Best Gigs The Rockbrat’s Seen ? Turbo AC’s – Wollongong (2005)

Who: Turbo AC’s
When: Coomeys, Wollongong –  17 February 2005

There’s nothing quite like seeing a profile band in a small venue, or play to a small crowd. Not good mind you for the booker, promoter or band, but as a fan, these gigs often become the most memorable. So it was that I saw one of NYC’s longest-serving punk outfits play to an empty Wollongong pub on a Thursday night in early 2005.  I’d been a fan of the three-piece Turbo AC’s (named after one of the gangs from the 1979 cult NY movie ‘The Warrirors’) since 1997. I’d been corresponding with Johnny Thunders daughter in law, Laura (true) a NYC local who’d hipped me to the band. She sent me a cassette copy of the bands 1996 ‘Winner Takes All’ album and I was hooked. I tracked down the band’s front man Kevin Cole and he sent me a bio, some stickers and an album. I wrote an article about the Turbo AC’s that appeared in Vicious Kitten fanzine issue 8 from 1998. You can read it here – Kevin sent me the band’s next couple of albums, all of which are great punk, big on the hook and melody. Anyway, a couple of years went by and I’d lost track of the band, but when reading through the Illawarra Mercury gig guide one Thursday morning, I noticed that they were listed as playing that evening at Coomey’s in the Centre of Wollongong. I remember little of the opening act, the Go Set, but I do remember that there were very few punters in attendance by the time the Turbo AC’s came on. I counted about twenty people. A lack of promotion certainly would have contributed to the poor attendance, but credit to the band for being prepared to come out and play to audiences largely unfamiliar with them or their music. I note that on the two nights before they played Wollongong they also played placed the Red Lion in Wagga on Tuesday the 15th and the Grand Hotel, Bega the next night. A long ride in the van my friends. Anyway, if the tiny crowd was disappointed the band in any way, they sure didn’t show it. The band played as if they were playing to 10’000 people. They were energetic, tight and on form, and played material largely from their then current album ‘Automatic’. Songs
Included the title track, ‘Automatic’, as well as ‘Mafioso’, ‘The Future’ and ‘Apache’. They also played a couple of tunes off the ‘Live To Win’ album. It was a killer set. 
Comparisons with the New Bomb Turks and Supersuckers never did the band justice in my opinion, as they were a cut above both those.Founding member Mike Dolan left the band in late 2005 to start a hard rock combo in the vein of The Hellacopters and Motörhead called The FTW’s. If you saw the band on this tour, you saw something special….(by Col Gray)

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