Violent Soho – The Forum – 14/05/16

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Nothing seems more appropriate than writing this review two years to the day since I first saw Violent Soho live – ever since that fateful One Night Stand performance in my home town of Mildura my adoration for their live presence was solidified – reiterated only further by their performance at The Forum. When the announcement of this tour first came to light I could not contain my excitement due to it seeing three of my favourite Australian alternative acts converge together on what quickly became a sold-out national tour, however, foreseeably so when you announce a tour with the all Australian heavyweights Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats.

For what was a sold-out show the intimacy felt like that of a house show; the certain kind of intimacy that comes along with each band on the line-up was present from the get-go. The Goochpalms infectious combination of sultry tones entwined with their infectious energy amping crowds up for a lineup riddled with bands infamous for their live performances. Bursting onto the stage, Australia’s most hyperactive and simultaneously loveable bong-lords among men were met with enormous levels of excitement; continuing to float through track-after-track. Opening their set with ‘Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana’the audience effortlessly were pulled by Dune Rats into a smoke haze of unity, taking shape in the gentle sway that greeted ‘Lola’ and continued through to the overwhelming demand for them to play their latest single, ‘Bullshit’. From the beginning to end of their set the three-piece captivated their audience with their DIY aesthetic, continuing to ride a wave of huge success both nationally and internationally.

When one hears the term two-piece, often you permissibly become sceptical of the ensemble producing more than a glorified acoustic cover of ‘Wonderwall’. However, DZ Deathrays proved to be apart of an exclusive club of artists who stick it to that stereotype. Picking right up where their comrades Dune Rats left off, DZ’ offered forward to audiences a phenomenal amount of strength through their sound, easily making all those in attendance forget that there was in fact only two people on stage producing it. This was especially evident through their song, ‘The Mess Up’.

Following on from what arguably is one of the best line-ups I have played witness to in a very long time, the audiences peaking excitement was greeted by the red glow of Violent Soho’s WACO graphic, illuminating the venue. As anticipation continued to grow, Mansfield’s favourite sons took to the stage amidst a sea of eager applause. The night greeted by fans as the first opportunity to witness Soho’s latest aural lovechild WACO come to life. ‘So Sentimental’ setting the tone for the electrifying set that laid ahead – which welcomed the perfect combination old and new material seeing fans engulfed in their set for its entirety – waves of excitement greeted the new material while old favourites like ‘Saramona Said’ and ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ pulled audiences close like an old friend.

The night quickly drew to a close as fans stumbled their way respectively to swamp the merch tables; discarded cups of beer dropping over as people filed out of the venue. Once more the overall vibe of intimacy hung in the air, however, The Forum was at maximum capacity: it truly felt like you had just come from some kid’s lounge room in the outer suburbs after his house party to which Dune Rats, DZ Deathrays and Violent Soho just happened to also be attending. It truly was a performance for a room full of extended friends.

Advertisements

Wu-Tang Clan – Margret Court Arena – 23/02/16

This article was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

An ominous public service announcement voice welcomed the masses into the arena, “all those here for the Wutang Clan, please proceed towards the stairs.”
While nothing could have sounded stranger than an invisible monotone man directing mobs of eager rap fans uniformly – nothing could compare or dampen the electric sense of anticipation that riddled the venue.

After stupidly fumbling through rows in search of my seat, Ivan Oooze took to the stage in a performance demanding all those in attendance to keep him on their radar; his song ‘Bring The Fire’ causing a certain concert goer in a camo bucket hat (which, of course, was straight from a local army disposals) to begin to dance uncontrollably in similar fashion to what I can only compare to a T-Rex. Concluding his set with his latest track written in collaboration with Ghost Face Killah, the Ringwood alumni showcased his meticulously fast flow; his hooks swirled together with heavy track layering to form a final single that perfectly pumped up those in attendance for the ruckus that laid ahead.

As masses began to migrate into the arena a dense sea of fans eagerly shifted their weight in overwhelming anticipation for the long awaited performance that laid ahead. Hundreds piled back into the standing area with beer and other assorted paraphernalia on hand, because, well, enter the Wu’ motherfuckers. Waiting proved too much for one fan as I played witness to one of the most impressive displays of parkour I have ever seen. The eagerness proving too much, the individual cleared the barrier into the sound platform where he whipped the speediest head check and jumped once more before darting off into the sea of faces all illuminated by the almighty yellow “W”.  A sea of “W’s” were now thrown up, Wu-Tang Clan victoriously took to the stage; the night shifting to peace signs, singular fingers and an illuminated sea of lighters and phone torches.


People’s passion – noted in their phone lights that ignited from the first bar – were rising rapidly. Vastly unsure if the drunk patron next to me realised that no matter how high you stand or no matter how close you get to jumping upon my shoulders, the venue was only just illuminated and no makeshift bandana banner would get you noticed. (I commend your efforts though!) Amid a sea the crowd-generated smoke, songs like ‘C.R.E.A.M’, ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit’ and ‘You Can’t Stop Me Now’ roared through the arena, emphasising that a band who was active well before my own conception had lost none of their ability to captivate audiences across the globe.

From executing their anthems with ease through to meticulous DJing that utilised all appendages including the ‘Clan members feet, the night was a well-rounded reiteration of their constant ability to “bring the ruckus”. Flowing on to include a dedication to their fellow musical comrades that have fallen, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ echoed through the arena as an appreciative mosh pit formed in response. Thanking in passing the phenomenal impact of David Bowie and an end-all rendition of The Notorious BIG, the covers saw already hyped up fans excitement levels skyrocket.

Through a perfect balance of between audience interaction and passionate executions of songs, their past 24 years as a collective offered forward one last tribute to their fallen brother Biggie; a parting note to the sea of faces looking on in awe of them, “Hip hop is the strength to the men.” With one audience member managing to escape the heavy security, jumping on stage and proceeding to execute one of the most insane performances of breakdancing I have ever seen, the final song was unforgettable. Through a final unified atmosphere, everyone was doomed to internally sing “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck With” on the long way home.

Unify Festival – Tarwin Lower – 2016

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

A procession of 5000 eager sleepy-eyed music fans made the two hour trip to Tarwin Lower on Saturday the 17th of January for the second annual UNIFY Gathering.
Set across two sold-out days, the BYO camping festival experience kicked-off with gates welcoming in the masses at around 11am. Rather than continue to bore you with slabs of text and analytically pulling apart the festival, heres my anecdotal account of my first (and certainly not my last) Unify.

DAY ONE

Saturday the 17th


11:20 am: After making a pit stop in a near by ALDI for some knock-off brand beer, bourbon and coke, we are back on the final leg of the travel toward Tarwin Lower.

12.14pm: Finding our car tomorrow is going to be stupid hard and this line is crazy.

12.30pm: After hauling our entire camp worth of gear to the wrong site we have finally set up and I have incidentally smashed through an entire packet of honey soy chicken chips already.

2.14pm: Void Of Vision never seem to disappoint regardless of stage size.

2.18pm: Evidently, crutches are an effective moshing apparatus.

2.20pm: On par with how effective a wheelchair is apparently. The person in front of me is killing it.

3.30pm: I have returned to camp to find ourselves surrounded from every side, a Choomah from The Big Lez show, an Amity Affliction flag on the other, and a magnificently proud Australian flag courtesy of Matt Groening.

3.55pm: After a member receiving a mid-set bowl cut, they are absolutely slaying their set so far – Ocean Grove incited a crowd wide sing-a-long with ‘Back Bone’.

4.35pm: The iconic beachball appears above the crowds.

4.42pm: Apparently shortly followed by the equally as iconic dude in the spiderman costume.

4.50pm: After accompanying some poor guy with a broken nose to the medics tent, I return only to hear the song I have been waiting to hear live in so god damn long like ’Let Me In’. Make Them Suffer, hands down, are one of the best live acts I have ever played witness to and the keyboardist has the voice of an absolute angel.

5.50pm: The energy being emitted by Hellions evidently is not affected by the size of the stage – ‘The Penultimate Year’ will never stop being one of the most energetic I have ever seen performed live.

7.25pm: RIP Confession.

8.50pm: Stray From The Path are the reincarnation (even though all members are still alive and well) of Rage Against The Machine. Yet, somehow, they have managed to showcase even more anger; coming together to prove to be one of the most impressive live acts.


9.45pm: Finally my skin no longer feels like I am on fire. Sunsets are stupidly underrated.

10.00pm: I wonder how much I will have to scrub for my skin to no longer be completely coated in black dirt.

