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From Brisbane to Brooklyn

For the rent you’re paying now, you could live comfortably in Brisbane, Australia.

Of course, you’d rather live in Brooklyn. And Patience Hodgson would agree.

“We could be here, or we could be there, so it was just, let’s do it,” says the Brisbane native, who fronts the band The Grates, of their move halfway across the globe. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I just love it, I love it so much.”

The band, also comprised of John Patterson on guitar and Alana Skyring on drums, moved out to the States last summer, and they’ll be looking to move back home this July. Before that flight takes off, they’ll be buckling down and writing new material, as well as playing a show at Brooklyn Bowl March 27.

“We’re going to try to make it a little bit of a different experience,” says Hodgson, whose rocking voice pierces the air, standing out above the band’s pop-rock sound, which carries its own youthful exuberance that just makes you want to jump around. “It’s nice if you can make a venue people are familiar with feel different for one night.”

The practice is something they exercised more in Australia, and Hodgson admits the twentysomethings been a bit lazy here in America in that respect. Some shows you most likely missed out on featured a winter wonderland theme in the middle of the summer, animalsthat shot lasers out of their eyes, built specifically for the show, and dozens of balloons filling the venue. Their next show admittedly won’t be as ambitious, but the change can be as simple as introducing a backdrop.

“We’re going to see what we can do to the room to see if we can give it a different vibe, and it doesn’t feel necessarily like every other Saturday night that you’ve had at Brooklyn Bowl,” says Hodgson.

The band has spent brief stints in the US before, three months in Chicago here, three months in Los Angeles there. But this is their first extended stay in Brooklyn.

“We’ve never been part of a community, which I’m embracing completely,” says Hodgson. “As soon as I got here, I joined the (Park Slope Food) Coop. It’s my favorite place on earth. If I don’t go down there every three days, I get sad. I go, and I get happy again.”

The band has also enjoyed cycling around their South Slope neighborhood. Or, as one neighbor calls it, Battle Hill.

“‘People call it South Slope, but it’s really Battle Hill,’” recites Hodgson of what her neighbor told herof the neighborhood, found right near the Green-Wood Cemetery. “Whenever we would say we live in Battle Hill though, we would just get this blank look.” Even referring to her neighborhood as South Slope, Hodgson still gets the blank stares,so she sticks to Green-Wood Cemetery.

The band has to worry about neighborhood politics for only another few months, at which point it’s back to Brisbane. Until then, the trio’s going to focus on writing new tunes, as well as get a few more gigs in, they hope.

“We’re available,” says Hodgson, laughing. “(During the week) we’ll be writing. But Thursday, Friday, Saturday, we’re available for shows.”

That wouldn’t be such a bad thing; for fans of the punk-pop group, it’s a long way to Brisbane.

The Grates play Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave.) March 27 at 9 pm. With Savoir Adore. Tickets $5. For more information, go to www.brooklynbowl.com or call 718-963-3369.

For more on the band, go to ww.thegrates.com.

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