It was a busy Thursday night in Melbourne as I jumped in the line forming outside Max Watts to see Japan’s finest metal band, Loudness perform for the first time ever in Australia. It is never lost on me the lengths that overseas bands will go to play for us so I for one was more than ready to take on a night of metal mayhem.
Opening the nights’ proceedings was Melbourne based thrash band Envenomed. I have seen these guys before in support slots and they always do a great job to warm up the punters. They gave us a set of six including Burn The Sun, Disobey The Beast and Within Me. Two of the four members chose to go shirtless and given the outside temperature I did think it was a tad ambitious, but they were sweating it up in no time. I loved their cover of the Skyhooks classic Horror Movie which closed out the set. It was full of timing changes and heavy beats and it was a perfect tune to get the crowd singing along.
On the back on Envenomed it was time for Espionage to hit the stage, also based in Melbourne it was power metal to the max. Drummer James Shelverton burst on the stage to pump us up (also following along with the shirtless theme) as lead vocalist and bass player Andrew ‘Frosty’ Morris launched into Lightspeed. With flaxen locks that rivalled Rapunzel, he belted out the lyrics with a big voice and an even bigger range. Denis Sudzuka who many of you may know from The Hard Rock Show filled the lead guitarist spot and while he is known to clown around a bit on the show it was all business on the stage. His shredding skills were sensational and backing vocals were the perfect fit for the fast-flowing songs as Nightmare, High Riser and Hellfire made it into the mix. Matt Carroll finished out the foursome on rhythm guitar keeping the sound tight from start to finish. I must mention that if head spinning was an Olympic sport, drummer James would have taken out the gold! He had his hair flying from start to finish but still drummed like a demon. They have a few upcoming gigs so get on it people and support our local lads, you will be glad you did.
The crowd had expanded as time drew closer to the main event, Loudness T-shirts and sweatbands as far as the eye could see. Even a few Japanese flags as the fans represented the red and white with gusto. Highway To Hell was turned up to eleven as the place starting pulsing, and the pocket rockets we call Loudness blasted onto the stage. Crazy Nights was the opener, and didn’t we love it! The fans losing their minds, headbanging and singing full force as the Japanese juggernauts smashed out Like Hell and Heavy Chains. Akira Takasaki was blisteringly brilliant on lead guitar his tone was incredible and musicianship amazing. All the members were extremely engaging with the fans and I was happily surprised when bass player Masayoshi Yamashita gave me the eye and hand-delivered a pick straight to me. Masayoshi has been part of Loudness since their inception and was extremely comfortable slapping the bass, he worked the stage with ease and was having a lot of fun with smiles a plenty over the course of the night.
It was a set of fifteen songs, Let It Go was a definite fan favourite together with We Could Be Together and Soul On Fire. Minoru Niihara had the energy of a man half his age, zipping around the stage with his sunglasses on looking rather cool as he belted out song after song. I do believe he may be battling a cold, but it did not hinder his singing one bit, he still hit the high notes and delivered every song with enthusiasm, relishing his time on the stage. The fans on the barrier were also looking for a placing in the medals for headbanging with flowing manes flicking as they indulged in some timely headbanging, and let’s face it who wouldn’t? It was Loudness and as the name indicates they were bloody loud! With drummer Masayuki Suzuki suffering a stroke in 2018 it was left to Ryuichi Nishida to fill the spot and he did a stellar job. He beat the skins like a man possessed and gave us a kick arse solo that we all revelled in. Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsy, This Lonely Heart and Crazy Doctor were a few more that the guys ripped out over the night, finishing with S.D.I. which put the punters into a frenzy, fists punching the air and sweat flying.
With bows and waves of thanks, the night was over, a few anticipated an encore, but it wasn’t to be. Loudness brought their A game, it was a night of heavy metal at its finest, with nonstop energy and a set list of music that spanned decades. They came, they saw, and they kicked our arses, and I’m so glad they did!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale