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 four of five in Backyard Opera’s King Street Crawl series. For more, stay tuned HERE.
A crowd favourite in the King Street area and the Newtown scene is Kelly’s on King. The traditional Irish bar is home to a slew of live music and karaoke nights, bridging the gap between community and performers. In previous years, it has hosted some of the best King Street Crawl sets. This year was no different, boasting the most stacked line-up of the day. Acts like Miniskirt, 100 and Shady Nasty were the must-see main events for other artists. With its central location, in between Newtown Station and the Newtown Hotel, these acts were also the must-see main events for many punters. Around 5PM, the crowds of the Crawl scattered to find their final destination and settle in for the night. Clearly, Kelly’s was a lot of people’s last stop because by the time Nick Nuisance and The Delinquents’ 7PM set rolled around, the entry line extended around the corner, down Mary St.
“Watching everyone scramble after 5 o’clock to try and find where they’re gonna set themselves in is so funny,” said lead singer Nick. “There’s people outside just like ‘let me fuckin’ in’. It’s crazy,” he laughed.
Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents are a four-piece rock band from Petersham who have made a name for themselves with their loud garage sound and chaotic live shows. Their latest release, Dumb Fuzz released last June, is a great metaphor for the band themselves. With their grouchy, overdriven guitars and fuzz pedals, thunderous drums and deeply colloquial vocals, the group are as dumb as they are fun. Nick, accompanied by the Delinquents (Cameron, Declan and Catherine), proclaims things like “I’m fresh like an Indian curry” and “when I go to your house, I want to meet your Mum and Dad and that,”. They are a throwback to that traditional Australian pub rock attitude but with the modern garage sound that lands somewhere between surf, punk and grunge rock. As a result, they were perfect for Kelly’s upstairs.
“We’re definitely not the best band today, but there’s no hierarchy here. Miniskirt played earlier, who are a great big band, and then smaller bands played after. It’s a good little community.”
Playing last year at the SLYFOX, and attending in person almost every other, band had only improved this year. One word best describes their set. Sweaty. As they walked down the stairs into the long gig area, patrons were smacked in the face by a wall of heat. A combination of the tight upstairs space and the dense mosh pit heated the air into a humid tropical smog. The smell matched the temperature. Even the band weren’t exempt from the sweat, with the stage’s backlighting unable to hide Nick’s moist hair and red face. However, that is a credit to the intensity of their set. The energetic guitars and heavy drums sent the mosh into a frenzy. Wild on rock and booze, they jumped, screamed and even crowd surfed.
“When you’re writing this up, I’ll see how red my face is,” said Nick, wiping a glistening wet sheen of sweat from his damp forehead. “It was very sweaty and everyone had a great time. I think a lot of the people in the crowd are in bands and they’ve all been playing throughout the day, so they’re all pumped up. Someone crowd surfed and hit their neck on the floor so I had to stop singing, but it was sick, a really really cool set. The sound quality is never really that good for big bands but I love that little bit of chaos. There’s no sound check. We just plugged in and played. Something always goes wrong in the set, all the time, but I think that’s a little bit of our charm,” he laughed.
With other artists in the audience, and the band themselves having spent the entire day at Kelly’s, this was another clear example of the strong community bond that holds the King Street Crawl together. It isn’t a music festival like Splendour in the Grass or a community event like Vivid, but rather something in between. The inner west community surrounding the King Street Crawl aren’t just the patrons, but also the artists, and the blurred line between the two makes the Crawl both beneficial and rewarding.
“I think main benefit is that you get to see all the little different scenes within Sydney,” said Nick. “There’s so much music going on, like a hundred bands or something like that. You get to see all the little pockets. Here (at Kelly’s) is definitely its own little pocket, like I’ve gotten to play with all these bands before at different shows and stuff like that. Everyone’s playing, running up and down the street and watching friends. It’s a good vibe.”
Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents will be performing the Lansdowne Hotel’s Graveyard Shift on Friday the 20th September in Sydney, and then again the following night with Amyl and The Sniffers at Transit Bar in Canberra.