THY ART IS MURDER
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED MATT ALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
Review Cassandra Hale
As I turned into Russell Street the temperature clicked over to 38 degrees and all I could think was how hot it would be in 170 Russell, it is a terrific venue to see bands up close but is definitely not known for its ventilation! My assumptions were proven to be correct and by the close of proceedings it was stifling. The line of ‘mature’ aged fans snaked across the front and around the corner of the club, everyone lining up for the precious front row, or to nab a seat, which were few and far between.
After finding what I hoped would be a safe spot to stand, Caligula’s Horse took the stage right on time to perform a short five song set. This enthusiastic band from Brisbane wowed the crowd, and I must say, me as well. I had not seen them before and was pleasantly surprised. They were quite humbled that they were supporting their idols Opeth, stating it was fulfilling a childhood dream. Formed in 2011, and producing an album every two years since they had plenty of ammunition to warm up the metal-head army. It was impressive to see the crowd so receptive of them, and supporting our home grown talent.
Opeth, the masters of progressive metal have returned to our shores yet again following the release of their latest album Sorceress. The Sorceress World Tour even included a sold out show at the iconic Sydney Opera House to rave reviews. We can only hope that on the back of its success it will open the door for more of the same.
Playing two capacity shows in Melbourne once again confirms that we are the home of live music and a testament to heavy metals fans across Victoria.
Drinks were disappearing at a rapid rate to try and ease the oppressive heat, this definitely kicked the rowdiness levels up a notch or two. The buzz in the air was what can only be described as electric, the hum growing louder by the second as the start time approached.
To say the crowd went a little bit crazy as Opeth took the stage would be an understatement, 170 Russell erupted with screaming and metal fingers in abundance. The impressive peacock that graces the cover of the new album Sorceress was a majestic backdrop as the boys launched into the title track of the album. Heads were banging on autopilot, some more enthusiastic than others but all nodding none the less. I was shocked by the amount of tall people or maybe it was just the size of their hair that had me dodging to get a clear view.
Opeth has a style all of their own and while many have tried to replicate it, none will ever take their place. The set list may only have been ten songs long, but given then length of the songs it filled the one hour and forty minutes perfectly. Front man Mikael Akerfeldt worked the crowd amazingly, his calming voice delivering some of the wittiest one liners I have heard in a long while. His banter with the fans was fantastic, even answering a drunk question or two yelled out during the silence between songs.
Faces of Melinda and Windowpane were crowd favourites, with a mosh pit forming early on in the night and ebbing and flowing depending on the song. The melodic sounds were pure perfection matched with the full on hardcore metal that they are renowned for. The Drapery Falls rang out as the last song for the night and the masses exploded, sweaty hair whipping and some pretty funky smells to match. It was clear to all in the venue that Opeth really are the Masters of their trade.
We were all hopeful for ‘one more song’ and after numerous chanting they returned for just that. As the familiar opening notes of Deliverance rang out mass hysteria ensued. The whole floor became a giant mosh pit and it was every man and woman for themselves for the final 13 minute song. Bows and promises to return finished out the night. Opeth can only be described as polished perfection, their experience was evident in every song they sang and I can see why they are admired by so many.
As we spilled out on to Russell Street hoping for cooler air we were sadly disappointed to find it was still 30 degrees. Yes, it was stinking hot, yes, I was exhausted and, yes, I would do it all again in a heartbeat!
Review Cassandra Hale
The heavens opened relentlessly as the crowds made their way to Margaret Court Arena for a night of ear ringing bliss. There was nowhere to hide and the end result was a lot of people’s makeup looking like Alice Cooper’s without even trying! It was a young demographic, balanced by a few parents making the trip to escort their kids to what would be an amazing night of music with all the bells and whistles.
Kicking off proceedings was Australian band Hands Like Houses, they were well received by the crowd and have been touring enough of late to be a familiar name and sound for the screaming hoards. Their most recent release Dissonants is a terrific mix of clean versus dirty lyrics which is well balanced, and if full on screamo isn’t quite your thing you would enjoy Hands Like Houses.
While She Sleeps took the stage, immediately starting a circle pit and getting the fans pumping for the night to come. They were last on our shores for Soundwave four years ago and have been touring heavily of late. Their latest album You Are We is due for release in April this year, and while vocalist Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor admitted to having a throat like ‘Razors’ it definitely did not hold him back. Hurricane from the new album was a fantastic mix of almost choir like melodies mixed with screaming metalcore, a taste of what to expect on the new album. Loz joined the crowd in the pit for a sing-a-long, then clearly spent, laid on the stage to finish the out the song and gather some much-needed energy. The band were tight and left nothing in the tank as they left the stage.
A quick trip down memory lane to 2007, Gigantour, Festival Hall Melbourne, I was waiting backstage to meet Megadeth and a group of young boys from Sheffield London stuck their heads around the corner to sign autographs for some squealing fans. That was my first sighting of Bring Me The Horizon, and ten years later they are selling out multiple nights at Margaret Court Arena, a real credit to them in what can be a very tough industry to break into. Bring Me The Horizon has gone from strength to strength and amassed a huge fan base along the way. After canceling tours in September last year due to illness to boys were back and they weren’t just in fine form, they blew it out of the park, leaving no stone unturned in what was to be a killer night for all.
Opening with Happy Song off their latest album That’s The Spirit, I was thankful for my trusty ear plugs as the crowd went crazy. An amazing spectacle of smoke cannons, shooting streamers and screens lit up like Times Square were quite amazing and really showed that Bring Me The Horizon are living up to the huge expectations placed on their shoulders. A set list of 15 covered everything the screaming fans wanted, including Avalanche, Chelsea Smile, Shadow Moses and the much awaited Doomed.
A mass of circle pits, walls of death and crowd surfing matched the wicked sounds and thumping bass lines that shook through everyone in the arena. Flashing strobes mixed with awesome lighting and digital backdrops heated up Margaret Court to boiling point, when mixed with the thousands of hot sweaty bodies only needed a stray spark to start one hell of a fire. I really enjoyed the combination of percussionist and drummer, they played well off each other and added another layer to what was a polished performance by all band members.
Oliver Sykes delivers what a great front man should, the fans love him and are happy to oblige when he screamed, ‘push it back’ or ‘make a wall’, they did it with passion no matter what injuries they may suffer in the clash of the masses. Announcing he was happy to high five fans if they made the surf across the top, lead to a ‘surfin safari’ like no other, Oliver slapping sweaty hands as they were delivered above the hoards by the many hard working security guards.
Throne was the twelfth song but we all knew they had a few more in reserve, saving some of the best for last. A short break for a minute of two before they were back at it again, smoke cannons on steroids and fans in a frenzy as True Friends rang out. We all know that ‘true friends stab you in the front’ and there were hundreds of t-shirts telling you so in case you missed that memo. This was followed with Oh No and of course the one everyone was waiting for Drown. Smoke and confetti rained down on the fans, many shirtless, many shoeless and many in need of a shower. It was done for night one, but Bring Me The Horizon will be back to do it all again Monday tonight and I’m sure many fans will be returning again to get another fix. It was clear as an outsider that Bring Me The Horizon didn’t just bring the horizon to the fans they brought them the world.
Photos & Review John Raptis
A beautiful Melbourne summer’s night was permeated with a veritable sea of flying bats overhead. Off to hunt for food overnight whilst the stage lights of Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl were waking from their slumber. Literally, from out of the shadows, Nick Cave walks to the front of the stage to rapturous applause and cheer from the sold-out crowd.
The bats dispersed away into the summer night, the music and an evening of musical magic took their place.
Decked in a trademark blue suit and white shirt, jet-black shoulder-length hair slicked back, the band sauntered into ‘Jesus Alone’ off the brilliant ‘Skeleton Tree’ opus.
A surprising slow, sad choice, but Mr. Cave has mellowed somewhat and the night was to be a mixture of old frenetic chaotic Nick Cave and the newer sadder tunes full of loss and mourning – ‘Distant Skies’, ‘Anthrocene’ and ‘I Need You’ were all played off ‘Skeleton Tree’, as was the title track.
The Bad Seeds are now a seven piece band but all the musical arrangements work so well with this latest incarnation. They gelled together beautifully from the quietest sombre moments all the way through to the blitzkrieg of noise and feedback that attacked through some of the older tunes.
Warren Ellis is now the glue that very much holds this band together and he juggles many instruments.
Tonight, starting out on the piano, guitar, and of course the violin. He is Cave’s right-hand man and they bounced off each other with the usual shenanigans that bandmates who work together partake in. At one point Nick wipes Warren’s sweaty brow with a towel and another time he throws a bottle at him.
The pair have a long history now, and the cues they take off each other seem absolutely effortless. Only once did the show halt with Nick proclaiming he couldn’t hear as he had an awful bass feeding back in his earpiece.
There were a few surprises tonight, ‘From Her to Eternity’ was an utterly blistering version, as was ‘The First Born is Dead’, ‘Tupelo’ ( his ode to Elvis Presley) set to an apocalyptic vision of a tornado on the big screen.
Other favourites included ‘Red Right Hand’ and ‘Tender Prey’s Mercy Seat’.
Throughout the night, Nick Cave’s interaction with the crowd ranged from getting the crowd to hold him as he leaned into the mass of people at the front, to dancing with a girl during ‘The Ship Song’, to putting a feather in his suit pocket from an admiring fan – another got a kiss, to much whooping and cries of “we love you, Nick“
Even though he lives abroad – and has for many years, Melbourne must be one of his favourite places to visit and play. It’s always a case that someone I know sees Nick shopping in various haunts in inner-city Melbourne or he’s signing records somewhere (as was the case recently in Greville Records).
