Australia is known as the birthplace of several captivating rock bands–groups such as AC/DC, INXS, Jet, The Divinyls, and Tame Impala. These artists are well-known in the land down under and internationally. Within the last decade, dozens of rock groups have aimed at filling the shoes of their Aussie predecessors, thanks to a cultural resurgence in rock music.
Skegss, a surf rock trio out of Byron Bay, hopped across the Pacific to the United States for the band’s second US tour and delivered a killer performance at Metro Chicago, filled with lots of thrashing, head-banging, and sick riffs.
Amidst a crowd of grungy surf punk-loving attendees, the smell of cheap beer and weed ruminated through the venue. The lights streaked through the peaks of heads in the crowds as bodies started to fill the venue. Band members Ben Reed (guitar, vocals) and Toby Cregan (guitar, vocals) downed the rest of their drinks before taking the stage alongside Chrstian Wright (drummer of the opening band Flying Machine, filling in for Skegss’ own Jon Lani) as the crowd erupted into cheers and chants. They kicked off the night with “Valhalla”. a fast-paced garage rock anthem that gets the heads banging and the hair whipping. Toby and Ben continued revving up the audience with high-energy fan favorites like “Fantasizing”, “Under The Thunder”, and “Paradise”.
Midway through the night, two audience members were pulled up on stage to join the band on guitars for “New York California”, freeing Toby to move to the front of the crowd and conduct chaos in the pit. From above, the heads of the crowd resembled waves in the ocean, which Skegss would have surfed on if they brought their boards.
Amassing over 550,000 monthly listeners on Spotify in less than a decade, Skegss has already made a name for themselves in the garage rock scene and is an act to look out for in upcoming festivals. Earlier songs like “L.S.D.” and “Spring Has Sprung” are angsty and fun; although fancy recording equipment was less emphasized in such releases, it allows Skegss to showcase their energy and sound through pure grit and grime. New pieces like “Bunny Man” and “Stranger Days” experiment with folk and indie sounds, borrowing more complex songwriting progressions and testing their limits as a band. Sharp riffs and punchy snares are the recipe for Skegss songs, pounding away with a melody that everyone can shout along to. Their continued success with newer work, as well as their gnarly show at Metro Chicago suggests that this group hasn’t reached their peak yet, and it’s gonna be a wild ride to get there.