[LIVE REVIEW] Opeth w/ Caligula’s Horse @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 8/02/2017

Review Cassandra Hale

As I turned into Russell Street the temperature clicked over to 38 degrees and all I could think was how hot it would be in 170 Russell, it is a terrific venue to see bands up close but is definitely not known for its ventilation! My assumptions were proven to be correct and by the close of proceedings it was stifling. The line of ‘mature’ aged fans snaked across the front and around the corner of the club, everyone lining up for the precious front row, or to nab a seat, which were few and far between.

After finding what I hoped would be a safe spot to stand, Caligula’s Horse took the stage right on time to perform a short five song set. This enthusiastic band from Brisbane wowed the crowd, and I must say, me as well. I had not seen them before and was pleasantly surprised.  They were quite humbled that they were supporting their idols Opeth, stating it was fulfilling a childhood dream. Formed in 2011, and producing an album every two years since they had plenty of ammunition to warm up the metal-head army.  It was impressive to see the crowd so receptive of them, and supporting our home grown talent.

 

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Opeth, the masters of progressive metal have returned to our shores yet again following the release of their latest album Sorceress. The Sorceress World Tour even included a sold out show at the iconic Sydney Opera House to rave reviews. We can only hope that on the back of its success it will open the door for more of the same.

Playing two capacity shows in Melbourne once again confirms that we are the home of live music and a testament to heavy metals fans across Victoria.

Drinks were disappearing at a rapid rate to try and ease the oppressive heat, this definitely kicked the rowdiness levels up a notch or two. The buzz in the air was what can only be described as electric, the hum growing louder by the second as the start time approached.

To say the crowd went a little bit crazy as Opeth took the stage would be an understatement, 170 Russell erupted with screaming and metal fingers in abundance. The impressive peacock that graces the cover of the new album Sorceress was a majestic backdrop as the boys launched into the title track of the album.  Heads were banging on autopilot, some more enthusiastic than others but all nodding none the less. I was shocked by the amount of tall people or maybe it was just the size of their hair that had me dodging to get a clear view.

Opeth has a style all of their own and while many have tried to replicate it, none will ever take their place. The set list may only have been ten songs long, but given then length of the songs it filled the one hour and forty minutes perfectly.  Front man Mikael Akerfeldt worked the crowd amazingly, his calming voice delivering some of the wittiest one liners I have heard in a long while. His banter with the fans was fantastic, even answering a drunk question or two yelled out during the silence between songs.

 

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Faces of Melinda and Windowpane were crowd favourites, with a mosh pit forming early on in the night and ebbing and flowing depending on the song. The melodic sounds were pure perfection matched with the full on hardcore metal that they are renowned for. The Drapery Falls rang out as the last song for the night and the masses exploded, sweaty hair whipping and some pretty funky smells to match. It was clear to all in the venue that Opeth really are the Masters of their trade.

We were all hopeful for ‘one more song’ and after numerous chanting they returned for just that. As the familiar opening notes of Deliverance rang out mass hysteria ensued. The whole floor became a giant mosh pit and it was every man and woman for themselves for the final 13 minute song. Bows and promises to return finished out the night.  Opeth can only be described as polished perfection, their experience was evident in every song they sang and I can see why they are admired by so many.

As we spilled out on to Russell Street hoping for cooler air we were sadly disappointed to find it was still 30 degrees. Yes, it was stinking hot, yes, I was exhausted and, yes, I would do it all again in a heartbeat!