Review: Bag Raiders Keep Bringing the Fun Punch

Last Friday night, the Bag Raiders returned to the stage for their first national tour in years, kicking things off at Sydney's Metro Theatre. Read on for our review by Talica Tamanitoakula.

There was a time where Sydney’s nightlife was vibrant, eclectic and alive. Being young and carefree in the late 2000s where you just turned eighteen and had the whole city in the palm of your hand. If you didn’t like one club off George Street, you could easily catch a taxi and find yourself in Kings Cross – no lockout laws and a completely different energy to what it is now. That’s where the Eastern Suburbs duo Bag Raiders come in. A constant and strong reminder of my youth and what Sydney nightlife used to be like.

Our team caught their first performance of their “Horizons Album Live Tour” which kicked off on a Friday night at Sydney’s Metro Theatre featuring special guests, Mickey Kojak & Chase Zera. My first memory of the Bag Raiders in my younger days was my brother’s best friend introducing them through a burned CD which he gave to my brother labelled ‘HAUS MUSIK’. In the days before Apple Music and Spotify existed, we relied solely on downloading from music blogs and the occasional Youtube rip.

He filled this CD with mixes from the legendary Sydney DJ collective, Bang Gang DJs (Dangerous Dan, DJ Damage, Jaime Doon, Double Nolan, Gus Da Hoodrat and the late and great Ajax), Bloody Beetroots remixes and the most iconic song that represents my youth greatly, Bag Raiders‘Fun Punch’. From there I noticed the impact of Australian Electronic music and how we had a great representation that spread not just locally but around the world. Even to this day, my friend’s from overseas still talk about the impact Australian Electronic music made during the ‘Bloghaus’ era of Electronic Music.

This brings me to the Bag Raiders first sold-out show for their first new and improved live tour, debuting songs from their new album “Horizons” set to be released later this month.  The Sydney I used to know has changed in the past 11 years, with 2008 marking the first time I ever saw Bag Raiders live at an Oyster Magazine party at Oxford Art Factory. With all the changes in our city, Bag Raiders still put on an immense show with new live production levels and new visualisations with the same energy levels they’ve always had. It’s almost like I never left 2008. 

Kicking off their new and improved show they played new tracks from their album they’ve released so far including ‘How Long,’ ‘Wild At Heart’ and ‘Lightning’ which drew an energetic and enthusiastic reaction from the mixed aged crowd who loved every minute of the live show. Premiering more tracks from the new album for the first time established a positive reaction from everyone, still appreciative and keen for Bag Raiders after all these years. 

This didn’t stop the duo from playing some of their well-known classics – proclaiming “This was our first song, if you remember,” as the guitar riff of ‘Fun Punch’ echoed throughout Metro making all the revellers lose themselves. Continuing with more hits from their debut self-titled album released in 2011 – ‘So Demanding,’ ‘Snake Charmer,’ ‘Way Back Home’ and of course their classic ‘Shooting Stars’

The energy was booming – even though it was a cold windy Winter night in the city; the crowd didn’t care. Releasing all the stresses of their week on the dancefloor of Metro Theatre to the Bag Raider’s wonderful new live show with an immaculate live production and bright, colourful visuals making you feel like it was a Sydney Summer night all over again.

My personal favourite moment of the night was their live rendition of their hit ‘Sunlight’ – a song that invokes all your feelings, thinking about that special someone in your life immediately with the heart-warming lyrics:

Don’t you know that..when I see your’s like sunlight dripping
Don’t you know that..when I see your’s like sunlight dripping
You’re just’re just like

The rendition of the song causing an emotional moment in the crowd, when we all sang along while jumping along, without a care in the world. All the stresses in the world don’t exist when you hear the heart-warming lyrics, beats and melodies of the Bag Raiders.

Alas, all good things must come to an end and I found myself reflecting on the night, how my life has changed, how Sydney’s nightlife has changed but how the Bag Raiders have remained the same. A slightly different sound coming through with their new album release but still the same boys I’ve known for all those years ago; tonight’s show made me feel like I’ve found my way back home. 

Words and photography by Talica Tamanitoakula.

Bag Raiders
The Metro Theatre
9 August 2019

Editor’s Note: The boys recently released their third single, ‘How Long’  featuring Sydney-based singer-songwriter and producer, Panama
Premiered on Triple J’s Home & Hosed, the single came from a concept brewed in the duo’s LA home about waiting for love to come back around. Brought to life by lyricist and Panama founder Jarrah McCleary, the production of the track results from an epic modular synth jam in the pair’s studio. Representing one’s strong emotional longings in love, the instrumentals balance a cold and icy vibe throughout the track.
Bag Raiders say on the single: “From the first meeting to being in the studio, he’s [Jarrah] been great to work with. It’s great working with people who bring something different and help you get out of your own headspace – which is sometimes exactly what you need in order to do something new.”

Listen to it below!