Review Nisa Ates
Although it’s nearly a year since its release, Sydney band Hellions have finally taken their third album Opera Oblivia on a highly anticipated run of headlining dates across the country.
With a promising lineup, the tour was met with utmost enthusiasm and Melbourne’s show at the Corner Hotel on May 20th sold out – resulting in a full capacity of excited punters for what was to come.
Kicking things off for the night were Introvert from Newcastle. Being the first act of the night, it’s usually daunting playing to a near empty venue early into the night. This didn’t phase the four-piece band at all however and they delivered a tight set without hiccups. “If you know the words, sing along. If you don’t, sing along anyway. Let’s just have some fun” vocalist Audie Franks said with a smile, and fun was most definitely had. The band were comfortable on stage, sharing banter with the crowd in between songs and playing to their strengths of good, clean music. The band has a sense of confidence in them that aided their reception from punters, their down-to-earth persona shining through in their stage presence. Some in the crowd did know the words and sang along, those like me who didn’t, embraced the music anyway and the band left the stage right as I was getting really into them, having warmed up the crowd and leaving us itching for more.
A warm and inviting atmosphere filled the walls of the Corner Hotel with many people mingling between sets. A lot of familiar faces surrounded me but even those unfamiliar to me were welcoming and sharing their excitement in the night ahead of us.
Up next was Brisbane’s The Brave, who straight up delivered a set worthy of being the headlining act – a theme that would continue on until the actual headlining act would take to the stage. Immediately noticeable was the intense confidence and charisma that vocalist Nathan Toussaint possessed, the band played loud and frantic and got the first intense movement in the pit going for the crowd. Playing an array of songs that were without a doubt known by most of the crowd, bodies began climbing over each other as Toussaint moved into the crowd, sharing an intimate moment with fans screaming his words back to him.
Endless Heights were the final supporting acts on the lineup and by this point in the night, punters were sweaty, pumped and ready for what would be thrown next at us. The band, who also hails from Sydney, effortlessly kept up the frantic energy those prior had built up. Thrashing around without missing a beat, Endless Heights, worked their way through their set with utmost passion and enthusiasm. The band announced that new music is heading our way soon and welcomed Sam Bassal from Ocean Grove to step in and help play the drums on their brand new track ‘You Coward’. The song itself is as punchy and frantic as the band exhibits themselves to be, it’s without question we’ll be seeing more of the band in coming months.
Having moved around the venue throughout the night, I decided to make my way as close to the front as possible before Hellions took to the stage. As the thick, rich, red curtains masked the stage, the chatter of excitement grew louder and fans grew antsy.
Almost exactly on the dot to their scheduled time, Hellions emerged onto the darkened stage to thunderous cheers, jumping right into motion with their hit ‘24’. Halfway through the song, the band quietens with just the drums keeping beat as the chorus comes in again and vocalist Dre Faivre steps back, a roaring sing-along washes over him “We are born and raised as cattle to be the same/But we are not the same, we have to change/And if we don’t, we’ll suffocate”. He smiles as the sold out Corner Hotel overpowers him, a feat that’s met many times in their hour-long set.
The band delivered a set of songs to please everyone; working their way through most of Opera Oblivia, including ‘Nightliner Rhapsody’, ‘Bad Way’ and ‘He Without Sin i)’, while also throwing in older songs like ‘22’, ‘Nottingham’ and ‘Creasy i) Styrofoam Lungs’ that kept the crowd-surfers coming with brute force.
The momentum knew not of stopping – crowd favourites ‘Lotus Eater’ and ‘Thresher’ were met with a deafening sing-along response, bringing Hellions’ set to blazing close. The lights dim, the last note is strummed, the final cymbal crash rings out. But before Dre and co. can even leave the stage, the crowd is already chanting furiously “One more song! One more song!”.
Within seconds of leaving the stage, the band reappeared to a joyous crowd, promising to deliver one final song to quench our thirsts. That final song happened to be one of their most popular and well-received tracks, ‘Quality of Life’. As if the journey leading up to that very moment wasn’t chaotic enough, bodies slam, punters surf over the barricade (one even accidentally kicking my phone out of my hands) and throats are left raw as each person screams along to every last word.
The Corner Hotel was sold out for damn good reason, with Hellions putting on a crazy good show that was purely good vibes and even better music. With a killer lineup to support them, the Opera Oblivia tour perfectly showcased some of the best music the Australian hardcore scene has to offer – and we’re bloody here for it.