Nick may have lost a son, but he still joked and his wry sense of humour was still evident in the show.
Commenting on the supposed curfew that The Myer Music Bowl had and how he’d be in trouble again (as was the case in Brisbane). But with an act of defiance, he pulled out all the stops for the profanity ridden ‘Murder Ballad’ ‘Stagger Lee’ as an encore and ‘Push The Sky Away’ as the final parting.
Farewell, Mr. Cave, until next time.
Photos & Review John Raptis
It’s rare that local boys Airbourne are in town. They’ve been busy claiming the world’s festival stages and making them all their own. But when they do happen to be back home on our shores, one knows full well what sort of bombastic night of Hard Rock N Roll one is in store for.
Tonight was the final night of the band’s Australian assault. They have been trekking around Australia with Melbourne band The Ugly Kings as support and from all reports, both bands were putting in killer sets.
The Melbourne gig was at Toorak’s Trak venue. Even though said venue is a stone-throw from where I work and where I live, I can’t say I have ever seen a live show here. It was going to be a new experience all round as I hadn’t seen the Ugly Kings yet, or ever set foot in this venue.
I strolled past the venue on my lunch break and noticed the loading trucks full of amplification and lighting. I kinda had a feeling then it was going to be a kick ass night of pure Rock N Roll.
Openers the Ugly Kings have been making quite a splash on the Melbourne circuit of late. Unfortunately the planets have not aligned for me and I hadn’t had a chance to see them. Let’s just say this from the outset, they blew me away from beginning to end. The band looks great with a killer black denim and attitude that quickly took hold of the already healthy crowd there to see them. Playing a mix of blues based, hard driving Rock the band tore it up nicely. I made a mental note to make sure I see them when next they play and I am pretty confident I was not the only one feeling that way.
A late start for Airbourne who promptly took to the stage at 10:45PM. With the intro tape of the Terminator soundtrack coming to a close… Airbourne literally blasted onto the stage with such passion, ferocity and an infectious energy that has to be seen to be believed.
No wonder these guys are a festival favourite over in the Euro Metal/Rock circuit. It is a damn shame that the mainstream Australian media don’t pay enough attention to these guys.
They are as Aussie as one can possibly be, playing a brand of classic Pub Rock on steroids charged with an adrenaline rush that rubs off to the crowd with ease.
When main man Joel O’Keefe begins to frantically bash a full can of Victoria Bitter against his head, the proceeding euphoria of beer spraying forth from a smashed can is quite the sight and only sends their maniacal fan base into overdrive.
High octane energy just seeps from band and fan alike making it for one hell of a classic night out!
Review Contributed by Nisa Ates
What better way to smash into the new year than with some of the pioneer bands in the hardcore scene today. Headed to AUS for Unify Festival, heavy-hitters Every Time I Die have teamed up with letlive. and Counterparts to bring fans a series of sideshows full of fun, sweat and a hell of a lot of moshing.
Playing in Melbourne over two shows, 170 Russell was home to this massive line-up on Wednesday 11th January for 18+ fans.
Kicking things off were Melbourne’s own In Trenches and although the venue was barely halfway full, this didn’t seem to faze them. No warming up necessary, the band jumped straight into it and delivered a fast, heavy and strong set to get punters in the zone and ready for the chaos ahead.
Following up were Canadian hardcore outfit Counterparts who really started to reign the crowd in. Playing songs from across their 10-year career, their set found fans screaming along passionately, scurrying to the front to share the mic with Brendan Murphy as he approached the barrier.
Anticipation and excitement began to fill the walls of 170 Russell as set up for letlive. commenced. The floor was packed with eager bodies – those who have seen letlive. before know, those who haven’t couldn’t be prepared enough for what was to come. The band took to the stage, minus vocalist Jason Butler and the build-up began.
As the band smash into Renegade 86’, Butler storms onto the stage with massive energy to a crowd of eager faces. The moshing begins instantly, the fans jumping up and down and left to right and screaming their absolute hearts out. Without a breath or loss in momentum, Another Offensive Song off of the band’s latest album If I’m The Devil… keeps the crowd moving and wanting more.
The band have elected to play a set of their more well-known songs and singles but it’s the amount of passion letlive. play with that makes this night remarkable and unique to itself. Smiling faces in between each song, the band are clearly happy to be here. Jason Butler thrashes around on stage like he’s not capable of staying still for too long and it’s this energy he emits and love for what he does that the crowd is feeding off, which he then feeds back off of them.
Working through some of their older songs; Younger, 27 Club and The Sick, Sick 8 Billion, they bring things down a notch with a track off of their new album. Foreign Cab Rides finds Butler finally slow down a little although still moving. Swaying along to the song, fans behind me can be heard singing along passionately “Stay with me/ And share my disease”.
