13th December | O2 Academy
Photos: Craig Simmonds
The atmosphere at a Chats show is hard to mistake. Tonight, The O2 Academy has been transformed; the lower part of the venue is a sea of bodies throughout most of the night, plastic cups and other objects flying through the air every few seconds. Every now and then, someone climbs up the stairs out of the pit – just as you might climb out of a swimming pool – sweaty and occasionally missing a t-shirt.
There’s a beautiful straightforwardness to The Chats’ music and it comes through in how they present themselves tonight. Stage decorations are kept to a minimum; behind the band hangs a banner with crude illustrations of the three members’ faces labelled with their names. Similarly, the band don’t spend a long time chatting with the audience. Lead singer Eamon Sandwith often introduces songs with a brief sarcastic quip before ripping straight into them. “This is a song about losing your bus money,” he says, just before the band dive into the aptly titled ‘Bus Money’.
The band kick off their fiery but brief set with ‘Nambored’ from the Get This In Ya EP. It’s a good opening choice, distilling The Chats, their message and the appeal of their music down to a two-minute burst. It’s a song about feeling fed up and bored, led by Sandwith’s Queensland bark. His ruminations on the song are mundane – going to McDonald’s and losing your bus pass – but that’s the point. Like many of The Chats songs, it’s straightforward, fun and very easy to mosh to.
Throughout the show, The Chats pick through highlights from their two EPs, most of them being similarly combustible and short. Songs like ‘Identity Theft’ and ‘Mum Stole My Darts’ are incredibly chantable. Both are built around the tight rhythm section of Sandwith’s bass playing and Matt Boggis’ drumming, while Josh Price’s guitar is let loose over the top like a wild animal.
Part-way through the set, the band burst into a rendition of AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’, with Price handing off his guitar to a replacement so he can go crowd surfing. The Chats like to brand the music they play as ‘shed rock’ and moments like this really exemplify what they mean by that. The band never take themselves too seriously, prioritising having a good time above everything else. “That’s a tease for our new single,” Sandwith says at the end of the song.
The Chats close out the set with their breakout single ‘Smoko’. It’s a song that already feels like a classic – Sandwith’s drawling delivery on the verses giving way to the huge chorus. Everyone in the room is jumping and singing along.
After a short break, the band return for an encore with ‘Pub Feed’. Detailing the band’s hunt for a good pub lunch, it again shows off why The Chats are so loved. They write down-to-earth, tongue-in-cheek songs about topics no one else really bothers to. Crew members and friends ram the stage for the final song, crowding around the microphones and singing along on the choruses.
As things wind down and the crowd moves towards the exit, it’s hard not to feel buzzed. Hanging out with The Chats is just pure catharsis.
Don’t feel left out. You can shout the chorus to ‘Smoko’ whilst viewing the video here: