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emilyjohnston
15th April 2022

The Chats: An explosive performance at the Manchester Academy

Emily Johnston reviews an energised night at the Manchester Academy from Aussie punks The Chats.
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The Chats: An explosive performance at the Manchester Academy
Photo: The Chats – Emily Johnston @ The Mancunion

Finally touring their 2020 album High Risk Behaviour, The Chats performed their explosive debut album at a bustling show at the Manchester Academy. Long-awaited by many fans, they didn’t disappoint with the energy delivered.

Self proclaimed ‘Shed-rockers’, a term they coined, The Chats were formed on the sunny Sunshine Coast, Australia. Their music is true punk; fast paced, sardonic, all recited with a strong Aussie accent and a side of outward satire or humour. They are so unapologetic for who they are, and that’s why fans love them. They’re satisfyingly unprofessional, and they don’t give a fuck about it because they’re a band of fun. They performed in Manchester in 2018 at The Star and Garter and again in 2019 at the o2 Ritz, so it’s apparent their popularity is only rising.

The Academy was bustling, and quite like The Chats themselves, incredibly vigorous and dynamic. It was heaving, full of people with mullets, shirtless, or frankly looking like they’ve come from surfing on the Australian Gold Coast. The Chats’ clientele are such a niche group. It seemed like a very inclusive environment. Everyone from older Aussie surf-type dads, to a kid who must have been around 10 at most (who was doing the air guitar after getting off his dad’s shoulders), was there. I wouldn’t really call it a family affair, but it was honestly edging the borderline of it. I have never seen so much beer thrown around, genuinely I don’t know how many pints worth of beer were thrown. At one point probably half a pint splashed all over me.

The Support

The support were honestly fantastic. Chubby and the Gang and Dennis Cometti succeeded in getting the crowd going and set a brilliant tone for the rest of the night. In particular, Dennis Cometti caught my attention. They have the same vigour and Aussie drawl which The Chats have, honestly I think you could have mistaken them. It was probably one of the most excited crowds I’ve seen for a support band too. I would totally recommend both of them

The Set

The hour and a bit they were on for genuinely whizzed by. Their songs are so short and sweet that they captivate you and hold your attention. Eamon Sandwith’s comments throughout were so dry, entertaining, and unexpected.

“It’s our first song therefore it’s the worst”, Eamon shouted before they dived into ‘Mum Stole My Darts.’ Honestly, can you even tell it’s their worst? It’s a rousing yet dry-toned tune, which is short, sweet, and snappy. But the rough and readiness of their performance, translated into their live mannerisms, was also reflected in the crowd’s eagerness. It was a treat to witness. Some song highlights for me included the album’s namesake ‘Drunk ‘n Disorderly’, ‘Identity Theft’, and the vigorous closer ‘Pub Feed’, all with such literal and point-blank lyrics.

And randomly at one point Eamon shouted something along the lines of “all the security look like Air Force 1 Military!” They literally jumped back into playing after that, and honestly, I was still processing that comment when they were playing their next song.

Their cover of The Wiggles’ ‘Can You (Point your Fingers and do the Twist?)’ was delightful too – a little idiosyncrasy in the middle of a punk concert. This led perfectly onto their viral belter, which didn’t even need an intro: ‘Smoko.’ You had members of the audience shouting “SMOKO” up until this point, in British-sounding Aussie accents, which just showcases its demand. Once they started, the energy was even more raucous than before.

Photo: The pit – Emily Johnston @ The Mancunion – Note the mullet in the bottom right corner, as well as far left!

Final Thoughts

When asking my friends what they thought, I got the words “entertaining”, “sweaty”, “mullets” and “fit.” A member of the audience even said it was so hot and sweaty that they had to take a break from the mosh pit. The audience was very, very energetic, and not as violent as some mosh pits can be. My words? Fun, explosive, raucous, and incredibly high energy, but a lot of beer (I don’t think The Chats would argue it’s enough).

Rating: 8/10

Listen to High Risk Behaviour here!

Listen to Chubby and the Gang here, and Dennis Cometti here!


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