Habit To were not going to be overshadowed by the headline act, The Arrows. With some killer electric guitar tunes and a cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ they got everybody rocking properly with a rough rock ‘n’ roll attitude that kicked ass. I was surprised that no instruments were purposefully demolished.
The Arrows’ set was a little delayed after the first song due to a sound problem with the piano. But instead of disappearing backstage the girls tackled the agitated atmosphere with girly charm and some personal anecdotes about, amongst other things, their recent marriages. With the sound issue overcome Pamela de Menezes sang a song dedicated to her husband, or rather, she corrected herself, for mates that you end up falling in love with.
And that was it with slow songs. After a successful cover of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ the Arrows kept the vibe up with an energetic and rebellious electro-tinted poppy sound, never quite falling into any clearly defined category. It was refreshing how they didn’t seem to want to be part of some ‘cool’ or ‘hardcore’ subculture. And it’s a strategy that doesn’t undermine them in any way: they are without doubt a very entertaining and crowd-pleasing band. In fact, standing still was not an option. Those who tried would be forced, at the very least, to bop to the rhythm as the audience collectively removed any ability to move independently.
A highlight of the evening was a country song the girls apparently wrote when they got worried that something was wrong with them because all their younger mates were luckier than them romantically. Christie Desfontaine moved out of her dark spot behind the drum set and, clasping a tambourine, joined de Menezes at the centre of the stage to sing ‘I’m Gonna find me a Man’. Clearly it worked for them. In fact, they reckon that the song has special powers: they’ve heard that people who have sung along have actually found themselves a man in a couple of weeks. This particular audience seemed to take that statement to heart.
The set came to an end very quickly after the girls asked the crowd what song they’d like to hear. After disappointing one audience member because the requested song was not on the computer, they asked with a smile if we’d like to hear “the happy one again?” There was a collective roar of agreement, and off we went again, bopping and singing and screaming once more.
The Arrows headlined at Zula Bar in Long St on 13 July 2012.