REVIEW: Winston Surfshirt - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Written by: Zoe Horn

Written by: Zoe Horn

The Northcote Social Club fills quickly on Friday night, the warmth of the dark band room drawing the crowd in. Inside, among the vintage jackets and beards, the excitement for Winston Surfshirt is growing as support acts ESESE and Wallace play their last songs.

Manly based band Winston Surfshirt strums a five-piece melody of soul and hip-hop, drawing on Winston’s unique electrifying hushed vocals. The songs are sprawling and slowly upbeat, the brass cutting through the smooth vocals and bass to keep up the marching soul tempo.

The songs the crowd do know, newly released Ali D and Be About You, and a feature on Polographia’s Sly, are met with delight and imitations of the lead singers consistent dancing. An encourager to all, his dipping and grooving reflects in the mass of punters.

The large majority of songs played are not known by the crowd, and the band only seem to want to rub this in their faces. But it doesn’t matter, each song flows thick with the same smooth soul and splashes of rap and ingenious ways to form sound, at one point heavy breathing being a constant to the songs tempo. Tinges of Anderson .Paak and Koi Child singe the edges of their songs. Some songs lean more towards slow hip-hop, and others play on the strong vocals.

The likeable lead singer teases the crowd with ‘maybe a couple more songs’ and then ‘maybe a couple after that’. But the crowd was not expecting the couple that came.

Within the first few beats, the crowd recognizes the familiar beginnings of Kendrick Lamar’s Humble. An insane cover the entire room goes crazy for from beginning to end. Not the end of the surprises though. The overplayed club hit, Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says gets its turn in the spotlight, much to everyone’s audible delight. One more to leave punters open-mouthed; Wu-tang produced Shimmy Shimmy Ya.

At this point band members are in the crowd and punters are on stage. The lead singer brings his energy down to the ground crouching and bopping with his fans.

The band truly put on a show, and just like the end of an act, they draw the black curtains back to leave us in the red dappled lights blinking and wondering what to do with the energy the music has left us with.


tix via / RSVP HERE

Friday, June 2 - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 

Friday, June 9 - Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth 

Saturday, June 10 - Rocket Bar, Adelaide 

Saturday, June 17 - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane 

Thursday, June 22 - Oxford Art Factory

Friday, June 23 - Oxford Art Factory