As the Australian indie pop scene continues to secure a place on the American—and worldwide—music stage, with artists like BENEE, Lime Cordiale and Sticky Fingers taking over Spotify playlists and festival lineups, it was only right for Last Dinosaurs to win a space in the U.S. indie sphere. In the upcoming months, along with their Lollapalooza debut, the Caskey brothers, Sean and Lachlan (both vocalists and guitarists), alongside bassist Michael Sloan, will be touring throughout North America. And they kicked off their tour last week at no other place than Chicago’s Bottom Lounge.
When I first heard their song Flying in early 2020, I was not only drawn to the nu-disco sound approach mixed with a typical pop structure, but I was also caught off guard by the fact that an entire verse was in Spanish, which is my first language. This became even more surprising, if not confusing, once I realized the band was originally from Brisbane, and if anything, two of its members came from Japanese roots.
Before Los Dinos (as they like to call themselves) came on stage, the crowd at Bottom Lounge had already turned into one big and homogenic mass. Looking at their fans and analyzing their demographic, I realized that it only made sense for me to be fascinated by this band: their fan base seemed to be mostly Hispanic young adults, and I’m guessing most likely music junkies that found songs like Apollo and Italo Disco by browsing indie playlists on their free time. As pretentious as it may sound, I knew that I was home.
Growing up in South America, concerts were a completely different experience than they are here; they are chaotic, much louder, and impossible to move any part of your body other than your arms (if you’re tall enough) no matter who you are watching or where. This familiarity of an intense and active audience reminded me of what I’ve also seen at the Omar Apollo concerts I’ve been to, which fits the idea of a mostly Hispanic demographic. Every single person in the crowd was screaming every single word, people were dancing and jumping, and overall just having a genuine good time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that unless you’re trying to see a festival headliner, here I can get to a concert forty-five minutes before it starts and still make it to the first few rows, but the Last Dinosaurs show was a good reminder that that’s not how it always is.
Halfway through their set, Lachlan Caskey, vocalist and guitarist, asked: “¿Hay Mexicanos aquí esta noche?” (“any Mexicans here tonight?”), and the crowd roared, making even him unable to hide a surprised, but pleased look. That’s when they played “Flying“—the Spanish version being yelled by the audience almost just as loud as all the other English lyrics in every other song. But leaving aside my inevitable Latin American bias, this show just seemed to become a fun, momentarily safe place for everyone in there.
The dancey nature of songs like “Honolulu,” “Eleven,” and “Sense” had everyone jumping around or at least bumping their head. The venue felt a little bit like a club: a main dance floor for those who dance and jump and the sidelines for those who would rather listen to the music more peacefully. It was truly a great start to the band’s first tour since pre-pandemic. You could tell from the band’s reactions and words that they weren’t overly confident about their success, allowing them to be pleasantly surprised by an audience that begged them to crowd surf.
With three albums out, and From Mexico With Love, their fourth one on the way, that according to Rolling Stone was inspired by their time in Mexico City, Last Dinosaurs holds close a passionate fan base of a big act, while still maintaining the undertone of a small indie band. As they continue to grow with the release of their new album and an appearance in a festival like Lollapalooza, I’m hoping they will be able to maintain that up-and-coming artist magic through their unique sound and experience-based lyrics, as they also persist to experiment like they’ve known how to do for over twelve (yes, twelve!) years.
Photos and words by Javi Zamorano.