Australian surf-rock duo Hockey Dad played a stellar show at South Broad Street’s Boot and Saddle Aug. 30. Coming all the way from Down Under, guitarist Zach Stephenson and drummer Billy Fleming put on a great second-to-last show of their U.S. tour.
Hockey Dad gets their great monniker from a deep “Simpsons” reference and their music embodies a sense of fun adolescence in a straightforward fashion. Their debut album “Boronia,” named after the street the two Aussies grew up on, is one of the most enjoyable releases of 2016. Stephenson’s guitar takes on a neat tone which deftly combines punk and surf rock into something really rad. Songs like “Jump the Gun,” have a real summer vibe while powering along thanks to the sharp drumming from Fleming. Hockey Dad isn’t out to create dense musical textures filled with verbose, intricate lyrics. They’re making catchy, propulsive surf-rock songs whose lyrics are about having fun, surfing, partying and of course, love.
Two bands opened up for Hockey Dad Aug. 30: Joy Riding and Muuy Biien. Philly’s own Joy Riding made a rare live appearance at Boot and Saddle and delivered a sweet set. The four piece sounded pretty tight and most everyone was bobbing in time with the music. They were heads and shoulders above the other opener Muuy Biien. Hailing from Georgia, these guys were anything but peachy. Their music sounded a bit sinister, with a passing resemblance to the Arctic Monkeys. It was a relief when their set was over and Hockey Dad started getting their gear in order on stage.
After getting everything set up, including moving the drum set to the front of the stage, Hockey Dad launched right into “Lull City” from their EP “Dreamin.” The crowd didn’t seem too ready to jump around or mosh or do much of anything so Hockey Dad was left to create their own energy in the small venue. The tracks from “Boronia” sounded great live as Stephenson and Fleming gave their all on stage. At one point, Fleming busted his snare drum head and a sound engineer quickly swapped in a new one. The two lads traded jokes with each other throughout their set, displaying their easy chemistry together.
“A Night Out With,” “I Need A Woman” and “Seaweed” were the standout tracks of the evening. On all three songs, Stephenson took some time to really jam on guitar while Fleming pounded away on the drums. Stephenson’s vocals are nice to hear live as you can see all the emotion he lets out with every lyric. His guitar playing is also top notch as he works around with his pedal board to flesh out the guitar sounds on every song. Not to forget about Fleming, he is a real dynamo behind the drum kit, keeping everything moving along nicely.
Hockey Dad’s “Boronia” is a great summer album. It’s a fun collection of songs and doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. Live the boys from Down Under sound great. It’s cool to see a rock n’ roll duo making the rounds. A guitar and drums is as simple as it gets and Hockey Dad makes the most of what they have. Be sure to check these cool dudes out next time they come ‘round Philly.