Cheap Fakes @ The Woolly Mammoth

Cheap Fakes keep their hometown crowd dancing all night long.

It’s the end of a long week and I was ready for a beer and a boogie.

However there is a hold up out the front of the Woolly Mammoth as the patron in front of me objects to the compulsory ID scan. The scanners are fast becoming ubiquitous throughout the Valley and it’s interesting to see how the venue deals with the privacy complaint. A short wait later, the punter’s valid concerns are amicably assuaged and the line starts to move. I head over to the Craft bar for a tasty bev, then hoon upstairs to catch the remainder of the first support.

My first impression of Tay Oskee might’ve been of a low-key, surfy type, but I quickly learned to underestimate the Mission Beach native at my peril. His stomp-driven tracks build and build; soaring vocals and guitar progressions evoking the ocean at every swirl. Oskee chats about upcoming recording sessions for his final track, which peaks with a stirring, lyrical plea for us all to ‘open up your fuckin’ eyes’. Consider them opened Tay!

If Oskee was the afternoon surf trip, then second support Hayden Hack Trio was the return to the beach shack for twilight kick-ons. The set feels like one big funk jam and quickly attracts groovers to the dance floor. Singer/guitarist Hayden Hack is open and relaxed, christening one jam track $91 (for the parking fine incurred out the back of the venue a few hours earlier) and jovial bassist Brad Wenham is clearly having a ball with his dexterous bass solos.

A quick nip downstairs for another crafty, and it’s back up the Star Wars stairs for the energetic soul/ska party that is a Cheap Fakes set. The band gets straight down to business with the edgy funk and bellowing bari of 2012’s Home Invasion, setting the tone and ensuring the dance floor is packed for the entirety of the set. The musicianship here is undeniable. Classy guitar solos from James Watson​, simultaneous synth and trumpet riffs from Scotty Bignell​; all kept in line by charismatic band leader Hayden Andrews​.

The band debuts a brand new track called Sister (for now) as well as the tour’s eponymous new single Touch N Go. The song is well received but the upbeat, reggae-infused Sand On The Beach is clearly the crowd favourite, with fists in air for every chorus horn-hit. The change reminds me a bit of Saskwatch and how they transitioned from those soulful, brass line-ups to moodier, garagey, fuzzier stuff. It’ll be interesting to see how the rootsy-reggae Cheap Fakes fans take to the sparser, more electronic musical direction but with a live a show like the one we’ve just witnessed, the band will surely have fans for a long time to come.

Anna Reeder

Zed Facts

Before 4ZZ could start broadcasting in 1975, a transmitter was ordered from the U.S. But after it was lost on the dock in New York, 4ZZ's chief engineer at the time Ross Dannecker built the station's first transmitter.