One of my favourite ways to determine a crowd’s level of anticipation at a gig at 170 Russell is to look closely at the line that stretches far beyond the doors and around the corner next to the world’s smelliest bins. If the fans are smiling and oblivious to the stench – you know it’s going to be a good night.
It’s been a long while since Pierce The Veil blessed our shores with their presence, seeing them last on the bill for Soundwave 2013. Add to that the four-year wait for new music that kept fans hungry and restless, having them headline a sold out show promoting their latest release ‘Misadventures’ was the sweetest treat in the shop. Supporting the San Diego band were Melbourne’s own Storm The Sky, Beartooth (US) and of course Silverstein (CAN). Just hearing those names together gets you salivating a bit, doesn’t it?
Kicking things off were Storm The Sky, who’ve recently released their second LP ‘Sin Will Find You’. The Melbourne band put on a real captivating set, clearly putting everything they have into each and every beat. Storm The Sky have come a long way since their debut release and their passionate musicianship is evident through their music and their live show. Playing old and new hits to a crowded room, not everyone was receptive at first but by the end of their set, it was clear they had won a lot of hearts over.
Ohio metalcore act Beartooth were up next and made sure to wake up every single person in the room. Jumping up and down and constantly moving about, vocalist Caleb Shomo ordered us to move; “Get up, get UP, GET UP” and so we happily got the hell up. Crowd favourite In Between went off just as you’d expect it and if the crowd’s never heard these guys before, they won’t forget them now. Frantically energetic and radiating positive vibes, Beartooth have definitely lived up to the hype surrounding them.
Another great thing about those few minutes between each band’s set when you’re trying to recuperate and catch your breath is the music playing over the P.A system. I don’t know who’s responsible for it but that impromptu crowd sing-along to MCR’s Helena was a solidifying moment of unspoken connection amongst punters of all ages and walks of life. The little things that you experience at heavy music gigs often make it the best.
The flow between each band’s set was smooth and on time and fans were buzzing with adrenaline throughout. Silverstein’s performance was tight and without fault, the post-hardcore act riling the fans up and hitting them with banger after banger. The crowd sing-along to My Heroine and Already Dead was a total throwback that reinforced the importance of Silverstein’s presence in the hardcore scene.
By this point of the night, the crowd were pumped, sweaty and thirsty (both literally and metaphorically) for more. The lights dimmed, a heavenly choir filling the room as Tony Perry enters the stage. He opens a case, lights shining from within it and places his trusty guitar over his shoulders. Playing the opening riff to Dive In, the crowd roars – enter Vic Fuentes, Jaime Preciado, and Mike Fuentes as they join Perry and the crowd erupts. In that split second between Vic singing “Dive in, take a breath” the entire floor surged forwards, backwards, left and right: a swarm of bodies pushing themselves into each other and allowing the music to take over. Intense is a definite understatement to describe what went down in that pit and I was almost crushed to death in the name of rock n roll but it was worth it.
The buck doesn’t stop there and neither does the intensity as Pierce The Veil jump straight into crowd favourite Caraphernelia, the entire room roaring as we all sang along to every syllable. The band continued to play more hits off of their latest album Misadventures and it was received with nothing but love as bodies moshed and screamed along to Texas Is Forever and The Divine Zero. The next song saw Vic Fuentes bring one very lucky fan onstage as he stared into her eyes and serenaded her with another classic; Bulletproof Love. I’m not doubtful that there were many swooning and jealous fans in that moment – men and women alike.
Floral and Fading, also off of Misadventures, preceded and then it was time to bring things down a notch. Ditching his electric guitar, Vic Fuentes picked up a tambourine while the rest of the band backed him up in an acoustic performance of Kissing In Cars. The swooning continues.
Confetti cannons, smoke machines and flying streamers explode and push punters even closer to the edge of complete bliss as the band plays hits off 2012’s Collide With The Sky. “This is our last song” Fuentes says to a sea of faces who aren’t ready to say goodnight just yet.
The encore found Pierce The Veil jump straight into motion with their single Circles and bring the night to a rapturous close with another crowd favourite; King For A Day. In all my experience of going to live gigs, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the crowd overpower the band and sing as loud as I did in that moment: A beautiful end to an incredible night.
“I promise we won’t take 500 years to come back again” Fuentes assures the crowd. We hope so too, Vic. We hope so too.