PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY MICHAEL GODDARD (MICKG PHOTOGRAPHY)
Aside from having some of the best acoustics of any venue in Melbourne, The Forum is also a favourite for the fantastic snake of fans that lines the front steps and travels up the iconic Hosier Lane. Sunday night was no different with AFI fans representing early, for was stacking up to be a great show, on this their ‘The Blood Tour’
AFI (A Fire Inside) have been a stalwart of the punk rock/alternative rock/post hardcore/emo type genres since 1991 and have managed to maintain the same line up for most of their existence. With a large worldwide following spanning across multiple age groups, it is no wonder their shows are jam packed.
Having produced ten studio albums, 10 EP’s and a live album, there is definitely no resting on their laurels.
Whilst their more mainstream following did not come about until after their 2003 release Sing The Sorrow, it becomes very apparent when you listen to some of their very early material, compared to more recent material that they have grown significantly as a band. Maturity and technique being much more refined. Davey Havok has one of the most unique voices of his time and uses it to within it’s full capabilities.
For tonight’s performance they are being supported by two bands, the first being Introvert from Newcastle NSW.
My initial thoughts on this band, whom I had not been familiar, was that their vocals sounded a tad flat in tone, but as they progress through their short set it became apparent that it simply was just their sound. Musically quite tight, they were at least able to get the attention of the crowds flowing into the venue. Dropping several hints along the way for the crowds to head to the merch stand to see what they had on offer.
Second support for the night were a five piece outfit from England called Basement. And while I had heard of them before, I could not say that I had listened to much of their material. From the get-go however I found them to have a really appealing sound and the vocals were on point. With huge amounts of energy being injected into their performance, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed their set. Having toured here a number of times previously, they have gained a decent following, and spoke fondly of enjoying being back in Melbourne. The set finished leaving me wanting to immediately find more of their music to add to my collection.
As with most bands of this genre, there is usually so much energy on stage that you have to feel for the photographers in the pit, as they jostle to get the best action shots they possibly can.
With brilliant lighting that did not disappoint, it was straight into ‘Girl’s Not Grey’, ‘17Crimes’ and ‘Beautiful Thieves’ with Davey Havok leaping and running from each side of the stage. Keeping the in between moments fairly banter free, they continued along into ‘This Celluloid Dream’, ‘Paper Airplanes’ and ‘So Beneath You’.
With Hunter Burgan on bass, and Jade Puget on guitar exerting just as much energy, it was certainly one of the most high octane shows I have been to in some time. They crowd was lively and bouncing across the Forum floor, with many riding hands. They were also in fine form vocally with every song being sung loud and proud.
For me, being the first time actually seeing AFI, I found myself really enjoying it, and had to remind myself regularly that I should be taking mental notes along the way to relay. However, it was too easy to get lost in the performance as it was so good.
Throwing up tracks like ‘The Despair Factor’, ‘Morningstar’, ‘The Days of Phoenix’ and ‘Snow Cats’ continually seemed to be giving the fans exactly what they wanted as they only seemed to get more and more pumped up as the set went on.
“Love Like Winter’, ‘Feed from The Floor’ and ‘Silver And Cold’ were definitely received with a rousing welcome, as was ‘I Hope You Suffer’ which closed the main part of the set.
It was a very short break before the encore, which saw two of their best songs, ‘This Time Imperfect’ and the ultimate closer, ‘Miss Murder’ complete their night at the Forum.
As the sweat soaked bodies started to filter up from the front of house, it was evident that there had been a good time had by all in attendance. Nothing says ”Hell yeah what a show” more than being dripping wet, pumped and thoroughly exhausted at its conclusion.
While prior to the show I had only been a moderate fan, I can honestly say that the performance given, would definitely give rise to me investing in more music from these solid, hard rocking guys. And even though they have been around quite some time, I would like to hope they will continue to pull out shows like this one, and return to our shores soon.
Next time I would like to experience it from closer to the pit in order to really absorb that infectious energy that both the band and the crowd bounced off one another.
Review Contributed by Jodi Marino
Full Gallery by Matt Allan can be found below
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED MATT ALLAN
Not long now until the infectious heavy pop rock alchemy of DON BROCO hit out shores! Casper took time out to have a chat with guitarist Simon Delaney about everything DON BROCO. You can hear the full interview below.
If you’re looking for sing-a-long summer floor filling anthems, more swagger than Jay Z and infectious pop rock alchemy then DON BROCO is your new favourite band!!
DON BROCO are quite clearly aiming for the stars leaving a trail of sold out venues in the UK in their wake. In November this year they will headline a 10,000 capacity venue in London but Australian fans will get to witness their bombastic live show for the very first time this December in intimate surroundings.
To say DON BROCO is excited is a massive understatement and lead singer Bobby can’t contain his excitement…”STRAYA! We’re coming for you harder than Borry after 5 points of speed on a 40 hour run. As our good mate Johnny Depp informed us, your country is a ‘treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people’ and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves. Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney we’ll see you in December! “
Tickets on sale NOW
Thursday 7 December – The Brightside, Brisbane – 18+
Friday 8 December – Corner Hotel, Melbourne – 18+
Sunday 10 December – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 18+
Review Cassandra Hale
The Doobie Brothers’ debut self titled album was released in 1971, which coincidentally is the same year I was born. It is hard to believe this ridiculously tight unit have been playing their sensational tunes for 45 years and still sound as fresh as a daisy today. Jesus is Just Alright opened the night with a bang, and they were off and Rockin’ Down the Highway much to the delight of the cheering fans. While it was not a rowdy crowd, it was a very appreciative one, thoroughly enjoying the music many of them had grown up with.
The set list of 16 was the perfect length and mix of their back catalogue, including Takin’ It To The Streets, Music is the Doctor, Black Water and China Grove just to name a few. Their commitment to making great music covering many genres such as bluegrass, country and rock and roll is evident in every song they sing. Their enjoyment is obvious which makes for a very pleasurable experience for all in the venue.
Having sold over 48 million albums worldwide is such a testament to this band which has stood the test of time, being no mean feat in todays music climate. The harmonies were brilliant and musically they were faultless, with a sax solo that had to be seen to be believed. Truly a delight to every ones ears, we knew it couldn’t go on forever but we were all hopeful for a few more.
After a brief exit the boys were back doing what they do best, keeping everyone rocking the night away with Without You. Of course the night would not be complete without the classic Listen to the Music, and what a finisher it was! Everyone was up and dancing, enjoying a sing-a-long with these ‘too cool for school’ performers. I must admit I was sad it was over and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
It was certainly a much more dynamic stage setup for Santana, with his entourage of drummers and percussionists a sight to behold. I was immediately struck by Santana’s low key approach to his music. Whilst he might be maestro of his trade you would never now it, so very humble and just enjoying himself without being showy or arrogant. His unique wailing rang out for all to enjoy with a fantastic choice of songs including Maria Maria, Foo Foo and A Love Supreme to warm up the adoring fans. Then it was time to sail away with Orinoco Flow, I absolutely loved this rocked up version and it seemed to be enjoyed by all.
Santana’s choice of singers was spot on, this dynamic duo sang the night away as well as keeping all the additional percussion instruments covered. One half of this duo, Ray Greene was exceptional, but not just his voice, his trombone skills were exceptional, and I must add he was clearly a doppelganger for Seal, and had the voice to match.
I loved the interaction and brief chats with the captivated audience. Santana’s message was one of love and beauty and a hope to change the world with people power, which was a welcome change and kept to the spiritual theme of the night. The classic Santana sound was almost mesmerising and one could not help but sway in your seat with a little shoulder shimmy thrown in for good measure.
The Zombies cover She’s Not There, followed up by Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone were a fantastic combination and at times it was hard to determine the end and beginning of songs as they just flowed into one another with ease. With only a few solos of his own it was evident that it was not the Carlos Santana show but a group effort from all on stage and it worked perfectly. There was not a lot of guitar changes with Santana favouring his signature PRS Goldtop for the duration of the show, and while we all knew this man could play, to see it in the flesh was sensational.
Black Magic Woman brought everyone to their feet, dancing in their seats, singing along hoping to hold onto this amazing spectacle for as long as they could. After a few more songs it was time for the drum/percussion solos, and they blew it right out of the arena. Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman Santana was a machine and I was surprised to see her kit still standing at what can only be described as a total assault to your senses and your ear drums!
While Smooth may have been lacking the vocals of Rob Thomas, this was no cause for concern, the singers were fabulous and the song was a sensational way to see out the night. Love, Peace and Happiness ended it all, and I think it was Santana’s intention for us all to take these three simple things away with us and hopefully make the world a better place. With just a quick wave goodbye the two hour show was over, but I can assure you not one fan left disappointed.
Review Cassandra Hale
It was evident the bedazzlers had been in overdrive leading up to the Dixie Chicks sold out shows at Rod Laver Arena. With no rhinestone left unturned the hoards boot scooted their way down Batman Avenue for a night of country tunes with this terrific trio.
Avalanche City hailing from New Zealand was the warm up to get the nights proceedings underway. Dave Baxter has had huge success in his homeland and showed us why he has several number one hits in the New Zealand charts with songs such as Love, Love, Love and Inside Out. A solid 45 minute set was enjoyed by all. I don’t think he had the lighting he deserved, and I found it difficult to see the band for quite a bit of their performance.
A disclaimer was read several times on entry to Rod Laver Arena stating the show was being filmed for a DVD, which answered a few questions as to why the roadies were wearing surgical booties, clearly they were keeping the stage super clean for the DVD footage. Michael Chugg even graced the stage reminding us yet again that we were being recorded. With all the housekeeping taken care of it was time to get on with the show.
Due to the filming the house lights were not dropped which I did not like, but it didn’t seem to worry the fans too much. Let’s Go Crazy by Prince rang out which built the anticipation a notch or two until it was finally time for the Dixie Chicks to take the stage.
Opening with The Long Way Around to thunderous applause the Dixie Chicks were off and running in what would be a huge two hour show filled with plenty of hits to keep everyone satisfied. Some Days You Gotta Dance did just that and everyone was on there feet enjoying the spectacle. With a stage of all black and white and outfits to match the Chicks looked pristine and all class as they played their hearts out to the adoring fans. A beautiful tribute to Prince with Nothing Compares to You brought tears to many an eye, the man himself would have been proud, they did an amazing job.
Taking the show down to stools and minimal instruments in front of a curtain at the front of the stage was a nice touch, it gave an intimacy that we are not often shown in big stage shows. The girls had changed their clothes from ‘black and white’ to ‘white and black’ keeping in the theme of the night. Their bluegrass roots shone through during this set and it was a part of the show I really enjoyed. Travelin’ Soldier, Don’t Let Me Die in Florida and Daddy Lessons were a few played before the girls did a cracker of a bluegrass instrumental. The musical talent these three have is evident in every song they played and Natalie’s voice was pitch perfect in every word she sang. It was wonderful to see that three of the backing band hail from Australia, a real credit to them, and not too shabby to put on your resume.
Back to the main stage and the floor that was black was now white, still fitting in with the colour free theme. Ready to Run was fabulous and clearly a fan favourite, finishing with confetti cannons from all corners of Rod Laver Arena. The variety of cowboy boots on display was fascinating, fringes adorned every second person in some way shape or form, as did the cowboy hats and I think there might have been a sale on pink ones as they were the choice of many.
The Fleetwood Mac cover of Landslide was beautifully performed, backed up with Cowboy Take Me Away, Wide Open Spaces and Sin Wagon to finish out the set.
I can’t recall exactly what song it was but I believe it may have been Sin Wagon when the square dancing ensued on the floor, the camera man made a mad dash to film it, so there is no doubt it will make the DVD. Well done to the participants you dosey doe’d quite unlike anyone I have seen before!
A brief moment or two and it was into the encore, Not Ready to Make Nice had this country loving crowd kicking up their heels and eager for one more. A cover of Ben Harper’s Better Way rained out giving the fans the chant they had been waiting for. They sang back with gusto, loving every minute. The two hours flew by but I am sure many will be back for the second show on Sunday night.
While my hat may not be of the cowboy variety, I would still take it off and say job well done, a very entertaining show!
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JOHN RAPTIS PHOTOGRAPHY