BRITISH INDIA announce new album ‘Forgetting The Future’ out Sept 22 & massive 32-date national tour
Review & Photos Cassandra Hale
Not for a minute did I expect the lengthy line that awaited me on my arrival at 170 Russell, but it seems that the older demographic that made up the majority of the line were ready and waiting for doors, unlike the tardiness that can become the younger fans.
Kicking off first was Melbourne based foursome, The Teskey Brothers. It was obvious from the onset that they had a large fan base all of their own, loudly singing along and enjoying the soul and blues based delights they had on offer. Crying Shame was the perfect place to start followed by new songs I Get Up and Say You’ll Do. Anyone who listens to local radio would more than likely have heard Pain and Misery as it has had some serious airplay of late. Their debut album Half Moon Harvest is selling like hot cakes and it is no surprise why after seeing their amazingly soulful performance in their short thirty minute set. If you closed your eyes during Louisa you were transported to somewhere deep down in Georgia, with Josh Teskey’s husky vocals channeling all kinds of amazing rolled into one, matched perfectly with brother Sam Teskey on guitar, Brendon Love on bass and Liam Gough on drums. When you think well, this really couldn’t get much better out comes the harmonica and Josh, a man of many talents treats us to a fabulous clap a long/harmonica solo which was absolutely captivating. Another new song Right For Me finished out the set, which I am sure all will agree was not nearly long enough. If you are yet to see The Teskey Brothers you better be quick as they are selling out every show! It is terrific to see the fans supporting our local bands, and enjoying live music as only Melbourne can offer.
Right on time which is always pleasing it was time for the main event, Rory Graham a.k.a. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. Touring on the huge success of his album Human, I was keen to see for myself if this tour would live up to expectations. I had no idea it would rise above those expectations and soar to celestial heights. From the first notes I knew it was going to be amazing, opening with St James, Wolves, No Mother, and Ego just to name a few. Singing with pure emotion it was all too clear that Rory was overwhelmed by the support from his Australian fans, this gentle giant lost for words on several occasions. Your Way and then one of Rory’s favourites The Fire followed by Hard Came The Rain, it was an abundance of beautifully written songs, leaving the fans spellbound.
I must applaud the band and back up singer, all were fabulous musicians in their own right, but having a front man like Rag ‘n’ Bone Man who demanded your full attention I felt I did not give the band the recognition they deserved. Lay My Body Down, Perfume and Life in her Yet all beautiful. Rory stating that when writing his songs he is ‘not a cheerer upper’ but his soulful delivery erases the sadness of the lyrics and leaves joy in its place. Grace, followed by Skin could tip even the most stoic person to shed a tear, these emotive lyrics buzzed through every person at the sold out show. As You Are and Guilty were next up and I was surprised at the duration of the show, it was much longer than I expected.
Human was sublime, although I expected no different after what had already been delivered. The fans loved every minute, singing passionately from the heart, no one holding back clearly taken in the moment. Bitter End and Hell Yeah bought the night to a close, and while I was really sad it was over I was truly grateful that it happened. It is a show that will hold a place in my heart for a very long time, like a big warm hug of musical brilliance.
Review Cassandra Hale
Melbourne had dealt us a freezing night but it did nothing to dissuade the middle aged rockers lining up for their night out on the town. It was a long line and I was glad I was near the front and swiftly in the doors after opening.
Melbourne’s own, Palace Of The King got the nights proceedings underway, I am lucky enough to have seen these guys before and can say they have only gone from strength to strength since then. Now a four piece outfit they are absolute professionals of their trade, keeping the revelers entertained with a 45 minute set that certainly got us warmed up. Opening with Let The Blood Run Free, there progression through their set was quick, No Chance in Hell, Another Thing Coming and Beyond The Valley were all well received by the swelling crowd. Take Your Medicine and Free finished it out to huge cheers and applause.
