It might be chilly outdoors, but stepping into Richmond’s Leadbeater Hotel instantly provides you with warmth. Whether it be the fireplace or the dozens of punters waiting for the band room to open up so they can see Sydneysiders Stumps, it’s familiar and welcoming.
When the first opening act Aeroplane Mode came on stage, it was easy to think that they could have been headlining. The band room is already getting full, which isn’t much of a surprise considering the event was sold out, but it’s refreshing as ever. Melbourne’s rich live music scene has made a slow return since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, but it’s clear just how much us Melburnians have been craving nights like this.
A sense of community is at the forefront of the night - seen briefly as a member of the next opening act, Kitschen Boy, becomes an honorary member Aeroplane One, or similarly when Brandon from Aeroplanes provides a spare guitar string to the overseen Kitschen Boy. Positivity radiates from the door right to the stage and not for one second does it go unnoticed.
Anyone who’s seen Kitschen Boy live before knows that they love a crowd. This reigns true on the closing night of the tour, best seen as they lift the energy with a cover of Her’s ‘Speed Racer’. A track already full of life and wit, Kitschen Boy add a cheeky undertone to the track to warm us up for the rest of the night. Once again, the stage is shared, with members from Aeroplane Mode and STUMPS helping.
Entering with the World Wide of Sports theme, STUMPS reach some sort of stardom status. It’s a play on the band name that earns them many chuckles and cheers and sets us up for the set of a lifetime.
Kicking off with bigger tracks like ‘Mouth Static’, STUMPS know how to not only entertain a crowd but win them over. We learn a thing or two of frontman Kyle Fisher’s dance moves, with the whole room dancing in no time.
There are some more tender moments to the night to break up the party, where heartfelt lyrics meet a strong voice that is both vulnerable and bold, all at once. The dichotomy of the night is what STUMPS are all about; making the most of the darkest of times.
A night-long celebration of the return of live music is topped off with a full, lively stage. After “Introducing, All Our Friends”, Aeroplane Mode and Kitschen Boy make a return, alongside Dear Seattle member and more importantly, Kyle’s brother, Brae Fisher, for the poppiest track on STUMPS’ repertoire, ‘I’ve Had Enough’.
As STUMPS and the audience become one, it’s no surprise their debut album is titled All Our Friends. They’re all about connecting to their community, and on a cold Autumn evening at The Leadbeater Hotel, that is clearer than ever; they connect to the audience, leaving them with a sense of hope for Australia’s live music scene that will without a doubt leave a mark for a long, long time.