NEWCASTLE'S 48 Watt Street witnessed two contrasting sides of Los Angeles' diverse rock scene on Thursday night in The Growlers and their hyped-up support Starcrawler.
It was the scuzzy glam of the seedy Sunset Strip in Starcrawler, meets the sleazy surf vibe of Venice Beach in The Growlers.
Thanks to a cavalcade of famous admirers like Elton John, Dave Grohl, Shirley Manson and Morrissey and the cursed "saviours of rock" tag from the US music press, Starcrawler arrived in Australia on their maiden tour with two albums and a plethora of hype.
It naturally drew a decent crowd early, who were curious to check out their 190-centimetre frontwoman, Arrow de Wilde, who spits fake blood.
The hype even lured out former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns.
Nobody was left disappointed. De Wilde entered the former church hall through the crowd and stepped over the guard rail with her praying mantis-like legs.
What followed for the next 30 to 40 minutes was pure rock'n'roll theatre.
It was loud. It was distorted as hell. And it was outlandish in the classic glam rock sense.
De Wilde's vocal could barely be heard over the thrash of distorted guitar, but the 20-year-old compensated with a mesmerising stage show.
She convulsed, prayed, tossed water on the crowd, simulated oral sex, choked herself with the microphone chord and whacked herself in the head as if in self-flagellation for her rock'n'roll sins.
But the greatest visual was her spider walk pose as 19-year-old guitarist Henri Cash ripped into a slashing solo.
While it was difficult to look away from de Wilde and her maddening eyes, Cash also kept punters entertained with goofy smiles which he broke into any time a camera lens was aimed in his direction.
Starcrawler were great fun, but did the music cut the mustard? Tracks like I Love LA, She Gets Around and Bet My Brains were alive with energy, but de Wilde's poor vocal mix prevented the new audience from entirely buying in.
However, Starcrawler know how to make an exit. De Wilde, dripping with fake blood as if she's Carrie from Stephen King's horror novel, attempted to crowd surf to the back of the room.
Halfway back she fell onto the floor. It prompted the road manager to lift up her supposedly lifeless body and carry her back to the dressing room.
On the other hand you had the more experienced and polished main act, The Growlers. They couldn't have been more different.
The Growlers were never going to live up to Starcrawler's theatrics, and didn't attempt to.
Whereas Starcrawler smashed the audience with shock and awe, The Growlers and their cheeky frontman Brooks Nielsen wooed with grooves and smooth melodies.
The band is best known for their own Beach Goth Music Festival in LA, and while Starcrawler brought the only goth element, The Growlers sparkled with surf vibes.
It felt like every grommet in Merewether had driven over Strzelecki for the show and the scent of marijuana hung in the air.
It was a two-hour 25-song set from The Growlers but it never reached any real climax as many of the tracks bled into each other as they maintained a steady groove.
The Growlers over their six studio-album career have never deviated far from their formula of rhythmic psych rock and Nielsen's steady baritone croon.
But the audience lapped it up. It's the vibe of it, to quote The Castle's Dennis Denuto.
Tracks like Dope On A Rope, Love Test, City Club and Going Gets Tough all received strong reactions, as did Natural Affair, the title track off their latest album.
Just like Starcrawler and The Growlers presented contrasting visuals and sounds at 48 Watt Street, you suspect their career paths are also set to deviate.
Don't expect Starcrawler to be playing second fiddle on their next Australian tour.