Drummer Travis Dragani’s chops were faultless, and for a small kit he put out some big sound, technically perfect at every turn. Not even missing a beat when he broke a drumstick or two, the close vicinity of his stick bag definitely a bonus. Sean Johnston on keys and guitar gave us a great show and proved how well you can combine the two instruments and not sacrifice any fluidity to the show, his keyboard solo amazing as he totally lost himself to the music. Bass player Anthony Licciardi Garcia treated us to a sensational solo that brought him to his knees and showed that bass players can rock a solo with the best of them. Front man Tim Henwood was outstanding, the glue that holds all these terrific musicians together. Not just a great singer, a fantastic guitar player, even giving us some fast flurries from behind his head while making it look effortless.
If you have not seen Palace Of The King before, go and do it now, support our local musicians, you will be so glad you did.
With the heat turned up a notch or two The Screaming Jets took to the stage. By now most were quite well inebriated and ready to rock, and what better band to rock with than The Screaming Jets. Dave Gleeson commands your attention from the get go, he is funny, he is rude, he is energetic, he is the penultimate front man! The set list was every fans dream pick, hit after hit roll out, Shine on, Eve Of Destruction, Helping Hand, Sad Song, the list goes on. Having a blast and loving making music is so evident watching them play, but definitely does not effect the quality of their show. It is great to see them enjoying their music so much and still out on the road after almost thirty years in the business. Dave’s antics were hilarious and kept you entertained for the whole show, never wanting to look away in case you missed something. He did touch briefly on the crisis of our Australian’s sleeping rough every night, and how we are wasting time on such trivial things in the media and doing nothing to support them, and I cant say I disagree with him. Then it was back to business and pumping out the hits, C’Mon, Shivers and of course Better, the crowd were jumping, yelling, trying to sing, it was pub rock at its hot sweaty best!
Paul Woseen gave me a giggle with his ‘Fuck off Dave’ sticker stuck on his bass, he treated us to a funky solo and it was great to see the bass player get some recognition from the crowd. Guitarists Scott and Jimi were technically perfect, enjoying every minute. Drummer Mark Draco McLeod was slaying the hell out of his kit, precision drumming at its finest.
After seeing two awesome Australian bands it was hard to believe there was still one to come, queue the Baby Animals. The one pot screamers had made their way down the front trying for a front row spot, but were quickly reminded that that doesn’t wash with the people who had to line up for the privilege, me included! The perfect opener One Word blasted out and sexy Suze and the boys were off, Ain’t Gonna Get, Painless and a lovely tribute to Suze’s late father with Backbone just to name a few.
One Too Many, was some advice that many of the fans should have taken on board, if they had one big night out a year this was definitely it! Got It Bad, Email and of course the anthems of Australian rock, Rush You and Early Warning were belted out, fans lapping them up, their voices loud in approval. There were many screams of ‘I love you Suze’ throughout the set and some even finding courage via the bottom of their beer glass to push through the fans for a sneaky hand touch with the sultry songstress.
The girl crush of many, Suze DeMarchi never fails to deliver, happy to down Coronas while performing, she is a red hot rock chick that has not just stood the test of time but has worked bloody hard to keep the Baby Animals at the top of the rock scene selling out show after show. The band are kick arse, time on the road has wearied them none, still bringing their A game to every show.
There was just enough time for two more songs, bringing what was a fabulous night of Aussie rock to an end. Dodging puddles of god knows what on the floor, I took a quick detour to the merch stand, as you do, and picked up a lovely signed Baby Animals record, which now takes pride of place next to my turntable. How awesome to see people enjoying vinyl again, there is no doubt about it vinyl just sounds better.
While there will be plenty of hangovers tomorrow, I am sure should the opportunity arise to do it all again, they would be lining up again in a heartbeat.
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SEBASTIAN MARINO
Review Jodi Marino
It may well have been a chilly winters evening in Melbourne, but when Gavin DeGraw hit the stage on Wednesday at 170 Russell, the temperature most definitely rose several degrees.
With a near capacity crowd packed in. it was a rather subdued atmosphere……that is until the house lights went down. Then there was an eruption of high pitched screams and squeals from the predominantly female audience.
