posted on May 20, 2007 03:00
A surfer mate of mine in Byron Bay first told me about these guys, a group of ultra tough surfers who take their name from an abbreviation of their local break; Maroubra aka 'Bra, and so 'Bra Boys.
According to the press release for the movie, “Bra Boys is a film about the cultural evolution of the inner-Sydney beachside suburb of Maroubra and the social struggle of its youth – the tattooed and much maligned surf community known as the Bra Boys. The story is narrated by Australian actor Russell Crowe and is told through the eyes of members of the Bra Boys. Central to the story is the true-life struggle of the Abberton brothers – Sunny, Koby, Jai and Dakota … one charged with murdering a Sydney standover man, another pursuing a professional surf career but charged as an accessory in his brother’s legal fight, another trying to hold the family together and a young brother whose inheritance is his siblings’ notoriety."
Now, what the PR release doesn't mention is that it was, for the most part, made by the Boys themselves. Variety Magazine wrote the picture off with the words, "A fatally one-eyed docu made by senior members of the working-class fraternity...The overall impression is that of an unconvincing PR exercise. Murky vid sources are cruelly exposed on 35mm, though the soundtrack rocks"
So far, so what. And what the hell does this have to do with music anyway? Well, first of all, the public perception of a surfer is half a century out of date and is mostly drawn from Brian Wilson's iconic songs depicting California surf culture. It's an innocent vision that has been recently repackaged in the various MTV 'reality' shows such as 'Laguna Beach' which focus on the lives and loves of rich kids in SoCal. The Bra Boys are the antithesis of that, their surfing exists within a world of neglect not privilege. As 3Seven7 sing on the soundtrack, "This is not South L.A, this is South Sydney / This is where we grew up / That's the corner where I first threw up"
Which brings is along nicely to the soundtrack that accompanies the film and which Variety concedes, "rocks". It's an all-Australian affair and couldn't be further from the Men At Work cliche that has dominated our popular view of Australian rock.
Here is the track listing:
Two Feet On The Ground - 3Seven7
Times We Had - The Camels
Ready To Brawl - 3Seven7
Steamworks - The Presets
Allstars - Def Wish Cast
It’s Hard To Speak Without A Tongue - Parkway Drive
Don’t Go To Sleep - Regurgitator
Reach - The Butterfly Effect
La Mar (The Ocean) - The Beautiful Girls
Too Far Gone - The Camels
Champion - Grinspoon
Bra Boy Warriors - 3Seven7
Causing Trouble – The Camels
My Brothers Keeper - Jamie Holt
Watch the trailer here.