The Metro, 12/11/11
Hairy four-piece The Medics opened the night with sweeping rock songs that had a melodic heart before Last Dinosaurs provided indie-pop tunes which, while not breaking too many boundaries, were really rather fine. The Brisbaners' sound had a distinct British edge to it and – helped in no small part by jangly guitars and tambourine – was delightfully perky.
Opening with Science Is Golden, The Grates had the crowd dancing like loons from the get-go. Amid a typically high energy performance from the trio, Aw, Yeah prompted a huge reaction from the crowd, as did Trampoline and Turn Me On. Their set was especially impressive in that it offered a well-balanced collection of songs that showed both sides to The Grates' sound. On one hand, there was simple throwaway pop, such as the irresistible singalong fun of 19-20-20, while, elsewhere they showed a heavier tone. Several of their songs had a distinct post-grunge feel to them and offered ruminative depth which nicely counterbalanced the more lightweight moments.
Of course, The Grates are largely defined by their iconic front-woman. In Patience Hodgson they boast one of the most appealing lead-singers in the business. She announced her arrival on stage by bouncing up and down on the spot like an over-excited kid at Christmas and was crowd-surfing by the conclusion of the second song. Looking splendiferous in a sheer blue blouse and red skirt, the front-woman constantly engaged the audience in banter, accepted roses from besotted fans, handed out glow-stick bracelets and got members of the crowd to make out. It was impossible to take your eyes off her. During songs, she bounded around the stage and danced like the biggest dork in the world, her limbs flailing in every direction. It is very apparent that Hodgson just wants to have fun, without caring a jot about being cool. And that, of course, makes her cooler than most.
As Young Pricks brought the set to a frenzied end, the band's performance demanded an encore, which closed with the giant sweary singalong of Inside, Outside. With the beguiling combination of infectious pop, meaty post-grunge and a singer that owns the room with her utter lust for life, tonight once again proved that to see The Grates live is to best understand them.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.