Then, just as you think they can’t get any louder, out comes Gavin DeGraw, Billy Norris and Mike Baker and the noise becomes deafening.
The 40 year old New York native takes his place at the centrally positioned piano, and with a swift switch in the lighting, launches straight into ‘Chariot’ The crowd sing along in fine voice while appearing to be completely mesmerised by Gavin’s dulcet tones. Moving straight into ‘Making Love With the Radio On’, and ‘Crush/Nice to Meet You Anyway’ it was only then that he stopped to speak to the crowd and absorb the size of the audience, all smiling right back at him.
Another three songs in, and it is time for one of Gavin’s many tales, this one being about his decision and subsequent effort on writing a country and western song.
What does become apparent from the very beginning of the set was the passion with which this man sings, I mean we are talking serious goosebump material! It had fans staring starry eyed, and as he reaches down at times, to hold the hands of the devoted, almost serenading them and making it very clear of his love and appreciation of them.
And not only is Gavin a fabulously talented singer/songwriter and musician, but he is quite the funny man when retelling some of his quirky anecdotes along the way, having great delivery while keeping the tales all very relevant.
Performing a mix of old and new tunes, it was very touching to have Gavin thank some fans who had also been at the Brisbane show, for convincing him to reintroduce an older track into the set. They had been long time fans who also saw him when he was here last, about 13 years ago. At that point he vowed not to wait so long next time.
Packing in a mighty 21 songs into his set, the encore of ‘Dancing Shoes’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Be’ could only be described as amazing.
I can honestly say, that given I was one of the few in the room who did not know every word to every song, I came away feeling very satisfied, and wanting to listen to more. How could I have missed out on all this musical goodness for so long?
And much like Mr DeGraw himself, I will be back sooner rather than later to see him perform again.
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE
Review Cassandra Hale
The line that snaked around the corner of 170 Russell was long, Melbournians turning out in force to see first hand the juggernaut that is DragonForce. Imagine my surprise when bass player extraordinaire Frederic Leclercq strolled past checking out the massive line of fans braving the cold. It was a really nice surprise and a great way to start the night. After a brief wait we were in and ready to check out local band Teramaze.
The 50 minute set comprising 8 songs was soaked up by the full house, heads nodding in approval as they took flight into a progressive metal journey that left everyone spellbound. As per usual Melbourne music fans always come early to check out the support and tonight was no exception, giving Teramaze their biggest crowd to date. Front man Nathan Peachy was exceptional, his charisma oozing as he hit the high notes and had the crowds fist pumping throughout the show. I was speaking with a fan in the crowd who said he had only come for Teramaze, showing that they definitely have the following they deserve. Technically perfect, their music was melodic but still having the heavy overtone required to fit the genre. They covered songs from Esoteric Symbolism and Her Halo and finished with the 12 minute paragon An Ordinary Dream.
Teramaze had being flying below my radar up until now, but after tonight they are pinging hard demanding some more attention. An impressive unit from start to finish, I recommend getting along to see these guys, you wont regret it.
Not having seen DragonForce before I held no expectations as to how the night would unfold, but to say the crowd erupted would be an understatement, it was a full metal assault as the power metal professionals took the stage. The atmosphere was spine-chilling and you could tell the diehards had been waiting a long time to see DragonForce back in Australia. Frontman Marc Hudson welcoming us all with his best ‘Aussie’ accent and a choice Australian greeting which for the safety of young readers shall remain unsaid. Needless to say the fans revelled in it, and his Australianisms kept flowing all night. Including words like ‘tinny’ and ‘Bottle-O’ so great to see they had done their research on this fine land.
Opening with the killer song Ashes Of The Dawn the boys were off at warp speed, hands a blur as they played with precision and yet made it look like child’s play. Operation Ground and Pound followed by Judgement Day off the new album Reaching Into Infinity were up next, a mosh quickly took hold, and the energy in 170 Russell was palpable. Seasons, Heroes Of Our Time, Curse of Darkness, an awesome mix for the fans, and they wasted not one minute, fists pumping, jumping, screaming and some actually singing.
