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Goon Sax - Eagle Inn, Salford, 29/9/2016

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 22 / 12 / 2016

Goon Sax - Eagle Inn, Salford, 29/9/2016


Dixie Ernill finds young Aussie C86 enthusiasts the Goon Sax evoking strong memories of the Go-Betweens at the Eagle Inn in Salford

The Goon Sax are made up of James Harrison on vocals, guitar and bass, Riley Jones on drums and backing vocals and Louis Forster also on vocals, guitar and bass. Now, in light of Louis being the son of the legendary Robert Forster, I really wanted to review this gig without mentioning the Go-Betweens, but it would be like describing a beach holiday without mentioning the sea or discussing Morrissey and Marr without mentioning the Smiths. As much as I will feel slightly guilty, I think the Goon Sax have brought some of it on themselves, being a young three–piece Brisbane band with a female drummer and vocal duties shared between two male songwriters. In terms of the songs, they also have the same primitive structure that made those early Go-Betweens songs so appealing and had the Go-Betweens recorded their debut album in ‘78/’79 rather than in ’81 I am sure it would have been similar to the Goon Sax’s excellent 'Up To Anything' debut. And so to the gig. Having being wowed by an opening set by Boys Forever (led by former Veronica Falls member Patrick Doyle), who have a lovely take on the West Coast sunshine songs of 1969 including standout numbers 'Poisonous', 'Voice in My Head', 'Brian' and a cover of Kirsty MacColl’s 'They Don’t Know', I fear the Goon Sax may have their work cut out to maintain the interest levels of a compact crowd in this bijou venue. But from the moment the band come on stage and Louis explains that he desperately needs to borrow a belt to prevent his jeans coming down you know it’s going to be okay. Opening with 'Target', a catchy and indeed witty song about being unable to work at the discount retailer due to a strict clothing requirement and the propensity to daydream about a love interest, only confirms this. It isn’t long before Louis and James are swapping instruments (a manoeuvre that happens a few times throughout the show depending on who’s taking the lead) to allow James to rattle off the band’s wonderful debut single, 'Sometimes Accidentally'. It reminds me of forgotten Geordie 80’s indie band the Nivens (not to be confused with those inferior Norwich-based Nivens of the same era!) and well worth checking out. Elsewhere, we are treated to three new songs, the pick probably being 'Make Time for Love' a pure C86 gem, as well as Louis nailing 'Boyfriend' and 'Sweaty Hands' – two of the strongest songs on the album, before James wraps things up with the sadness-tinged 'Icecream (On My Own)'. The clue’s in the title. Seventeen year old Riley does a sterling job on drums throughout, seamlessly forming a bond with whichever boy is on bass for each song. All in all a most enjoyable gig and based on this evidence I would not be surprised if the Goon Sax become the first truly great Brisbane band to forge a place in the music business since the Go-Betweens and that would be some achievement believe me. Watch this space.

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Goon Sax - Eagle Inn, Salford, 29/9/2016

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