Gig review: The Exploited brilliantly kicked off their Oz/NZ tour @Barwon Club, Geelong 9/11/2023 By Mark Jenkins.


Gig review: The Exploited brilliantly kicked off their Oz/NZ tour @Barwon Club, Geelong 9/11/2023 By Mark Jenkins.

The excitement was palpable as the punk punters were eager to see this classic band pre-COVID and of course that fell on its arse. But it was worth the wait as so many people have stated three gigs into this tour that this is the best they have ever seen the band play. And I agree wholeheartedly, they blew me away. The aggression, tightness and professionalism were top-notch. Wattie is still one of the most entertaining front people around and he can still push himself so hard it beggars belief as evidenced by our interview recently the guy runs on pure passion and dedication to punk. The band are a tight unit and all feed off each other's energy. The Barwon Club is an old-school venue that has historically held so many classic gigs there. 

The support band whose name I have forgotten as they were so non-memorable and full kudos to for them getting the support gig; but they were that modern version of punk, as in one off-note riff is seen as punkish, when in fact they were just a loud indie band tbh. Given the solid support of actual punk and hardcore bands for the whole tour, it was certainly a weird choice given the Melbourne show had quality bands like Threat and The Clinch FFS-like proper hard-arse bands that fit the genre. 

The punk masters hit the stage right on time with the savage opener Let's Start A War (Said Maggie One Day) and from the first note you knew this was going to be a crushing gig straight away the mix of mohawked punkers, skinheads, metalheads and general misfits screaming the words like their life depended on it. Wattie and co. soon slayed us with killer track after killer track in the opening section: Fightback, Dogs of War, The Massacre and UK82 as the taster for the mayhem. Geelong always on cue brings out its selection of weird and entertaining units who randomly jumped on stage and ranted on as well as having more inane banter at the side of the stage than old regulars in a pub. And Wattie wound them up and cracked fantastic jokes at their expense(deservedly so, as most of the crowd was screaming at the deranged talkers to shut the fuck up). The mixing was really solid and the band were an absolute powerhouse, and I truly loved how the setlist was a solid mix of the old classics with the newer tracks. The first albums were so life-changing but their last few records were easily some of their best work with faster tempo and more metal in the overall sound, as well as Wattie's vocals getting more extreme and punishing. 

How is this for a punk/hardcore selection of utter bangers; Chaos is My Life, Dead Cities, Alternative, Noise Annoys, Troops of Tomorrow(a slightly different version that I preferred to their original), I Believe in Anarchy and Holiday in the Sun.
I mean seriously how are we to survive so many brilliant tracks back to back, wild stuff and the band playing all of them at a frenzied pace, all seasoned players plus menacing vocals and humour from Wattie as expected. The pit was now getting rougher and more moshtastic as the stellar night continued.
Up next was Beat The Bastards, Cop Cars, Rival Leaders, Fuck the System, Porno Slut(with a kind tongue-in-cheek dedication to some lovely members of the crowd) , Army Life and the always-crowd fave Fuck the USA. Sex and Violence was also played with massive and wild crowd participation as indicated by the photo above. Wattie thanked everyone for staying punk and all the years of supporting the band and ended with the mighty Punk's Not Dead and Was It Me.
All in all a killer gig and one of the best international punk/hardcore gigs I have ever been to. The sheer power and performance of the band are still devastating after all these years. Don't miss the remaining dates of this amazing tour and we are all hanging out for the new album coming out in the next year or so we hope.

I was also lucky enough to meet the band after the gig, all awesome people and had a long chat, particularly with Wattie who is one of the most down-to-earth, inspiring and genuine punk musicians ever. A classic band with a sheer amazing dedication to exceptional performance.

Get Antisocial with these bastards:

Catch the remaining dates or you must be fucking mad to miss this incredible tour:

Tickets here:

Thanks, DRW Entertainment, John from Nuclear Blast Australia and Wattie and the lads!!!