Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
The lines of people zigzagged across the front of the newly appointed Rod Laver Arena, the turn out was of massive proportions and it was no doubt that the show was going to be full to the brim. With a musical career spanning 20 years, John Mayer has certainly amassed an army of fans, with every second one wearing a newly purchased t-shirt from the large variety available at the merch stalls.
The stage was set with a tie-dyed backdrop and side screens for the fans in the upper levels, with risers for the percussionist, drummer, keyboards and backing vocalists. I liked the use of the height giving everyone a terrific view of the whole band. As expected, the arena was packed solid, and as the lights dropped the fans let out yelps and screams of excitement, the electricity running through the venue was immediate as the main man took to the stage. Opening the nights’ proceedings with Queen of California, I Guess I Just Feel Like and Heartbreak Warfare the show was off and running and John settled into his rhythm. Looking extremely relaxed in cargos and a short sleeve sweatshirt, John was dressed for comfort feeling quite at home on the stage, never mind the thousands of eyes on him.
John’s musicianship was extraordinary, his nimble fingers working the strings with ease, while I have always associated guitars with John Mayer, I had no idea the extent of his playing. I was left with my jaw on the floor at how brilliant he was, with more guitar changes over the evening than I’ve had hot dinners his techs certainly earnt their coin as they raced to keep the glorious tunes flowing. With the show split over two sets the first half was made up of ten songs, including Waiting On The Day, Something Like Olivia and Love On The Weekend. John’s colourful trainers seemed to be infused with air as he bounced on the spot as he played, never missing a beat totally in tune with his music. He also gave us some insight into a time when he ‘lost himself’ for a year or two, moving incognito with the addition of weight, layers, long hair and stubble. Which lead to Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey a song he wrote during this time in his life. The audience lapped it up enjoying the personal touch to the song and a bit of back history about it. No Such Thing had us singing along in unison, a popular tune that the whole arena knew. Clarity and the mega-hit Waiting On The World To Change saw out the first set to huge applause giving John and his exceptional band time to catch their breath.
With a brief interval of 25 minutes John returned to the stage solo as he played a few acoustic songs, once again tantalising us with his dazzling brilliance on the guitar playing In Your Atmosphere, a lovely cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire, the ever-popular Daughters and Neon which to my delight including a snippet of Toms Diner by Suzanne Vega.
The full band returned to the stage to deliver New Light which had us all bopping with some tasty licks and colourful lighting, it was the most upbeat tune of the night and the crowd loved it. Love Is A Verb, Rosie and Edge Of Desire was a winning trifecta as they powered through the songs. John was extremely engaging with the audience, happy for a bit of banter and plenty of intelligent humour which gave us all a giggle. With a frontman as captivating as Mr Mayer it was hard to give the band my full attention, but they were tight all night, giving us some blistering solos and powerful singing to accompany the huge setlist. Kudos to you all you were fantastic. In The Blood was a fabulous addition to the growing amount of hits as was Slow Dancing In A Burning Room. John’s voice like liquid silk, the beautiful lyrics rolling off his tongue with ease. His ‘guitar face’ was sensational, rapidly changing depending on how deep his playing went, his guitar became an extension of his body the two merging to become one. It was a joy to watch him play and the fans were loving every second, handing out huge applause after every solo. Openly discussing a world that is haunted by worry and anxiety, he played The Age Of Worry and Belief which saw out the second set.
After a quick departure from the stage, John and band returned to play out the night with Born And Raised and Gravity. Much to the dismay of the Brisbane fans Gravity didn’t make the setlist for their show so it was live-streamed on Instagram to appease them. A mistake I’m sure will not be made again, the fans speak in volumes hence the quick-fire remedy via social media. Gravity was the perfect finisher to showcase John’s talents, leaving space perfectly, never busy or rushed with his playing, a true professional from going to woe. He was gracious to his fans, with thanks aplenty and his parting words “I’m still John Mayer because you let me be!” a beautiful statement letting the fans know how much they are appreciated. John Mayer a true gentleman right to his last words.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
I am in constant awe of what the Cavalera brothers produce music wise but this reaches another level when one is witness to the enthusiasm and determination to keep some of their finest creations alive and breathing. Despite having long stepped from the band under whose banner the ‘Beneath The Remains’ and ‘Arise’ appear, I firmly believe that many musicians should take a leaf from the Calavera metal manuscript in continuing the celebration of genuinely great albums and ensuring their ongoing reign. In Melbourne this evening I am thrilled and delighted that so many others are evidently of the same belief as the sold-out show begins to take shape.
