Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
With Satyricon announcing that their latest American Tour would be their last and that they would shortly after be coming down to Australia, rumors were flying around saying that it would be their last time here as well. Then the announcement of postponing the show from April till September didn’t help the doubts either, I mean, Australia is already limited in what international bands come here. We have only just got Download for a second year and most bands that come to Australia only now do an East Coast Tour to a lot of Aussie dismay. It costs bands a lot of money and time to come down to Australia and I know we try our hardest to support those bands that come out because we don’t want to lose a good thing.
Satyricon is one of my all-time favourite bands, so this won’t be a review of someone trying to convince you to go and see this band, this is someone telling you to go and see this band and if you miss out, you will regret it.
Deadspace from Perth is opening up tonight’s show with their blend of Atmospheric soundscapes and Stomping riffs. They have a very diverse sound and I would recommend these guys for fans of MGLA from Poland or Harakiri for the Sky from Austria. Starting off rough with an issue from the kick drum mic but once that had been fixed Deadspace was firing on all cylinders. It’s not often you see bands donning the corpse paint these days but these guys can pull it off, all band members in black band t-shirts or patch vests and the corpse paint made for a great effect. The frontman played his part well with keeping the crowd entertained whilst jumping down on to the bar and getting the everyone riled up, ready for Satyricon to come on.
The lights darken and the album cover for Satyricon’s latest opus, Deep Calleth Upon Deep brightens the backdrop. Frost walks out first and the crowd goes wild, straight to the drum kit, the rest of the band walk out and take their place on stage to open with Midnight Serpent and then the frontman takes the stage. Satyr, such a commanding presence and one of the best frontmen in the game, He holds the crowd’s attention as soon as he steps up until the closing of the show.
Their sound tonight is impeccable, between the massive TAMA kit that Frost uses and the crunching guitars that supply the catchy riffs are to be heard clear as day. (For anyone that hasn’t read one of my live reviews before, I always try to get a spot right in front of the sound desk.) The openness of the tracks from Deep Calleth… is there for the void to follow and devour us all, the stomping riffs from the likes of Black Crow on a Tombstone and also Now Diabolical, as well as those blinding kicks underneath. All while this is going on Satyrs vocals are at the front of it all and he’s on fire, nothing but strength and confidence coming from him. He also jumps on guitar for a few songs throughout the set to change it up and still nails it.
Tonight’s set is mostly newer material except for Walk the Path of Sorrow and Mother North, consisting of songs from Volcano, Now Diabolical, Age of Nero, the self-titled and Deep Calleth… Their Black n’ Roll sound has the place moving from start to finish and I’m guessing there will be some sore necks and no voices tomorrow. Everyone is singing each chorus back to Satyr as he stands over the crowd embracing the chaos he has created in the venue. The encore tonight has one of my all-time favourite tracks, Fuel for Hatred, I have been waiting to hear that live for a long time and it did not disappoint.
Just before playing the closer for tonight K.I.N.G, Satyr announces to the crowd that although there have been rumors going around saying that this would be their last Australian Tour, IT IS NOT! This had to be the greatest news of the night and definitely ended on a high. The energy for K.I.N.G went through the roof. Satyricon will be back!
Review Contributed by Mitch Charlton
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Hold on to your bibles, the yellow and black attack are back, and they mean business. It has been a very long eight years since we have seen them grace our shores, but they have made their return and the fans couldn’t be happier. It was a sold out show last night at Max Watts Melbourne, the fans were hungry for it, the unending line on Swanston Walk a testament to the numbers waiting to get in. Add to this the merch being almost sold out by 8.30 with only small and medium shirts on offer really tells the tale of how keen the punters were.
It was an awesome night for supports acts, with Melbourne based Catalano breaking the ice. They had a huge crowd to get warmed up, the early turn out was incredible. The vibe was Cinderella/L.A. Guns/G ‘n’ R’s all wrapped into one, singer Roxxi Catalano channelling his inner hair metal with ease. They gave us a thirty minute set, that I wish was longer, its not often support acts grab me so strongly, but these guys were bloody fantastic. Extremely engaging with the crowd, heads nodding in approvals as they played out their set. I believe it is only their fourth live gig in Australia, which leaves me gobsmacked, they were a well-polished, cohesive unit on stage seemingly with many years under their belts. Definitely one to hunt down live, you will not be disappointed.
