Hockey Dad – The Triffid

Hockey Dad – The Triffid

You can’t mention the flourishing Australian rock scene without Hockey Dad. In just a matter of years, Wollongong duo Hockey Dad has emerged as one of Australia’s most formidable rock acts. Filled to the brim with catchy anthems, their 2016 debut record ‘Boronia’ found wide adoration, taking guitarist/vocalist Zach Stephenson and drummer Billy Fleming to new heights touring globally. While ‘Boronia’aligned with the sound of many Aussie surf rock records, Hockey Dad’s 2018 follow-up, ‘Blend Inn’, proved the boys could pump out grungy, yet still catchy, tunes more at home in Seattle than coastal Australia.

Easily one of my favourite releases this year, ‘Blend Inn’ felt like an important stepping stone in Hockey Dad’s journey as one of the most exciting bands in Australia, a feeling reflected by two sold-out tours this year alone.

Supporting act Tiny Little Houses found a small yet loyal crowd at The Triffid, with the Melbourne quartet proving why they’ve been on my must-see list for so long. While their supporting position may have come across as a little left of centre in relation to Hockey Dad, it didn’t take long to realise the two bands are different sides of the same coin, carrying a distinct alternative sound that exudes a coming of age charm. While Tiny Little Houses may have sounded more haunting and lo-fi than their alternative surf rock headliners, they won the hearts of The Triffid.

Hockey Dad arrived on stage to much fanfare, the audience swaying in anticipation as Stephenson and Fleming launched into ‘Disappoint Me’ from their latest album. Admittedly, it came as a surprise to find the boys playing what is arguably their most well-known song, ‘I Need A Woman’, second in the set list. However, it is safe to say that if any song could kick a crowd into utter mayhem, it was this.

Another early hit, ‘A Night Out With’, had a similar effect, with Stephenson drowned out by the fanatic crowd. The chaos settled slightly during ‘Danny’, a somewhat mellow track by Hockey Dad standards in addition to being what I consider one of the duo’s best tracks. Exhibiting the band’s knack for breaking the loud, abrasive surf rock mould in favour of a reserved and poignant tune, ‘Danny’ stood as one of many highlights.

The placement of ‘Seaweed’ and ‘Beach House’ back to back was a neat throwback to their debut EP, the latter of which saw the crowd crooning the typical albeit strong surf rock tune. It was no mistake to follow this with two wildly successful songs from their latest record, ‘I Wanna Be Everybody’ and ‘Join the Club’. Going from the early material to latest demonstrated just how far Hockey Dad have come from their humble beginnings, with the entire venue echoing the chorus of ‘Join the Club’ proving just how much growth this duo have found in a matter of four years.

Any doubts towards the boys running out of steam during the encore were misplaced as ‘Sweet Release’ kicked off,

If anyone had doubt towards the latest album running out of hits, look no further than ‘Sweet Release’, featuring none other than Fleming’s vocals while Stephenson took a back seat. The charm of the studio version will never do the raucous live rendition justice, and as the hour and a half set came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel more and more people just fell in love with Hockey Dad. Join the club.

 Written by Jack Gobbe