Sick Puppies show the Lehigh Valley how hard Aussies Rock
By Michael Meade
Photography by Jessica Beharry
Posted 9/12/13 12:45 AM EDT
The air was thick with anticipation, thicker even than the heavy August heat on the evening of the eighteenth, among the crowd gathered in the somewhat hidden gem of a venue that is the Maingate Nightclub in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Said anticipation was for Australian rock trio Sick Puppies, the band's fans had the rather intimate nightclub packed for the band's second and last stop in PA for the summer months of 2013. Touring with and opening for Sick Puppies was 10 Years, who put on a killer show and certainly warmed up the gathered mass for the Aussie headliners, but in the end the night definitely belonged to Shim Moore, Emma Anzai, and Mark Goodwin.
Photos: Jessica Beharry
Shim and Emma interacted with the crowd continually throughout their set, Shim more so in between lighthearted but earnest barbs at the light guy to cut the strobe before Shim fell “the fuck off the stage”. When not contending with the too close and obnoxious light rig, Shim's main point of interaction was to keep the crowd pumped and to bring out the excitement that had slid into a silent awe of the band after the initial roar of cheers to the band's entrance to the small but well appointed stage of the Maingate. At first the effort seemed only to elicit excitement from the three band mates, but as their set progressed it became easier to engage the mob of fans in front of the stage and throughout the club even bringing the stragglers near the second bar at the top rear of the club to the forefront.
Shim Moore - Photo: Jessica Beharry
Sick Puppies came together in 1997 while Shim and Emma were still in high school in Mosman in the New South Wales area of Australia. Bonding over their love of the bands Silverchair they went on to perform Green Day, Silverchair, and Rage Against The Machine songs together in the school music room with Shim playing drums and Emma on guitars before taking their playing together to the next level by writing original songs. Later joined by former member Chris Mileski on drums, Shim switched to guitar and lead vocals, and Emma moved to bass and backing vocals and Sick Puppies was officially born. This eventually led to the band producing their debut EP “Dog's Breakfast”.
Mark Goodwin - Photo: Jessica Beharry
Shim Moore - Photo: Jessica Beharry
As the night flew by the crowd woke back at Shim and Emma's behest, a noticeable problem for Northeast Pennsylvania crowds barring metalheads of course (metal shows are really the last crowds I've seen get excited at a show except for the last Halestorm concert I attended and they ride the line between hard rock and metal). By the middle of the bands set the crowd was dancing, singing along, and jumping to the anthem rich songs that Sick Puppies performed from their library of songs with a lot of material from their break out 2009 album “Tri-Polar” as well as new songs from their current album “Connect”; which dropped July 16 of this year. The nights set list included, in no particular order, “You're Going Down”, “Odd One”, “Should've Known Better”, “Riptide”, “Maybe”, and the first single from “Connect”; “There's No Going Back” among many more including a cover during their encore.
Emma Anzai on bass - Photo: Jessica Beharry
By the end of the bands set the nightclub was pulsing with energy from the crowd which broke loose in a chant of “one more song!” until Sick Puppies obliged with a three song encore! At the end of which Shim addressed the attendees with gratitude repeatedly for coming out before Emma and Mark threw picks and sticks into the crowd. After the this there was an exclusive meet and greet for people that purchased merch before the show and were awarded Golden Tickets that gave them access to the meet and greet and the ability to get their purchases autographed by Shim, Emma, and Mark by the merchandise table near the back of the club's dance floor. Interjecting an editorial for a moment, this is a much better way of holding meet and greets. Rather than a select few that can afford to dole out $500+ dollars, this method everyone a chance to be able to score a quick hello and an autograph from their favorite band. If the bands performance wasn't enough to convert this writer from a casual fan of their singles that have received radio play, to an actual fan that wants to keep up with the trio and catch future shows; the methodology for the meet and greet along with the members' down to earth interactions with their fans definitely did.
Emma Anzai on bass and backing vocals - Photo: Jessica Beharry
Foreground L-R: Shim Moore and Emma Anzai; background: Mark Goodwin -
Photo: Jessica Beharry
Mark Goodwin on drums - Photo: Jessica Beharry