Jill Reda, Contributing Writer
Sydney, Australian natives Sick Puppies rocked the stage this past Friday night at the Oneonta Theatre. Touring in support of their latest album “Connect,” the hard rock trio of Shim Moore (guitar and vocals), Emma Anzai (bass and backing vocals) and Mark Goodwin (drums) played a 14-song set that got the crowd out of their seats and onto the floor.
The band kicked off the show with “Die to Save You,” the opening track of the new album. They followed that with “Cancer,” a song off their second full-length (their first U.S. release) called “Dressed Up As A Life.” The first single from “Connect,” “There’s No Going Back,” was the first song of the set that the band had audience participation in, but they also had a tech issue occur. While it’s unclear what had happened, it affected Moore’s guitar rig. The band remained unfazed by this and continued to play “Odd One” and “Riptide,” both off their third album “Tri-Polar.” Moore commented on how the audience was experiencing a “real world rock show” due to all the technical difficulties. The set continued with “My World” and “Maybe.” Sick Puppies spoke about the beginnings of their formation in high school and what it took for them to uproot themselves from home and move to Los Angeles.
By the halfway point of the show, Moore had implored the people sitting in the back of the venue to join those in the front, considering everyone had paid the same price. The lead singer warned them that he would go into the audience and get people out of their seats if he had to. With that, he picked up an acoustic guitar and played “Connect,” the title track of the new album, which was one of the strongest songs of the evening. Following that, the trio featured their heavier tunes “War,” latest single “Gunfight” and “Pitiful.”
To close the show strongly, Moore went into the back of the room, as he said he would, and got the back row out of their seats. But before the last song, Sick Puppies had the audience
form a bouncing wall, which was a lot of fun to be a part of. Once the crowd got going, they launched into “Nothing Really Matters,” an old song that was never officially released in the United States. During the song, Anzai took an incredible bass solo and Moore joined Goodwin on the drums for a breakdown. The band encored with two songs: “All the Same” (a song that went viral back in 2006 as a result of the “Free Hugs Campaign”) and “You’re Going Down.”
In addition to the show, I had the pleasure of getting to watch the VIP acoustic performance. Sick Puppies put this on before the doors officially opened for fans who paid a little extra.
They played “Too Many Words,” “What Are You Looking For” and “Asshole Father,” all of which are off the first album. Having seen Sick Puppies previously when those songs were not played, it was enjoyable to hear them, especially in such an intimate setting; there were less than 20 people present.
The opening acts of the show were also really great additions to the night. Rough and Lovely lended a soft, stunning opening to the event in their first major stage debut following their victory of the WSRK Facebook contest. Hello Seattle, a local SUCO band, drew in their college posse and delivered a set reminiscent of Paramore. Enemy Down, a hard rock band from the Utica area, delivered a powerful set that was a perfect lead into Sick Puppies.
All in all, it was a great night with fantastic bands. Hopefully, Sick Puppies will roll into Oneonta again and deliver another epic show whenever their next album drops.