By Tiana Jones.
Looking for young talent in the local punk-pop scene? Look no further than Fremantle’s own Figurehead, a four-piece band making waves in Perth’s youth music scene. I had the pleasure of seeing their show at the YMCA Youth Centre in Leederville on the 6th of April and was impressed with the atmosphere, the band’s energy and most importantly- their talent.
Figurehead came on stage at 8:50pm and played for just over half an hour, mostly from their new EP “All Worthwhile” with a couple of extra editions including a high-energy piece titled “Short”, which was received enthusiastically by the mostly teen audience (as someone who is also considered short, I was rather fond of this number as well).
The crowd was a couple of hundred strong and mostly between the ages of fourteen to nineteen. Headbanging and dancing rocked the mosh pit with screaming and cheering after every song- a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase is always a good sign for a young band. Calls for an encore ensured but were declined- the band were noticeably exhausted after such a high-intensity playlist.
Highlights included the crowd favourites “Teacher’s Pet” and “106.” The latter is an ode to the now defunct 106 bus route, a service that was a routine part of life for thousands of high school and university students for years. A homage to a dead bus route is reflective of the quirky but fun vibe that Figurehead has become locally known for- but the song works and is not as gimmicky as the subject of a bus route would suggest: there is a solid sound and strong lyrics behind the track.
“Teacher’s Pet”, the other crowd favourite was also lyrically strong and probably the easiest to dance to song of the night, judging by the crowd’s reaction to it. “Teacher’s Pet” has managed to stick in my head and after the concert I ended up downloading the track and have been singing the lyric, “You’re only friend is a forty-year-old brunette” at work- much to the confusion of my co-workers. Although “Teacher’s Pet” and “106” seemed to be the favourites among the fans at the YMCA, my favourite song from the new EP is “Ear to Lend.” Like “Fade” it focuses on appealing to a wider audience, beyond their already established fanbase of high school students- attracted to fiercely fun numbers like “106”.
“Ear to Lend” begins with a smooth opening but jumps into a more rock-focused beat as the song goes on. The music itself is sleek and fits well into the mainstream pop-punk genre. The lyrics appeal to a wider audience as well, detailing the common struggle of handling the politics of a one-sided friendship. As someone who has had to end a friendship due to the fact as friends we were toxic together, this song spoke to me. There are plenty of songs about ending romances, but not many about having to end friendships- which sometimes is necessary because just like romantic relationships, some friendships can be bad for you as well and ending them can be hard.
“Ear to Lend” reads as a song about someone having to tell an acquaintance to back off, which can be difficult- as you don’t want to seem like the bad guy but as the song says, “I’m a quiet guy, don’t speak my mind, friendly to the world but you got on my nerves”. Telling someone you don’t work well together as friends does not automatically make you a villain. It seems like it is fine to end a romantic relationship, but friendships seem to have an unwritten code- you don’t say anything directly if it is not working anymore- you are just meant to let them fizzle out. But telling someone directly that things aren’t working is far better than just ignoring them, hoping they go away and in your silence leading them along: it is not good for either of the people involved.
Sometimes being honest is better than just letting something drag out, which just wastes the other person’s time. I applaud Figurehead for a break-up song that does not necessarily have to be about a romance at all, sometimes telling a friend or even an acquaintance that your relationship is over or will never develop in the way they want it to can be as hard as ending a romantic relationship, yet is not often addressed.
Figurehead consists of Matt Murphy, Josh Gallagher, Ross Mace and Chet Morgan; these four young artists are ones you want to keep your eye on. Their music can be found on both Spotify and Soundcloud, so if you want to see what Western Australian youth are doing in the pop-punk music scene, try experimenting with these guys. You can download their new EP on Spotify today: