For the first time since COVID began, Newtown’s Waywards was overflowing with people and beer. It was local Sydney band Supahoney’s first gig post-sitting restrictions, and they managed to sell it out (and then some).
For most, the feeling of sweaty arms grazing against each other was going to take some getting used to. The audience was united by a giddiness for the closeness of a crowd, brought together by their love of music. While milling with anticipation on the sticky floor, there was still a hesitance — are we really allowed to do this again?
Comedian Will Gibb kicked everything off. He toyed with the audience like a tiger with a ball; his favourite targets were a group of red-eared, supportive mums in the corner. His jokes helped the rusty crowd settle into the show, letting them breathe a little.
Kosher Groove hit the stage next with a flurry of technicoloured sound. Their smooth, jazz-dipped tunes made it impossible not to dance. Their use of musical space was spectacular. Each note was deliberately-crafted; each member knew exactly when to sit back and when to take the spotlight blazing.
Supahoney began their set with a swirling intro, kept steady by bassist Declan Heraghty and garnished by Ciaran Heraghty’s silvery cymbals. Above it, Ben Lopes captivated the audience as he tackled his guitar with a double bass bow. They carried their listeners, winding up and up before exploding into their first song, Zygoat. The audience was trapped in their dizzying post-rock haze within the first thirty seconds.
Dylan Wallace proved himself as an electric frontman. During their second song — a punchy warning siren for the young, called Timothy — he began to wade through the mosh. As the bridge between performers and audience crumbled, so did any of the crowd’s residual nerves.
Live, Supahoney leave behind their old material and their long-haired teenage punk past, and instead showcase a new, weathered complexity. Each song is carefully built from the ground up; the unique beauty in their music comes from how the intricate layers lock into each other.
Warming up a bashful audience that have spent a year in hibernation is surely a Sisyphean task, but Supahoney have been pushing their own rock up a hill for a long time. After Waywards, that rock is closer to the top than it’s ever been before.
Supahoney’s new track Timothy will be available April 30th on Spotify.