The banter and jokes between the band was hilarious and while the show was technically brilliant it really did feel like it was your mates playing up on stage, we were involved in every joke, even have a bottle of Jack Daniels passed around to the fans. Certainly not something I have ever witnessed at a gig. These guys were genuinely loving every minute, as were we, as Three Hammers and Fury Of The Storm played out to some more circle work on the floor
Drummer Gee Anzalone is an absolute machine on his kit, double bassing like a demon and giving us a tremendous solo to exhibit his skills. The duelling guitars of Herman Li and Sam Totman were nothing short of amazing, add bass player Frederic Leclercq to this equation and you have one hell of a night of metal madness. The risers on the front of the stage were a fantastic idea, especially for some of us who may be vertically challenged, we did not miss a thing as they were frequently used throughout the night. When someone’s shoe ended up on stage the chants for a ‘shoey’ rang out and while it didn’t eventuate it was pretty bloody close. Fred took to the riser with his Sonic The Hedgehog guitar and showed us he not just a master of the bass, giving us an awesome guitar sing-a-long and a sizzling shred on his Sonic. He also did not miss the opportunity to give us a little bit of the Sonic theme song much to everyone’s delight.
Heart Of A Dragon, The Edge Of The World and Cry Thunder finished up the main set list not complete without a singing competition, Melbourne up against the last two shows, Perth and Japan, and of course we won! After a minute to catch their breath the boys were back to finish off what had been an insane night of power metal with their own version of Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire, and as the name implies a circle pit ensued at rapid speed into a scorching ring of madness. There could only be one song left to make the night complete, of course it was Through The Fire And Flames, the frenzied fans went into meltdown and on Marc’s calling they surged forward to the front of the stage ready to catch him as he launched himself into the crowd. A quick surf and he was delivered safely back to the stage to finish up what was one of the most amazing shows the Melbourne metal heads have seen in a long time.
DragonForce did not just hit it for six they blew it through the roof of 170 Russell and then some. Please guys don’t leave it too long between drinks next time, there will be a bottle of Jack waiting for you!
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SEBASTIAN MARINO
Review Jodi Marino
For a lot of bands, the idea of a 20 year reunion after a 10 year hiatus, may be a little daunting. But, when you consider that Killing Heidi started when siblings Jesse and Ella Hooper were only 15 and 13 respectively, it is a reunion promising to deliver anything but old musos who have long passed their use by date.
In 1996 it was their entry innto Triple J’s Unearthed competition with the song Kettle that got them not just airplay but put them on many radars, with studio time and a debut album to ensue shortly after.
And so Reflector was born and the rest they say, is history.
So, at 34, you would expect Ella to hit the stage with grace and maturity, however instead we were treated to a super energized Ella, clad in a skin-tight sexy bodysuit which left little to the imagination and probably stirred up some envy amongst the crowd of mostly 30-50 year olds. Looking spectacular and much more akin to her 15 year old self than her current age. And whilst Jesse no longer sports the bright fire red hair, he still has the distinctive guitar prowess of days gone by.
Opening with Calm Down, the crowd who were riddled with excitement and anticipation, did the polar opposite. Keeping the energy and vibe going they went straight into I Am and Outside of Me, and it was clear that the real fans had never really gone anywhere, they had just lie dormant for a while. Tonight though, they rose and were out in force.
A change of tempo mid-set with an acoustic break, with James Gilligan (bassist) taking up duties on violin instead.
Then for something different, Want Everything, a song by The Verses, the band Jesse and Ella formed after the first incarnation of Killing Heidi disbanded. Following on from this was Monkey Mind which was a song Ella did as a solo release.
It was then that time in the set where we were taken back to what could best be described as the bands heyday.
While the majority of the crowd has been singing along through the whole set so far, now the entire room joined in and were vocally ready to lift the roof on their best known songs, Mascara and Weir.