It seems Melbourne can do no wrong with music as White Widdow took to the stage. We really were spoilt with the level of support for this show, another stellar band for our enjoyment. Opening with Cry Wolf, White Widdow were off and running, giving us 30 minutes packed with energy and really punchy music. Singer Jules Millis was a brilliant front man, working the stage and the crowd with ease. If I had to describe him, think of Jani Lane with black hair, he even took a trip to sing from the pit and high five the punters. They definitely had some fans in their own right, many singing along knowing all the words. They have a fabulous hard rock sound and gave an awesome performance with the crowd clapping along soaking up all the goodness of the Melbourne music scene. White Widdow are UK bound in October to play at Rockingham 2018 so make sure you get out and see them before then!
The heavy metal tunes were pumping from the speakers, the fans were singing along getting their voices warmed up, could any compete with Michael Sweet? definitely not, but we all like to think we could. As the lights dimmed with only Robert Sweet’s drum kit lit up the tension as palpable, we have been waiting for what seems a lifetime to have Stryper back in Australia, and we were more than ready for them to hit the stage. With a very unfortunate turn of events, lead guitarist Oz Fox was struck down with a serious illness that prevented him from making the tour. We are all keeping him in our thoughts and prayers wishing for a speedy recovery, but with his blessing the boys still made the long trek to perform as a trio. A first for the band so we should feel extremely privileged to have witnessed this. Michael took to the stage to explain the situation with Oz, not a normal start to a show but we were all grateful for the update. Now on with the show, touring off the back of the insane new album God Damn Evil, Stryper took to the stage opening with the sensational Yahweh, the fans erupted, it was clear they had brought their singing voices and weren’t afraid to use them. The Valley from the new album literally ripped the venue a new one, it was loud, it was heavy, and it was pretty bloody awesome. Calling on You and Free were up next, the boys smashing out the songs with gusto, and while we all felt a missing link with Oz not on stage the music suffered no loss, Michael picking up slack with ease. His shredding skills exemplary, I knew he was a great guitarist, but he literally blew me away with his solos, absolutely amazing from start to finish. He did mention they were all pretty jet lagged but from where I was standing it didn’t seem to be an issue. First class all the way, the complete professionals as they moved into All For One, Robert’s kit sounding sensational, he played like a halo wearing demon, smashing the skins with unabandoned joy, clearly loving every minute. Styper bibles were at the ready, randomly thrown out to the crowd over the course of the evening. While one grazed my hand, sadly I didn’t get the coveted keepsake, maybe next time, as Michael promised they would bring Oz back on his return to health.
Revelation and then In God We Trust saw the crowd taking over the vocals, not that it was necessary, Michael has the voice of any angel, still as fresh as back in 1983 at the bands inception. We were all so invested in this show, it drew you in from the get go, almost hypnotic in its delivery. It was an extremely well-behaved crowd, everyone had their own space, all content to watch from their spot. No pushing and shoving, just how a gig should be, and while it was a mature based crowd there were some younger folk, my son included, and when Michael pointed at him and said ‘you weren’t even born when we made this song’ we all had a laugh, then it made me realise just how old I am! Honestly saw a great sing-a-long then backed up by Sorry which blew us all away, what a killer song, I’m so glad it made it on the hit filled setlist. Loving You and the title track from the latest release God Damn Evil put us in a spin, could this night really get any better. Lady saw Michael take it down a notch, just a guy and his guitar, a lovely serenade which gave us all a breather before we hit the home stretch.
Perry Richardson was magnificent, dazzling us all night, his smile as wide as the stage, loving every minute. The fans loved right back as Always There For You and the show stealer Soldiers Under Command rang out, the punters losing their minds as this epic song played out. Michael so very grateful to the fans, constantly thanking us, his appreciation overwhelming. As the night drew to its conclusion, we were hopeful for just one more song and through the higher powers our prayers were answered with not one but two, To Hell With The Devil and Sing-Along Song. This took the crowd to celestial heights, we were drained nothing left in the tank but we screamed out hearts out as they boys came to the forefront giving them the applause they so deserved. Robert threw not drumsticks but his stack of bibles to the hungry crowd, and still they remained elusive to me. Next time I will have my bible catching hand on point! With the night being filmed, we then took the time to record a message for Oz, ‘Hi Oz, we love you’ we hope it brightens his day and we see him back on the stage again soon. Final waves and thanks were given, and we were left to recover from a night of hot sweaty, godly rock, that can only be described as angelic.
Stryper were the preachers and we were their congregation, spellbound by their words, captivated by their songs, we were disciples schooled in the church of heavy metal, and didn’t we love it!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Max Watts in Melbourne seems such a perfect venue to enjoy the contemporary offerings of LA Guns, thanks to On Tour Presents. As one descends hallowed staircase and is greeted by the tremendous staff of this venue, a particular feeling of awe washes over prompted by the notion that this will be the very first time Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns will have played in Melbourne together…ever.
The Kids (not, not from Belgium) kicked off proceeding, lacking not one ounce of enthusiastic delivery. More bouncing, rocking and bustin’ a move than one could possibly wish for on a Friday night and The Kids greeted the inward flow of excited patrons in fine form.
Eightball Junkies followed up with a killer set of solid numbers and delivered brilliantly. Vocalist Will Vaughan announced that the band had written a track last Wednesday, played it in Brisbane the next night and were not sure how it went down. After pumping out Year Of The Dog to a delighted Melbourne audience, I think it’s fair to say that you’re onto a winner there lads. A fantastic track and cranked out to perfection much like an astonishing cover of Rebel Yell that would have Billy Idol himself uttering “fuck off mate, that’s awesome” in finest cockney accent. A fantastic set that had the room suitably warmed for the arrival of Sisters Doll.
Sisters Doll…These lads are an awesome Aussie glam rock outfit but 2 encores? Yes, the crowd demanded two encores. Presumably that says it all, but to make you a little more jealous of what you missed, Sisters Doll absolutely slayed their set and set the bay way up aloft any who would dare follow. Fortunately its L.A. Guns, so no issue there but Sisters Doll can be extremely proud of a performance that will be spoken about long after we have forgotten where it occurred and who they were supporting. This performance will stand out in my memory as a top notch headline performance, albeit a shortened version. Bravura Sisters Doll. That got the blood pumping. Wow.
With only a few moments to catch up with industry identities before the headline act and a chance to shoot the shit instead of share the pit with brilliant globetrotting rock photographer Paul Miles lead, us both to reflect what a historic moment this really is. The very first time that L.A. Guns perform live Australia with Phil and Tracii, each band member a huge identity in rock history here assembled in one place, a fifteen year fuel put to rest by The Missing Peace all culminate into what is sure to be an unmissable show. Or so I thought.
The truth is that with the first notes played and the vocal delivery of Phil, the breath was removed from my lungs, brought goose bumps to my flesh and mouth left agape in bewildered awe. To see these legends of rock reunited and the mighty L.A. Guns in full flight is one memory neither frail infirmity nor the marching years will ever tear from my recollection.
Electric Gypsy and No Mercy allowed a slow return back to terra firma from my lofty heights of rock elation, but still the vision before me was one I could scarcely believe. I watched in reflection a Tracii took bow to guitar for his solo routine but Bitch is Back is when I genuinely felt how overwhelmed by the mammoth importance of this most momentous occasion. This one gem from the 1988 debut album brought home to roost, how the lost years were repaired and the most magnificent L.A. Guns were back delivering a balanced measure of the old and the new…and it’s real.
Perhaps I make too much of this event and allow my inner rock teen to revel and celebrate unrestrained but as I think back to a pre tour interview with Phil Lewis and ask him to describe his magical reunion with Tracii, I believe the answer lies therein. I hope that this tour and the years since finding The Missing Peace are providing the entire band, but particularly Phil and Tracii with a feeling close to what is being experienced by us here tonight.
As the set list rolled on and continued to Rip and Tear an L.A. Guns sized hole in our rock souls, the overwhelming reality that the quality of the bands performance and the overwhelming appeal of their contemporary offerings combine into a show that belongs in an arena before thousands of adoring fans. Perhaps with the stops removed along with an onward and upwards attitude from the band, we should count ourselves as extremely fortunate that they were so close for us to enjoy.
But it’s over all too soon. L.A. Guns could start this set again and there would be nothing but cheers and cries of elation from this crowd and not one would head for the door. This was one of those extremely special events that are a rarely in our lives. A relatively intimate show with a perfect reunion and a perfect band, launching the appeal of the night into legendary, arena scale significance.
Thank you L.A. Guns. This was an experience I for one will never forget. I beg you people of Australia, people of the world…do not miss this opportunity to experience a truly historic rock event, cram packed with shredding, pounding, screaming rock appeal and performance perfection.
Review Contributed by Casper
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY LYNDA BUCHANAN
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JOSE SANCHEZ
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SEBASTIAN MARINO
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS