THE ROYAL ARTILLERY
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY TRACIE TEE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY TRACIE TEE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY OUTBACK BOB
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
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY SHANE HENDERSON
It’s been 5 years to the day (maybe one off) since the Filth has graced our shores with their presence and in that time they have released two albums, Hammer of the Witches and Cryptoriana, The Seductiveness of Decay, the latter being the reason for the tour.
Melbourne’s resident intergalactic warriors Hybrid Nightmare open tonight’s theatricals, still on a high from their first international support earlier this week with the mighty Ihsahn, frontman Loki storms the stage adorning his ceremonial outfit and raring to go. They play a tight
set keeping the crowd entertained with songs from their latest album Almagest. Hybrid Nightmare take influence musically from black and death metal, while making their influences on the stage performance obvious with the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. Although copping power issues with the bass rig they handled the upset with professionalism and continued warming up the crowd for the show to follow.
Cradle of Filth march out on stage to their intro piece for this evening and kick off into Gilded C#*t and the crowd go into a frenzy once Dani Filth jumps on stage. Tonight’s setlist is adorned with classic tracks like Dusk and her Embrace, Beneath the Howling Stars and Bathory Aria as well as playing the latest singles Heartbreak and Séance and You Will Know the Lion by his Claw. The technical issues seemed to have followed on from Hybrid Nightmares set as the PA cuts in and out a couple of times during the first 20mins of the set, but the charismatic frontman plays it off well with a quick ‘fact’ of Melbourne’s name sake being Mel Gibson. Dani’s sense of humour is part of the Cradle of Filth charm and I can’t imagine a set without it. He cuts off a punter with a quick “Shut the Fuck up!” to which another yells out “You tell him!” to which he replies “Oi! You too!” and the crowd roars with laughter.
The encore for this evening brings out something I haven’t seen in a metal crowd before which is a slow dance. Nymphetamine begins and I see a few couples grab hands, hold each other close and sing the goth ballad whilst looking into each other eyes.
The latest female vocalist/keyboard member of the band, Lindsay Schoolcraft, has her moment to shine during this song and sings her parts well. This line up of Cradle of Filth have played extremely well and have had more crowd interaction than the last time they were in Australia. Richard Shaw, one of the current guitarists, played most of the set using mainly hammer ons and gesturing at the crowd for either a circle pit or singling out crowd members by staring and pointing at them.
Closing off their set with Her Ghost in the Fog and From the Cradle to Enslave they have played songs from most albums of their back catalogue keeping all fans happy. The new line up and the new songs sound as tight live as they do on the album, fitting in with the rest of their soundscape. I’m sure I was not the only one hoping that it’s not another two albums and 5 years in between Australian Tours, that’s just way too long!
Review Contributed by Mitch Charlton
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY SHANE HENDERSON
CRADLE OF FILTH are a monstrous tour-de-force of utterly distinctive but reassuringly destructive heavy metal.
Currently enjoying a collective creative renaissance that is driving them to new heights of elegant fury, the band are more potent and devastating than ever before as they approach the release of their latest and perhaps greatest studio effort, ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’. Even Kerrang! Magazine recently exclaimed that they “have created a gothic horror that makes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein look like The Emoji Movie.”
As they prepare to introduce these stunning new songs to their dedicated global fan base, CRADLE OF FILTH have never been more powerful or their excellence so undeniable. It’s been a long 5 years between tours, but Australia fans finally get their chance in 2018.
Tickets for CRADLE OF FILTH go on sale Thursday 5 October, 9am local.
Wednesday 9 May – The Basement, Canberra – 18+ *new venue, all tickets remain valid*
Thursday 10 May – The Triffid, Brisbane – 18+
Friday 11 May – 170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Saturday 12 May – Metro Theatre, Sydney – 18+
Monday 14 May – Capitol, Perth – 18+
It’s Friday night at the cemetery and all the ghouls and goblins, spooks and creeps are out in full force, why? Mr Motherfucker himself, Wednesday 13 and his gang of ghouls descend on Sydney’s Manning Bar to haunt once again! Australia has a long standing love affair with Wednesday, spoiling us with reoccurring tours every couple of years, a congregation return each and every time. We last saw Wednesday on his Undead Unplugged tour, with guitarist Roman Surman. This time around we get to see them with complete band in support of the most recent album, Condolences.
‘Well it’s Friday and everything is great!’ Locals Carmeria kick off the evening to warm up the crowd on this dreary, cold night. Almost as if Wednesday could’ve conjured up with weather himself. Next up Noveaux storm through the venue to kick off the heavies! Special mention goes out to their bass player never once standing dormant, stomping and headbanging like his body was made from rubber! Very enchanting to watch! They exhibited so much pride to be on stage, this was a band that seemed very thankful to be performing tonight.
Along on the sleigh ride from hell is Davey Suicide. Going into tonight’s show I knew nothing of Davey Suicide apart from his track “Too Many Freaks” with Twiztid. Consistent themes of horror evident in lyrics and audio clips kept new and current fans smiling during their time on stage. The crowds energy built steadily throughout their set, ready to welcome the headliner now that necks were warmed for headbanging.
After three support acts, we were ready for the main attraction. Welcome to creature feature number 13!
All five band members clad in black with faces painted launch straight into the first single off their latest album What The Night Brings and the crowd did not seem prepared for the sheer force the band served up. The united front pummel through hits from his previous albums before disappearing off the stage for what we all will understand will be the first of many. Waltzing back to the podium in the centre, armed with a shovel, we are treated to Cadaverous.
Newly sober Wednesday isn’t the most talkative tonight, although you never feel a disconnect. He’s there to perform for us, and his vocals are better than ever! Whether he is storming the stage in a mask or not, he maintains eye contact with members of the audience, pointing out die hards giving them their moment with the horror punk star. What will be the first mask of the night appears from the shadows for Serpent Society, the slower paced track from 2015’s Monster of the Universe creates an atmosphere only found at a Wednesday show. You feel as though you fall into his command as the music builds around you.
The props shown tonight would make Alice Cooper proud! As Wednesday returns to the stage in a black cloak the eerie intro of The Ghost of Vincent Price trickles through the speakers, igniting the crowd. How is Wednesday singing without the mouth moving? He sounds great, but where is the microphone? How is his head moving like that? The chorus comes around, and so does Wednesday! He’s got a mask on the back of his head creating an amazing visual experience. I turn to my friends and fellow punters all with huge grins and laughter, in awe of this fantastic artist who never fails to put on a fantastic show!
Hit after hit rumbles across the venue from his incredible back catalogue, even slowed down to see another daunting mask. This time white with a grimacing nose, partnered with a white blazer and Holy Bible in hand for title track Condolences. The new tracks tonight could have been released a decade ago with the way those in attendance knew every word, with almost choreographed movements. Yet another wardrobe change is upon us! This time for Dixie Dead along with overalls, splattered with blood, resembling Leatherface. The set is rounded out by even more high energy party songs, but with the lights going down, the crowd know he can’t leave us without playing a couple of seminal tracks (we hope!).
We can’t end tonight’s show without one final outfit change. Advancing to the centre of the stage, adorned with top hat, pitch fork and skeleton long sleeve we join together as a spookshow of Sydney in a sing along to Calling All Corpses, the kind of song that if you don’t know it, you’ll be singing every word by the second verse. Concluding the set with a middle finger umbrella and wanting Bad Things to happen to us all, everyone knows Wednesday and troupe have nothing but love as we do for them!
Another electric performance by the leader of horror punk, and I sure hope I speak for many others when I say I will be right back in front of him next time they return. Although he’s been gifting us with music for over 20 years, he shows no signs of slowing down!
