Cass’ enigmatic snarl, the boys released their debut EP Vomit On The Danceflooor back in 2010. Aptly named, it included titles like Smash Fuck, Murder Party, and of course, Vomit On The Dancefloor. It was a brutal, blood thirty debut embellishing punk ethos for the modern age. Cass spat and howled while Mody and Jack seared, and Xavier and Mitch were thunderous as they barrelled through four songs in 11 minutes with vitriolic urgency.

“There’s three things in Life, that’s God, Love and Satan. And God, how I love Satan,” Cass announced in silence during the opening seconds of their follow up single God, Love, Satan. The whole thing about Chicks is that everything about them is tongue-in-cheek; intentionally brazen because it creates a stir in people and there’s nothing more entertaining than making comfortable people feel uncomfortable.

In 2011 the boys left their smart-arsery behind and became a little more serious, even if just a little. Their Stutter EP swapped abrasive titled for clever ones, with Cass’s knack for twisting a phrase remaining as potent as ever. The EP was more melodious than their debut, something they followed up with 2012’s Moon Eater. Tracks like Shin-Okubu and Leech were as uncontrollably ferocious as their earlier stuff, but more complex. The guitar work became more intricate and the drumming paced a little slower. By now the boys were definitely turning heads around the country, being named a band to watch by The AU Review alongside Deep Sea Arcade and Bleeding Knees Club.

In 2013 the boys released their Pencil Neck single, which earned them accolades that their previous work failed to reach. The track was a drawling, intricate blend of grunge bass lines and punk riddled vocals, and it remains the crux of band’s live set to date, unrivalled in its brutality and drunken hooks.

Off the back of this the boys travelled the US, which they’d wanted to do for years, before coming home and putting out The Deep End in late 2014. The single saw the band taking their music to new heights with Mody’s stratospheric guitar work spearheading a direction towards something of a little more pop. The addition of more expansive instrumentation and melodious vocals made their work a little more accessible. Now only a few months later that they have decided to call it quits, and I can’t help but lament where it all could have gone.

The boys play their final show this Sunday at The Lord Gladstone in Chippendale alongside Zeahorse, Winston Surfshirt and Bachelor Pad. The next day is a public holiday so never mind the hangover and come to see off one of Sydney’s greats. Cheers fellers.

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