Words by Nadene Budden
Images by Matthew Waddingham
Marking a return to gigs in the Warehouse at the Cambridge Hotel, The Buoys return to Newcastle with a bang supported by local favourites Mission: Banana.
Entering the hallowed Warehouse at Cambridge Hotel, we are first greeted by a redesign of the main bar area, the iconic Rolling Stone covers that previously lined the ceilings replaced with merch from a variety of local bands from Newcastle legends, Dave The Band to niche artists like blues singer C.W. Stoneking. It’s a fantastic nod at what’s to come – a night of amazing Australian music that tempts you to abandon COVID rules and get up out of your seat. NOTE: please keep your butt on your seat, we don’t condone breaking COVID safety rules.
Entering the stage with a quick ‘hello’ before cracking into their setlist, Mission: Banana prove their chops once again as a live music staple in the Newcastle scene. For the uninitiated, Mission: Banana will blow you away with their Novocastrian psych rock blend. The boys get straight into headbanging territory performing a set of tracks both old and new, including a sneak peek of their new single “I’ve Been Dreamin’ (For No Reason)” released 4 December.
Mission: Banana continue on to do a fantastic job of setting the tone for the evening, getting the audience to participate in a big cheer to Dylan who filled in for guitarist Sam Murphy on the night as well as a shout out to glasses straps for making the gig possible and everyone’s favourite show, The Mandalorian.
After a quick break to mentally prepare for even more face-melting guitars, headliners The Buoys enter the stage quite fittingly to iconic 2000s hip-hop track “Blow Ya Mind” by Eve and Gwen Stefani. And they do indeed get straight into blowing our minds with the fast and furious “WAH”. The girls shine on stage and the energy amongst the crowd is electric, wriggling in seats, tapping feet and hands and banging heads.
It’s gigs like this that truly make you feel alive. Between the endless ‘thank you’s and short stories about their lives over the past few months, The Buoys continue down the set list shouting lyrics, taking their guitar solos from the ground and playing with a fury and passion that happens after all live shows are cancelled for a good portion of the year.
With news of a new EP that materialised within a matter of months, the band is leaping to start playing the new material. Interspersing the new in between The Buoys classics, it’s nuts to hear the band’s growth in sound. While giving us just a taste of what’s to come, these new tracks are sure to get everyone screaming and dancing along, providing the emotional catharsis a lot of us will need after the year 2020. They’re sad and angry and frustrated, and it’s obvious the band still feels every emotion when playing the tracks live.
The performance continues along its wild path all the way to the end, the band’s playing becoming more erratic with each song, filling ears with wild guitar solos and furious drums. So it’s no surprise when the crowd hassles The Buoys for an encore and they play their very first single, Liar Liar short, fast and loud.
Finally catching our breath after two tight sets from both The Buoys and Mission: Banana, it’s the type of the night where everyone rushes to the merch desk to snap up whatever shirt they can grab before their size is sold out. It’s totally reinvigorating, and the positive energy around this tiny room as every person, whether they came in together or happened to sit at the same table, cannot stop talking about what we all just witnessed.