Review Contributed by Megan Milner
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SHANE HENDERSON
As with any gig held at the Melbourne’s own Cherry Bar, the intimacy of the venue creates such an exciting atmosphere. From whatever your vantage point, you will feel up close and personal. Almost like it is your own private show. And tonight was no exception.
There are not too many artists who can start a band while still in high school, and still be rocking 29 years later, but John Garcia is most definitely one of them. Having started Kyuss with Brant Bjork and Josh Homme in 1989, and moving onto Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, Aqua de Annique and also Kyuss Lives! (who after a lawsuit changed their name to Vista Chino), John’s career has been a long and successful one.
Complimenting his own extensive career, John has worked on many collaborations , being a testament to how highly regarded an artist he is.
Bringing his first ever acoustic tour to Australia, John, accompanied by the exceptionally talented Ehren Groban, is set to bring an array of tunes across his expansive career, in a relaxed up close and personal show.
Opening the show tonight was Geelong band Smoke Witch. The two piece instrumental outfit, consisting of Sam and Karl, are far more than you would expect from a two piece. Having been playing together for about two years, and having known each other much longer than that, it was a real honour for these two to support JG, as they are both big fans of Kyuss.
Having guitar run through a loop station to produce a range of sounds, and some super energetic beats on drums, these two played some really amazing music. Being right in that stoner, sludgey style, with heap of fuzz, the boys played through a setlist of 8 songs. Amongst them were Death Lord, Dune, Anthem and Cycle Cowards. If that style is what you like I certainly would recommend picking up their EP, out on their label Desert Highways, and be sure to see them if they play a gig near you.
Once the stage was cleared, and was being prepared for John and Ehren , it was more akin to the set of a tv chat show with a couch, coffee table, pot plants and an ice bucket laden with an array of drinks. It was surely setting up to make it feel nice and relaxed and personal.
With a nice subtle entry, the crowd gave a warm round of applause as both John and Ehren took their places. Starting off with acknowledging the wall to wall sold out crowd, and explaining that between battling traffic due to Coachella and a gruelling 16 hr flight, that he was very glad to be performing in this intimate environment just for us.
It was so refreshing that there was no pompous and gloating introductions, talking about the extensive career of the man we had come to see. He quite humbly just took pride of place on his stool, and prepared to deliver us a set of fantastic tunes, performed in a beautiful acoustic setting.
Talking to the crowd about how different songs are chosen for their ability to be translated into an acoustic version, it gave us regular folk a glimpse into the thought processes behind pulling a show like this together. This led into the most amazing version of the Kyuss song Gardenia that I have heard. It was simply sublime and took on a whole new depth.
Followed on by Jim’s Whiskers and the another Kyuss track in El Rodeo, as well as the Hermano song Kentucky. There was plenty of crowd banter as the gravity of how privileged we actually all were to be witness to such an intimate and open conversation and performance. It really felt so very personal.
Another solo song with Boulevard and then a crowd favourite with yet another Kyuss song in Space Cadet.
My Everything was next, and it was a song I really took to as did many of the audience. It seemed to get John quite emotional, as he slipped off stage for a short break while Ehren took us on a musical journey with a 7 minute instrumental track that was quite mesmerising.
Upon John’s return to the stage, he was a little more composed, and was ready to deliver the final three songs to us, being the Kyuss classics Green Machine and Whitewater.
Closing out the night with the song Kylie, it was an equally humble John who thanked the crowd for coming out to the show. Ensuring he thanked the remarkable Ehren , he then exited the stage, and slipped away into the night with the only fanfare being the rousing round of applause that the crowd were giving.
Given that prior to the evening I had only known John Garcia as the voice of Kyuss, I cannot express enough what a fantastic evening of acoustic and vocal brilliance this was. It showed a whole other side to his vocal ability that is all too often lost in fully electric productions.
And seeing as Australia has been a favourite place of his, I am sure that we will be on the map for a return. And if that happens I will certainly be waiting anxiously for a spot up front to soak on the sheer brilliance that is John Garcia.
Review Contributed by Jodi Maree