The early afternoon sun bore over the hung-over and sun-crisped audience exhausted from the day prior of rocking and moshing and day-drinking. They rubbed their eyes and checked their phones and leaned into the spurts of water a gig tech was watering them with like a garden.
For most bands, playing for the day-after early-afternoon crowd would seem like an undesirable slot. Sick Puppies took the challenge with glee.
The Sydney, Australia-based trio took the stage by storm with guitar feedback clanging out of the speakers and their fists and the air.
“I know you’re tired, I don’t give a fuck,” vocalist and guitarist Shim Moore said, riling the audience up before kicking into the fast-paced “Cancer.”
The trio’s stage presence was solid. Bassist Emma Anzai crouched and swang her black hair back and forth like a person possessed while Moore banged out the power chords and worked the crowd.
Drummer Mark Goodwin banged on the snare drum using a full-upswing with biceps probably grown large from paddling through Australia's surf.
Sick Puppies got the crowd to shake off the cobwebs of the day prior with ease. When he asked for devil horns, they went into the air. When he told the Rockville crowd to move around, they would circle pit and dust from the foot worn park lawn would stir up into the air.
Sick Puppies’ live sound was on-point. The full-sounding, punchy guitars gave the songs like “Deliverance” and “War” a whole new dynamic and Moore would alternate flawlessly from harsh screaming vocals and clean singing.
The only slight downside to Sick Puppies’ performance was the overdubbed, pre-recorded voices that came in a few of the choruses. It made the chorus sound full, like the album, but that took away from the live experience. It’s OK for the live version of a song to be a little rough around the edges.
Though the set was a brief 30 minutes in length, Sick Puppies’ no-frills, solid songwriting an accessible attitude left viewers satisfied. After the set-closing “You’re Going Down,” Sick Puppies stuck around to meet “every crazy motherfucker here.” And that’s what they did, they were out and about all afternoon, rubbing shoulders with fans, taking photos and answering questions.