I must admit that I have been busting to see Melbourne lads Primitive ever since the Black Blood official music video saw me falling off my chair in enthusiasm and as it turns out they were the perfect choice to open this sold out experience. A few sound issues, which would be minor to mast, proved a little frustrating for me personally because the band were on fire, but there were some difficulties in showing their full capability in being represented as ferociously as the group performed. Primitive were on fire and with the Cavalera legends listening in from back stage, what possible prompt could a metal group need to convey their very finest. But watch out world because this mighty metal outfit is only just getting started. For now, get hold of their self-titled EP and crank it to eleven. You wont be disappointed.
Onward to the main event and I freely confess that a unique feeling of genuine excitement fills my soul every single time Max Cavalera takes to that stage, so if you read on in hope of a balanced and objective review, please don’t risk disappointment by continuing. Recollections of the first Killer Be Killed performances in this same august chamber fill me with enthusiasm and the excitement doubled with Iggor at the kit is sure to result in an unapologetic, one eyed account of nothing but metal magnificence. After all, that’s what you always receive on stage from any of the Cavalera clan but the addition of, and excellent contributions from the supremely talent Marco Rizzo and Mike Leon sent that enthusiasm into the stratosphere. With the Brazilian metal patriarch strung and ‘Skullcrusher’ posed to pound us into oblivion, we are bombarded with Beneath The Remains to open a thrilling night of legendary ferocity.
Innerself, Stronger than Hate and Mass Hypnosis in order, provide something of dreamscape as the true heights of this shows significance reach their lofty heights. One truly realises the rich appeal of this performance to see these brothers performing tracks of such malevolent metal brilliance with all the passion and prowess as when they were penned either side of 1990 (Beneath the Remains in 1989 and Arise in 1991) is something astonishingly magnificent to behold.
To be perfectly honest I thought that the last performances from the pair performing the Roots anniversary shows eighteen months ago had prepared me for tonight’s ripping show but the truth is that this is an entirely different experience. With Roots released a full five years following Arise the lads were in a different space musically and the angst of the time, particularly with the Roots as Max’s last work with Sepultura, is evident when hearing the celebration of these works live. Perhaps I am alone in this but I cant help but hear the powerful metal place that Max and Iggor were in circa 1990. No creative issues, powerfully progressive and taking nothing from Roots, the enthusiasm of the era comes flooding back for me with this killer setlist. Mass Hypnosis and Dead Embryonic Cells live and in person? Good god almighty. Bucket list stuff. Some utterly superb Orgasmatron and Ace of Spades to celebrate lemmy and the legacy of motorhead is always appreciated and Troops of Doom was a most welcome follow up.
This show by Max & Iggor Cavalera is the epitome of an intimate and personal celebration of past albums and their ongoing excellence. Breathing air into a corpse or flogging a dead horse? Neeeeighhhh. This is a reminder of how brilliant music should be relived regularly and with the original master to deliver the goods, it simply doesn’t get any better. Absolutley brilliant and many thanks Max and Iggor.
Review Contributed by Casper
Just like most people here tonight and also going to the following nights sold out show, we have been waiting 6 years for this tour! Everyone who was there remembers the debacle of their Soundwave set in 2012, where the sound crew couldn’t set up the keyboards and synths in time for the show and then Dimmu Borgir played for 20 minutes. It was a shit storm. This tour has been a long time promise from the band and hot damn, did they deliver.
Earthrot from Perth are supporting the Norwegians on their Australian and New Zealand Tour and I think it’s a great fit. The 4-piece Black Thrash gives the line up a diversity in sound and stage presence. With a slow filling venue, they take to the stage, coming out to a prerecorded intro and getting straight to the point with blast beats and tremolo riffs. A huge amount of energy coming from the band, they put in the hard work and had the crowd headbanging and moshing by the end. At times I thought the mix didn’t do them the justice, the second guitar was often lost in the riffs while leadwork was being played but then their lead guitarists work was cutting through everything perfectly, whether he runs different gear, I’m not sure but these things count or are at least something to think about for different venues, sound systems and also mixers. The drummer was one of the main focuses of their performance, nearly every time there was a 4/4 rock beat being played, he was playing it standing up and revving up the crowd. Perfect for an opening act.
Tonight’s show is the first of two for Melbourne with the second being sold out. The room starts to fill up as it gets closer to the headliners start time and the anticipation is rising. The lights go down and smoke fills the stage, The Unveiling begins and the band march out to their respective spots. The atmosphere being created by their performance is incredible, the band wearing leather hoods, smoke machines working overtime and the lighting, it’s everything you could want in a Dimmu Borgir show. Shagrath slithers his way to the front from side stage, being one of the most captivating frontmen in the business, he holds the crowd’s attention for the entire show with his conductor like mannerisms.
The crowd’s energy explodes and the moshing begins and doesn’t falter until the closing song. The crowd screaming the lyrics back to Shagrath in maniacal fashion during The Chosen Legacy “IN SORTE DIABOLI” and “Share my Sacrifice” in The Serpentine Offering. Puratania incited chaos within the crowd as the opening drum beat was initiated. Screaming crowds in a whirlwind current to the misanthropic sounds of Dimmu Borgir, such a sight to behold.
The setlist was on the newer side of the fence, most likely leaving the older fans wanting but the majority of the songs come from In Sorte Diaboli onwards with the exceptions of Puratania, Progenies of the Great Apocalypse and closing song Mourning Palace.
The only shortfall of the show would be that the bassist was doing backing vocals for but for some reason, it wasn’t coming through the mix and there was a stagehand trying to get it working through the set. As is said, that was the only shortfall for their set, the playing was tight and I couldn’t stop watching the keyboardist. There were about 3 or 4 keyboards up there with him and watching him switch between them and not missing a note was amazing. Progenies and Mourning Palace were the standout songs for his performance.
On the closing notes of Mourning Palace, I couldn’t help but feel greedy and wanting more from them but it hit the Dimmu Borgir spot for now. Everything that their Soundwave show 6 years ago should have been and more. A full performance and stage show dedicated to them is what we were wanting back then and they finally delivered on their promise.
Review Contributed by Mitch Charlton
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By JOSE SANCHEZ
Steven Adler fans rejoice, he is back and showing everyone that he still bleeds Guns N’ Roses. Melbourne’s live music scene was flourishing last night with multiple gigs on offer, I was pleasantly surprised to see a long line snaking around 170 Russell, clearly Adler’s Appetite was the show of choice. DJ Cassie Walker had the tunes ripping, her head bopping as she sang along. Her song selection setting the tone for the night with plenty of old school rock tunes to whet the appetite, she did a great job getting the punters pumped and ready for the main event.
Well known Melbournite and owner of our very own Cherry Bar, James Young was our MC for the night. Decked out in an eye catching red suit and his trademark cowboy hat he took to the stage with Deanna Adler and her son Steven for a Q & A discussing Deanna’s book Sweet Child Of Mine and how Steven got his life back on track after years of addiction. It was a very candid conversation that that did not hold back on the depths of despair one must face before they make the choice to take hold of their life again. Steven certainly has taken hold and then some, travelling Australia with his star-studded band to deliver the iconic Appetite for Destruction. He has a new lease on life and is enjoying it to the full not wasting one minute with his new motto ‘Hugs not Drugs’!
The drinks were flowing fast and the fans were hungry for some live music as Cassie pumped more classic rock while the stage was set. As the lights went down you felt like you were dropped back into the 80’s and looking around at the crowd, it wasn’t difficult to believe. Bandanas were worn with pride and flannel shirts tied around the waist with ease, I easily slipped back into 1987, what a great year is was to be alive.
It was showtime and you could feel a sense of nervousness amongst the crowd, would this show live up to the hype? It only took Reckless Life to put everyone’s fears to bed, it was a killer opener and everyone breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed into a night of sweaty 80’s rock of the finest calibre. It’s So Easy, Nightrain and Mr Brownstone a winning trifecta to get the blood pumping. Singer extraordinaire Constantine Maroulis channelled his inner Axl with ease and was a fabulous choice for lead vocalist. His history of musical theatre showed through on many occasion, add to this his crazy eyes and undying energy and you have the perfect frontman. The rear screen alight with Adler’s Appetite in bold red was well used over the course of the evening. Running clips and video, with some quite interesting footage which added another level of depth to the show.
Gun guitarist Michael Thomas has been playing with Adler’s Appetite from its inception. His scintillating shredding skills and stamina were exemplary, he left nothing in the tank and gave the fans exactly what they came for. My Michelle had the girls fired up and then Sweet Child O’ Mine took it to a whole new level of crazy. The sing-a-long of ‘Where Do We Go Now’ reaching fever pitch, the fans revelling in the brilliance of one of the albums biggest hits. Anything Goes and Think About You slotted in perfectly before Civil War. Constantine channelling his inner angst and belting out this heartfelt song with the passion it so deserved. Sean McNabb of Dokken fame wasn’t just slapping the bass he was destroying it, his solo was unexpected but boy was it great. It was brilliant to see him step into the limelight, he was rewarded with a huge applause that opened into the man we were all here to see, Steven Adler.
Is there a drummer happier than Steven Adler? I don’t believe so, with a smile was plastered on his face for the entire night, it was infectious to all watching. He is loving what he is doing and he is doing it amazingly well. His skin hitting was fierce, his kit sounded amazing, as did the sound over the whole evening. His skills as a musician have only become more refined over time and his solo was a showcase of his amazing talent, the fans hanging on every beat spellbound for its duration.
Carl Restivo was the glue holding this tight knit unit together on rhythm guitar, his history in the industry too long to mention, he has written songs with the likes of Nuno Bettencourt and played with Extreme, Dave Navarro, Ben Harper and Billy Idol to name a few. The musical talent between these bands members was astronomically high, and it was such a pleasure to watch them all fuse together to become Adler’s Appetite.
You Could Be Mine and Rocket Queen saw out the set the fans dripping sweat by this stage but still eager for more, and knowing the album backwards we were certain they would be back with a few more. Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City had the hoards losing their minds jumping and singing loud enough to raise the roof. It was the perfect ending to a sensational night of good old-fashioned rock of the highest nature and I envy Sydneysiders who get to witness it tonight.
The floor was awash with empties as I peeled my boots from the sticky floor, evidence of a night well spent, enjoying the songs of our youth. Did I feel young again? Absolutely, I was transported back to a time when my only worry was what record to put on next, happy days!! Thank you Adler’s Appetite for the fabulous memories and a most unforgettable show. You have certainly worked up our appetite and left us hungry for more, until next time!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JAIDYN HALE
I kind of skirt round the edges of Metal and dip my toe in every now and then. I love Metallica (who doesn’t?), like a bit of Sabbath, Slip Knot and dabble in Nu Metal (Avenged Sevenfold, Tremonti, Sevendust. That kind of stuff). So when asked to review Sepultura, it was going to be a wee bit outside of my comfort zone. I had to borrow a suitable T-shirt from my other half to “blend in”. “That’s going to be a sausage fest” he says. Come to Mama, I say.
So sausages are not the only reason I am here at 170 Russell on a Tuesday night. I love a rock crowd but a metal crowd is better. The passion, the absolute commitment to the music, the good natured violence of the mosh pit. It is (usually) the friendliest place to smack someone you will find and my second favourite place to enjoy the sound of male flesh bashing together (after a seat on the boundary at the MCG. If you were thinking anything else, shame on you). You know you are at a metal gig when they guy in front of you in the queue has his glasses tied onto his head. The age of a lot lining up is a reflection of Sepultura’s long career. Now, inside Billboards (sorry, 170 Russell), it’s so dark I can’t make out features, only dark shapes waiting expectantly and a very long line at the Merch table. Another reason why I love metal fans; they support their bands with their wallets.
Opening tonight are Harlott, a foursome of local Melbourne boys who have been playing the Melbourne metal scene since 2006. They take the stage unceremoniously and with a thumbs up all round, they gather around the drummer and off we go. The music and lyrics come fast and furious and I can feel the bass in the air. Bass player, Tom Richards is a giant. His fingers are an absolute blur on the strings and up and down the fret board and as the set goes on, he is often seen shaking out his hands and I’m not surprised. That’s gotta hurt.
On stage right, the more diminutive Jake Weber has some very impressive lead skills and the fast and furious shredding is interposed with some awesome solos and at times, some Maidenesque duelling guitars between himself, and guitarist and lead singer, Andy Hudson. Hudson’s vocals are reminiscent of Bon Scott (if a 70’s AC/DC played Thrash, that is). They indulge in some dramatic, slower head banging intervals before returning to Carpal Tunnel inducing Speed Metal with Tim Joyce on drums handling the tempo changes with ease. For me, a very solid introduction to live Thrash.
Up next is Death Angel. This band has a really interesting history. After forming in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 80’s and being stalwarts of that iconic Thrash scene, they stopped playing in 1991 after the then drummer was injured in a tour bus accident. They reformed in 2001 with some line up changes and have been playing ever since. With 2 members from the original line up still on board, Rob Cavestany on lead and Mark Osegueda on vocals, I am amazed how good these guys look. 35 years on the road has got to take its’ toll but they are wearing very well and more than that, still playing with admirable passion and enthusiasm. Mark Osegueda has an awesome stage presence (perhaps fueled by the bottle of Jaeger he kept swigging on) and along with Damien Sisson on bass who engaged the crowd better than any guitarist I have seen for a long time (and the most beautiful hair that I would pay money to run my fingers through), they were hugely entertaining. “Are you ready to celebrate music? Are you ready to celebrate metal?” Osegueda taunted the crowd into getting going. “Show me you’re at a metal show. Don’t give the security guys the night off.” And the pit obliged.
As a warm up act, Death Angel could not be beaten and by the end of their set, the crowd were well
and truly warm and I was wondering if they might have just blown Sepultura off the stage with their class act and music which was the perfect blend between Thrash, and more classic metal. I would definitely go and see them again and hopefully, on a headlining show. They certainly deserve that, as do their Aussie fans (hint hint, guys).
I am very curious to see what these giants of Thrash who are known for fusing Brazilian rhythms into their songs have to offer. Musically, Sepultura has got it all happening. The fastest double kick drum I’ve heard laid down by drummer Eloy Casagrande, the new boy in the outfit, joining the long standing line up in 2011. Blistering lead guitar courtesy of Andreas Kisser, a veteran of the band of some 31 years. The kind of bass playing that young metal players aspire to from Paulo Jr; fast, loud and heavy. And then there is Derrick Green’s vocals. A demonic growl that must come from somewhere between his right testicle and small intestine. This is where my comfort zone ends. I am a big fan of the male voice, but I struggle with vocals like this. But I am desperate to be converted so bring it on boys.
As Sepultura take the stage, I am struck by what an imposing figure Derrick Green cuts. Very tall with muscular, tattooed arms in a black cut off T-shirt. The physique seems to match the voice and at times during the show, a wide eyed stare made him look (as well as sound) demonic. There is no doubt that if Lucifer ever needs a voice coach, he would call on Derrick before anyone else. He struts the front of the stage, the mike cord wrapped around his hand, with the confidence of a man who knows he’s good at what he does and as this tour celebrates his 20 year anniversary with the band, he has every right to feel a big part of the history of Sepultura.
They open with I am the Enemy from their new release Machine Messiah. This song takes no prisoners and is fast and furious. It sets the pit off nicely and the horns are in the air all over the venue. With incredibly fast drums and bass before a hypnotic head banging interlude and killer shred opportunity for Andreas Kisser to take center stage. It might not be familiar to the older school fans, but it is received well and sets the tone for the set.
Playing in album order for now, the next track Phantom Self includes some of the Brazilian rhythms that Sepultura skillfully weave into their music. The album version of this song contains some amazing instrumental parts mixed in for a very unique sound.
I am absolutely blown away by Andreas Kisser’s playing. As a big fan of Mark Tremonti, I love a shredder and this guy is amazing (and he does it without the faces). He steps to the front for his solo and absolutely owns that stage for a minute or so. With hair that probably hasn’t been cut since the 70’s and a huge smile on his face, he looks like a man who enjoys his craft and clearly the fans do too as they are lapping it all up.
Paulo Jr on the other hand seems happy to stay more in the background and concentrate on providing what is the core of metal music, the Thunder! As an original member of the band, he’s been around a time or two and in him, I can see what Robert Trujillo might look like in 20 years.
I am mesmerised by the playing of Eloy Casagrande on drums. I am convinced that his drum kit must be screwed to the riser to stop it flying off mid song. He hits harder than I have ever seen. And Thrash has complicated rhythms with unusual and changing time signatures all over the place; a challenge for any drummer. I’m sure that at the end of every show he must feel like he has sprinted a marathon distance. I can see his legs going hell for leather with the double kick bass. My new favourite drummer, me thinks.
They are clearly pushing the new album hard on this tour with 5 tracks in the set. The highlight for me was the appearance of an acoustic guitar on a stand for the instrumental Iceberg Dances. This song showcases the amazing musicianship of these 3 guys. Especially with a middle piece with flamenco guitar played brilliantly by Kisser before reverting back to old school Thrash. Love It.
“Are there any old school Sepultura fans in tonight?” asks Green. Before Andreas teases the fans playing intros to several older songs that get a huge reaction from the crowd, before playing the full version of Arise from their 1991 album of the same name.
Clearly not a band to milk the “one more song” encore thing, they leave the stage very briefly before a 3 song encore. Resistant Parasites, Ratamanata which gives Green a chance to add to the drum sound on a large drum at centre stage and Roots, Bloody Roots to finish the set. The pit seems happy and I’m sure the bouncers in front of the stage are relieved. They are sent off with another full room horns salute.
So, am I a Sepultura convert? I still don’t think I will be buying an album anytime soon, but I am full of admiration for their professionalism and musicianship. It was a great show and the long standing fans like the guy standing next to me who said he last saw them 25 years ago, seemed happy that they had got their money’s worth.
Review Contributed by Wendy Smith