Ella and Jesse both reiterated over and again at how much they were blown away to have sold out what they referred to as their home town show, and the smiles on band and fans alike indicated complete success of this reunion show.
A brief stage exit, and they returned for a quick 2 song encore, but not before drummer, Adam Pedretti (now playing with Melbourne’s own Cicadastone ), took to the mic to express his utmost gratitude for the fantastic reception they had been given.
All in all, I would say it has been a successful reunion, and who knows, it could well pave the way for a new Killing Heidi project……or at least we could hope!.
Review Jodi Marino
Thursday night, Melbourne was fortunate enough to be the starting point for the much anticipated first headline tour by Finnish melodic death metal giants Insomnium. And with there being a considerable following for the genre here, it seemed the perfect place to start.
With fans lining the street outside Max Watts, knowing that all three support acts were fellow Melburnians, it was destined to be a large crowd and a great start to the tour.
Opening proceedings were the five-piece, Myridian. Having been together since 2009, they are a very tight, polished outfit. Playing a selection of tunes from their catalog of two studio albums, and one EP, they showcased well the distinguishing features of the style, being fierce double kicks, beautiful guitar harmonies and some haunting keys. With a slightly more clean style of vocals, they had an appealing sound.
After so long together, it was, in fact, founding member, Scott Brierly’s farewell gig, having decided to part ways. They will, however, continue on with a pending announcement on the line-up to come.
Naberus were next on the bill, and it was clear that they had their own little niche group of followers. Vocalist James Ash, used the stage to the fullest, working the full width with a high level of energy. The backing vocals struck me as being very strong as they charged through their set. With two EP’s and two full albums under their belt since 2006, they have more than earned their supporting role.
Orpheus Omega is one of Australia’s best known melodic death metal bands, and for good reason. Having been around since 2008, they have cemented themselves as one of our premier acts, with a sizeable following both here and overseas. With three albums and an EP to choose from, their set was always going to be high energy and entertaining. With all members except drummer Matt Themelco, being forward on the stage, it creates a very in-your-face frontline that works the crowd.
As vocalist Chris Themelco tells the room they are live streaming into Hong Kong, he encourages the crowd to show what they are made of and with that, they roar and become even more frantic on the floor than they already were.
And whilst they are serious about their music, they proved that they can also have fun as they took turns at wearing a rubber chicken mask throughout their last song. It made for a light hearted close to their set.
The usual surge to the front of the room that takes place as headliners prepare to take the stage was more cordial and measured than I expected, but having said that, the level of excitement and anticipation was visible as people took to their vantage points to witness what Insomnium were about to unleash.
With the lighting super low, and a stream of blue backlights, the atmosphere created was a perfect image for what lay ahead.
With Niilo Sevänen, Markus Vanhala, and Jani Liimatainen ( filling in for Ville Friman ) lined up with their backs facing the audience, and the intro to the critically acclaimed Winters Gate playing, you know that the next 40 minutes are going to be an epic journey through the seven stages of the one song album, released last September.
To the uninitiated, a 40-minute song would seem daunting at best, however, the delivery and content keep the listener hanging on to every note and beat. The storytelling ability of this band is simply amazing.
The ridiculously awesome double kicks by Markus Hirvonen, providing the undertones for the dramatic tale unfolding, and the guitar harmonies are some of the best I have ever heard. Lifting you through the different phases of the song like a soundtrack to a movie, only there is no movie, just the story and what images the individual conjures in their mind.
In what seems like no time, the epic song is over and the band takes a small but deserved break, to return to cheers from the crowd. The atmosphere and ambiance change up a little and the faces of each member are no longer appearing as shadows in the mist, as the stage lighting becomes more traditional.
Playing a select few of their other musical masterpieces, the harmonies continue in complete synchronicity. Closing out the night with ‘While We Sleep’ from the hugely successful Shadows of the Dying Sun album, both band and fans seemed equally satisfied with the nights’ performance, almost guaranteeing that this will definitely not be last time we see Insomnium in Australia.