11.03pm: By the light of phones and lighters, Kyle Erich has never sounded more like absolute angel – and the singalong for ‘Wildflower’ is stupidly celestial.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAqpPNpAAua/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=6#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A4693.22%7D 

11.50pm: Rubbing my sleepy eyes, I mindlessly I join the masses of piling to Main Stage to watch Parkway Drive.

11.55pm: Parkway throughout the years have consistently found ways to combine Tradies and the Emo kids of yesteryear together into one all mighty fan base.

11.57pm: Only seven minutes into a Parkway set and my boyfriend and I almost witnessed a Dad fight.

12.00am: CARRION IN A MOMENT I’M LOST, DYING FROM THE INSIIIIIDE.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAp86y5qzHv/embed/?cr=1&v=6#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A4699.570000000001%7D

A photo posted by @neintailz on Jan 17, 2016 at 1:37pm PST

12.33am: In a beautiful tribute for how far Michael Crafterhad helped Parkway come, ‘Romance Is Dead’ rang aloud and was greeted with a thunderous singalong.

12.40am: a sea of jazz hands waved out the night of live bands handing it over to the DJs.

1.01am: A venture back to camp was soundtracked by Family Guy quotes echoing throughout each camp site.

1.10am: On the list of things I wanted to go to sleep, listening to people yelling ‘Butt Scratcher!’ weirdly was not in my top ten.

 

DAY TWO

Sunday 17th January 2016

10.00am: People have began to depart before the Matinée begins, the smell of alcohol and a huge night lingers in the air. The line for a caffeinated beverage stretches across to the marquee tent, as attendees cling to the hope of caffeine reviving them in time for the second day of bands.

10.30am: That hope was lost for the person who left a human poop dollar nearby our camp.  

11.00am: Camp grounds are riddled with abandoned inflatable couches.

11.40am: Finally after stupidly somehow always being interstate when they have come to Melbourne, I get to see Columbus.

11.56am: I am an absolute idiot for not seeing this band sooner; ‘Downside Of Being Honest’ is one of the best songs I have heard performed live in a very long time.

12.30pm: The trek back to Melbourne begins as my Unifyexperience for 2016 draws to a close.

Overall, Unify definitely lived up to all the hype – however, I am angry at myself for missing out on its inaugural year – I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in years and see bands I have been waiting to see for what feels like forever. All while stealing inspiration from other camps to create the camp to end all camps next year. From drunk people forcing me to high five them a million times, to that one intoxicated patron that asked my boyfriend to moon him as we entered the main stage; I am filled with huge levels of nostalgia, memories and simultaneous sadness that its all over.  And of course, that I did not in actual fact get to witness a dad fight, soundtracked by Parkway Drive, in a tent where the bar was almost certainly being tended by Slattz from King Parrot.
    

Northlane – The Triffid – 14/11/15

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Under the dome-like structure that is The Triffid, the capped out venue played host to the Brisbane leg of Northlane’s National Node Tour. First to explode onto the stage were Melbourne’s own Ocean Grove who proved to be a testament to the thriving up and upcoming talent emerging from Australia’s alternative heavy scene. Pulling audiences in from the very beginning, it’s hard to imagine any other band who would have been able to warm the stage ahead of the enormity of both local and international artists the night promised. The crowd erupting into an energetic peak for ‘Backbone’, the band demanded all in attendance to watch as the cult favourites continue to grow as an ensemble.

Smoother harmonies followed Ocean Groves angst-riddled sound as Buried In Verona took to the stage as they showcased their latest (and reinvented) sound from Vultures Above Lions Below. The usual sing-a-long grasping audiences for ‘Extraction’, complimenting Ocean Groves performance and allowing the perfect build-up almost entirely based around their newer material. Churning in a little international brutality, the venue erupted in time with America’s own Like Moths To Flames – whose enormous sound rung throughout the venue – washed over audiences and added to the electric atmosphere that had been built so far. Fast drumbeats fused with even faster vocals caused the ensemble to captivate the entire venue from the first notes of their set right through to the last unrelentingly.

In a night when every band proved to have an even larger display than the last, the second to last artist exhibited the reason behind their long-term dominance within the international scene. August Burns Red’s ferocity inundated the venue and emphasised that even after over 10 years, they have only continued to mature and grow as a force to be reckoned with. Stealing the show and making them a hard act to follow, their entire set absolutely nailed it.

As darkness overcame the venue, an ambient display of lights overtook the stage in what was one of the most vivid displays of light at a show that I have ever played witness to. The energy of the venue was perfectly set as Northlane emerged with an incomparable ambience, followed by their stage performance which proved to take unrelenting charge. With vivid lights overwhelming the venue, vocalist Marcus Bridge effortlessly fronted the band, taking hold and exhibiting an array of both old and new material. The venue erupting during songs such as ‘Quantum Flux’, their final set ensured that they were not upstaged by any of the otherwise enormous artists on the bill. As their perfect combination of brutality, melodics and playful back and forth between cleans and harsh vocals filled the air, their set emphasised further that they only have continued to grow and hold their place firmly as one of the dominant forces within the international hardcore scene.

The Brovember Benefit – The Space – 07/11/15

This live review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Nestled away in a little rec room on Brisbane’s northside , The Space played host to masses who made the trek to The Brovemeber Benefit on Saturday the 7th of November with all proceeds from the day being donated towards the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia. Combining an array of Brisbane’s local talent, doors were thrown open as audiences were greeted by the ensemble Season Unending. Delivering a tight set that amassed into a thunderous finale, paving way for an afternoon that showcases some of the best of Brisbane’s local scene.

Keeping the good vibes rolling through a performance that harnessed a certain unorganised chaos unquite any I have witnessed before, Sabercat’s set immediately urged me to be stupidly angry at myself as this was my first ever time seeing them. This chaos only worked to their favour, throwing the crowd straight into their performance and seeing to it to the end. (Even with a few hiccups they still absolutely nailed it.) Finishing on a humbling note through thanking the dedication of fans within the scene, their set rung out as this imperfect-yet-perfect fusion that created an immersive hardcore sound. Diverging away from the similar sounds of the prior bands, the next band threw a little brutality into the mix; especially evident within ‘An Ancient Chaos’; the venue became overwhelmed with the thunderous deathcore stylings of Promethean. Further building anticipation and adding to the electric atmosphere of the afternoon, the band set the stage perfectly for the awaited return of Brisbane crowd favourites Rivals.

Exploding into their set, they only proved further that however comparably 2015 has been a much quieter year for the ensemble, they haven’t simply been biding their time. Rivals emerged with a newfound sense of awareness, delivering strongly song after song, executing each with a new sense of maturity while being received accordingly by audiences; seeing to it a resolution to the built up anticipation that surrounded them. However, their set was cut short, Rivals reiterated to all those in attendance their absolute dominance within Brisbane’s alternative music scene, proving that however 2015 has been a vastly inactive year for the collective they still haven’t lost their touch.

Skeggs – Grace Darling Hotel – 1/10/15


This live review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Walking into The Grace Darling Hotel Thursday night, you would have been excused for thinking you were entering the upstairs of your friends townhouse. In a night only heightened more by the fact the next day had become a statewide public holiday – cheers again for that Eddie Mcguire – crowds flocked into a little room that channeled the vibes of a house show; erupting into an atmosphere that not only allowed me to re-evaluate just how live music should be, but instantly curious to attend far more shows of this genre.

Emphasising this intimacy the two local openers Gonzo and Dumb Punts; these acts drew in crowds. For what proved to be an alcohol-fuelled and energetic chaos, the bands channeled the roots of indie-rock and infused it with classic Australian garage rock; both bands worked as a testament to the fertility of the emerging genre. From the get go, audiences seemed undividedly engaged with the performers, regardless of whether they were the supports or headliners.

Onlookers were dragged into each bands set with beers in hand, much like the same way they would be dragged to dance at some crappy party at their friends house. In a room which felt no different to being in a room full of people you were friends with, the bands built upon the intimacy of the night – exhibiting a certain rawness that goes hand in hand with their very DIY approach to their music, causing a cultivation of nothing but smooth and relaxed vibes.

Building upon this atmosphere and bringing the night to an absolute peak, sun-bleached Byron Bay sweethearts Skegss took to the stage with their summery, nostalgia inducing sounds, showcasing the reason they have amounted such a cult following along their journey. Signing with Ratbag Records earlier this year, the ensemble demonstrated that they have only continued to progressively move forward, churning out an astonishingly unique, yet familiar sound that draws on the roots of pop, punk and rock, and translated live into a dynamic set. It found the perfect balance between improvised chaos and a perfected sound fusion.

Skegss delivered a strong and immersive set that had audiences captivated from its start to finish, transforming into a united sing-a-long in songs such as ‘L.S.D’. The band worked along with the house show vibes The Grace Darling hotel was offering up, ending the night with crowds screaming for more, and reinforcing them as an ever emerging force within this DIY style of music that are demanding people to watch as they continue to grow.

 

Buried In Verona – The Evelyn Hotel – 19/09/15

 

This live review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Saturday afternoon saw the convergence upon The Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy for Buried In Verona’s ‘Vultures Above, Lions Below’ tour. Nodding to a new chapter for the band, the tour also marked the final chapter for Sydney’s own Hand Of Mercy, who, after 9 years in, are calling it quits. Like an omniscient presence, the day offered the chance to welcome in the new and sadly, to come to terms with grudgingly saying goodbye to what was.

With a venue fuelled with a certain intimacy, the ensemble-crowds were invited to feel as though they were engaging in a personal conversation with first band to grace the stage. Ambleside, making the trek from Adelaide, upheld their set with a certain connection with the audience, strengthened by ‘Retrospectand brought to an absolute peak by ‘Tired Eyes’. Their set worked fluidly, building on the audience and the song arrangement to amount to what felt like a raw expedition embarked on by both audience and the band alike.

First struck with an unmistakable intimacy, the sets of each band connected and drew upon the last, simultaneously infusing it with their own likeness. Utilising an already present intimacy, Pridelands erupted to the stage in an energetic fury. While having to work with an awkward and invisibly enforced distance between the stage and the crowd, vocalist Mason Bunt overcame this with ease, delivering a performance reflective their maturity as a band. With infectiously energising tracks such as ‘Gaia’ and ‘Devils Snare’, audience engagement was cultivated to a new level. ‘Coffinbound’ pulled the set together, and left an energetic vibe ringing across the entire venue.

Bringing a certain brutality to the table Sydney’s Polaris tore through the stage, simultaneously combining intensity, with infectious melodies shaking the audience to their core. Cemented further by the energy floating throughout the venue, Polaris was quickly embraced; delivering a performance that demanded undivided attention for its entirety. With intense sweeps that combined with variant vocal tones and dominate drums, they proved to captivate audience’s track after track. Polaris attributed an unrivalled brutality to the soundscape without sacrificing any intimacy with the audience.

Melbourne’s baseball jersey doting Void of Vision emphasised this through their performance and their large cult following within the Australian heavy music scene. Encapsulating maturity gained with such an extensive touring schedule, on stage antics saw vocalist Jack Bergin hanging from the roof in a moment of absolute intensity; their set concluding with ‘Persist // Perceive’ to encapsulate the brutality, intimacy and energy fashioned by all the supporting artists prior. Featuring duet vocals from Mason Bunt, the set ended in an overarching solidarity; fittingly in wake of what was set to be Hand Of Mercy’s last ever Melbourne show.

With nine years of being a collective under their belts, making the decision to call it a day came as a surprise to many fans of the Sydney based Hand Of Mercy. Their last ever Melbourne show saw them welcome back to the stage original vocalist Scott Bird. Their set saw to it that they and their impact upon the music scene would not soon be forgotten. Fan favourite ‘Mr Nasty Time’ saw the crowd up in arms, joining together fuelled by the ferocity you would expect to come with it being the last time Melbourne would hear the song. With harmony flowing throughout the show as a whole, Hand Of Mercy brought together a set that stimulated everyone in attendance; solidifying how grateful they all were for the support from fans over the years. Concluding their performance with ‘Last Lights’, the final notes rung out resonating throughout the venue, a thunderous applause was given reflectively.

With the closing of a chapter, the stage erupted with the start of a new one. Welcoming their set in with a new and refreshed sound in ‘Letting Go’, Buried In Verona boasted their reworked sound in Vultures Above, Lions Below. With a set focussed around showcasing their new material, audiences played host to a band whose determination and dedication rung through. ‘Extractions’ infectious line, “I’ve got this noose around my neck. Reminds me of the time I have left,” inviting audiences further into a set that testified their growth as a band. Brett Anderson’s transition away from coarse vocals worked to their advantage; delivering a vocally diverse set that expertly utilised the relationship between clean and coarse tones to emphasise the raw themes explored within their lyrics. Demanded to return to the stage for an encore, Buried In Verona exhibited their rebirth as a collective as a result of their absolute hard work and dedication; the energy fuelled afternoon closing with an overarching solidarity.