The Schizophonics Grinding Eyes Sk8tergrrrl Marrickville Bowling Club Thursday, June 6, 2019 Photos by Tom Wilkinson
This gig was a bit of a big deal for Sydney’s spluttering live rock and roll scene. There’s an online buzz on San Diego’s Schizophonics, driven by their livewire videos and their reputation for spectacular shows. The Harbour City, however, was absent from their original travel plans.
A tour through New Zealand was being followed by just one Australian show - at The Tote Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne - until last-minute intervention by a drummer in one of Oz’s most prominent bands (Russell Hopkinson of You Am I knows who he is) and another party who shall remain nameless.
So a side trip to Sydney was organised - for a Thursday night show at Marrickville Bowling Club. The night after a hurriedly organised, extra Melbourne show. Marrickville Bowlo has become a haunt for Sydney’s older rock and roll demographic. Lansdowne for the kids, Bowlo for the seniors. It’s a nice-sounding room with a great PA and friendly staff. The drinks are cheap.
Combining elements of 60s garage, funk, soul and old time rock ‘n; roll showmanship, San Diego’s The Schizophonics are one of the "hardest working" bands you’ll see. And I mean "hard working" in reference to when they hit the stage.
Singer/guitarist Pat Beers comes across like a mix between Jerry Lee Lewis and an eight-year-old kid on too much red cordial; the man never stops. While some singers take five to get a breath, Pat keeps the party going with some amazing onstage moves that would score high in any Olympic gymnastics competition.
While the bass often switches, Pat and drummer/wife Lety Beers are the core and soul of the group. The two of them, along with their beautiful dog Beanie, spoke to me via the zoom machine on the eve of their return to Oz.
They formed in 2009 but it's in the last few years that San Diego’s Schizophonics have convincingly cemented their reputation as one of the world’s hardest-working and most dynamic bands.
Gymnastically-inclined singer-guitarist Pat Beers, drummer (and his wife) Lety Beers, plus a series of bass players, have been wowing audiences around the world with their unique brand of explosive garage rock. They’re poised to pay Australia and New Zealand their second visit in a year in February and March, before hitting Japan for the first time.
The Schizophonics have been likened to a cross between James Brown and the MC5. Local bands have been lining up to join them on bills. Aussie all-female combo, The Fangin’ Felines, are lucky enough to be joining them for two support spots - in their own hometown Wollongong (Lalalas, March 12) and Sydney (Marrickville Bowlo, March 13).
Strong females are integral to both bands, so it made perfect sense for the I-94 Bar to host a pre-tour conversation between Lety Beers and Fangin’ Feline singer Carrie Phillis. The ladies spoke over Skype earlier this week. Pat Beers joined them and uber fan Russell Hopkinson (You Am I, ex-Radio Birdman) made the whole thing happen.