The King Street Crawl is an annual event that celebrates the Sydney music scene. Last Father’s Day, over 30 venues along King St, Erskineville Rd and Enmore Rd played host to a massive 130+ artists. With no entry fees and hours of live music, it was a testimony to the volume of talent that Newtown houses. The following is part two of five in Backyard Opera’s King Street Crawl series. For more, stay tuned HERE.
With the show floor packed and the crowd hot from an energetic Baby Beef set, all female Sydney rock band The Buoys stepped on stage for the 3:30PM slot. Playing on their second King Street Crawl, it was their 2018 set that proved to be a pivotal moment in the group’s rise. At Kelly’s On King they played a “very loose” 9:30PM set, admitting that they themselves were wasted by that time. From that set, the band was discovered by Brisbane punk powerhouse DZ Deathrays, leading to national tours and a hectic 2019. However, despite their growth over the past twelve months, The Buoys are a Newtown band through and through. As all four members live locally, they understand what the day means for both the community and the artists.
“We love King Street Crawl,” said drummer Tess before this year’s set. “It’s Newtown’s Christmas, the best day of the year.”
“It probably makes a difference that we all live so close to here. This is our home. It’s not like we’re a Perth band flying halfway across the country to play a free show. The excitement of playing King Street crawl is that we’re surrounded by everyone that we know and love,” added singer Zoe.
The Newtown Hotel is not a concert venue, or at least one of this size. The space for the audience was dense. The crowd had overflown over past the signature square bar as people squeezed into every tight space they could find. They even stood behind the pub’s large support pillars, with their view of the band obstructed, so they could at least hear the set. With the stage set in-front of huge panes of glass, the fresh Spring sun, blazing for the first time in months, made everything, from the room to crowd to the atmosphere, a little brighter.
“It’s the first the sun’s been out in ages, so I’m like ‘yes I’ll have a few beers’. It’s beautiful.” said Zoe.
The Buoys have a unique style of rock that is perfectly suited to their scene, the Australian Pub. It is equal parts 2000s punk as it is thrashy surf rock as it is indie grunge. They are diverse. Some songs, like the attitude filled “Inside Outside”, had the crowd shouting along with the strong, grouchy lyrics, while drummer Tess thundered away. During the energetic “Gold”, lead singer Zoe and lead guitarist Hilary’s aggressive head banging dragged the audiences into the band’s boisterous movements, with the crowd soon mimicking the onstage actions. Other tracks, like the softer and more emotional “Arm Wrestle” or “Frequently” showed the quality of the band’s songwriting as well as the emotional range of their performance. Special mention should go to the group’s bassist, the enigmatic, stylish, sunglasses wearing Courtney, bumping and grinding up and down in sync with her chugging basslines.
“I just want to go hard. Everyone’s so stoked on the King Street Crawl. We just want to match that,” said Zoe before their set.
“We want to give back to what they’re giving us,” added Hilary. “It’s such a good vibe downstairs. It’s like a homecoming gig.”
The Buoys delivered on their promise with an invigorating set, far too rowdy for a Sunday afternoon. Having already seen Pist Idiots, Aegean Sun and Baby Beef, the ladies planned to roam up and down the crawl seeing all their favourite bands, namely 100, and friends “for as long as (they’re) awake”. Bands like the Buoys, who themselves are native Newtownians, made it increasingly clear of Crawl’s benefits to the community.
“I’ve been on the King Street Crawl every year. Not as a performer, but definitely as a punter,” said Zoe. “It’s all about Sydney music.”
“Yeah, the community,” added Tess. “It’s a bit cheesy but you can go to any venue, look around and be like you could be my friends. We all probably know each other, somehow. They’re all here for music and they’re all here to make friends. It really is a big celebration of the work that you’ve done all year.”
“You don’t need to necessarily know much about music to have a great time. It’s a really accessible event,” said Hilary.
“Because it’s free! It’s all free,” exclaimed Zoe. “You can rock up to wherever you want to go and find a good band guaranteed.”
The Buoys will be supporting DZ Deathrays on the Positive Rising: Part 1 Tour, starting at the Metro Theatre on Friday October 18th.