Jumping back into the loud and the wild with That Fear Fever, Butler then picks up a guitar to play along to Reluctantly Dead.
Taking a break to say a few words, Butler delivered a heartfelt speech about being raised by women and how we need to empower ladies around the world. Met with many cheers and ending his speech with “To the ladies in this room; do you boo boo, do you” before playing their hit song Muther. An emotional moment, Butler throws his mic to the side as the crowd overpowers him in singing the first verse.
Their set coming to an end, letlive. channelled all their remaining energy to bring their last song to strong close. Their first single off of If I’m The Devil… punters screamed loudly along to Good Mourning, America, bidding the Californian band farewell.
The crowd was buzzing by this point and hungry for more. Cue the legendary Every Time I Die to deliver just what they needed. No easing into it (no easing needed, really) the band sustained the high energy embracing the room with Glitches, guitarist Jordan Buckley already crowdsurfing in the mass of sweaty, delighted punters.
Playing an hour-long set, there was no stopping with fans being hit one after the other of the band’s heavy catalogue – each met with enthusiastic roars and constant metal horns thrown up in the air. Working their way through songs like We’rewolf, Petal and It Remembers, the amount of bodies flying around the room was something security could have never prepared for.
Looking around the venue, not a single person was staying still for long – it’s hard not to when you’re in the heart of such an amazing band’s element.
Bringing the night to a sweaty close, the band came out to a roaring encore with Fear and Trembling and Indian Giver, singer Keith Buckley urging as many fans as possible to join the band on the stage. A mass of bodies crammed together on stage, Buckley sang his final notes laying atop of fans – a night that will not easily be forgotten.
It’s not an easy task to describe exactly how intense this show was but the best way to put it is – you don’t want to miss out on the rest of the tour. With such passionate bands on a lineup like this, it’s already a given that each show will bring utter chaos of the best kind.
Review Contributed by Casper
What an interesting evening awaits at the Corner Hotel in Richmond for the first show of Halestorm’s Australian Tour. Interesting for many reasons but leading the charge is the fact that Halestorm have been eagerly awaited by those who saw them for the first time in December 2015 and those who heard about their magnificence after the fact. And the crowd here represent a 50/50 ratio if both.
Being admirers of Lzzy and Arejay back to their teen and ten-year-old beginnings respectively, we from STM were thrilled to see the level of enthusiasm awaiting Halestorm for only their second time in Melbourne.
But we are also keenly anticipating our first exposure to Devilskin playing live. Having listened to their recordings and uploads, but simultaneously hearing tales from across the ditch of ‘you haven’t heard them until you’ve seen them live’, we couldn’t wait to bear witness.
As Devilskin tuned into action, we finally had an understanding of what this exciting band were capable of. Paul Martin and Nail were as skillful and simultaneously brutal as promised from the country afar, we hereby dub “Land Of The Long Red Beard”. Relentless riffing from one side of the stage and pounding bass rhythm from the other, these rockers are as talented musically as they are animated.
Nic at the kit needs no frowns from the front, nor a paternal scanning to maintain his discipline. Being accomplished very young, Nic paves his own and the hold the band to the beat. I’m certain Paul is nothing more than proud to be playing along with his talented offspring.
And as for Jennie Skulander you may well inquire. What a dynamic delivery with a vocal capability surpassing all expectations. Dirty vocals to angelic offerings, she is all one can desire from a malevolent metal maiden, but so much more. Absolutely captivating and in perfect precision to highlight the integral components of the live show that is Devilskin. Sadly, a show that was over all too quickly. We cannot wait to see Devilskin performing live and hope they will not be strangers on the West Island. The highlights for yours truly was their performance of an obvious crowd favourite in Little Pills and a superbly performed Voices. Just astounding.
With a little adjustment and careful preparation, our ‘year and a bit’ long wait for Halestorm is over and how appreciative we are that they are back so quickly to the land of Oz.
As Lzzy took to the keyboard, a serene opener in God Bless The Beast was a welcome calm to a hot and heated venue. But with all blessed with the realisation that her voice was better than all ok. Arejay, Joe and Josh take to the stage with a warm, wailing welcome. Full steam ahead and into the Halestorm favorites of Apocalyptic, Mrs. Hyde, Love Bites and I Get Off. A dream realised to see Lzzy pounding out licks and lyrics as powerfully as ever before. And all performed just for me, surely, because she is a crowd engagement maestro. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that sentiment. Rock Show was perfectly placed for those in the front row before small mid-set list adjustment most welcome in The Still Of The Night. Nil desperandum because we true Halestorm aficionados regularly toast the band with a Here’s To Us, but with slightly slurred vocal delivery.
A verbal description of parental support, coupled with maternal intent from Lzzy before weaving her beautiful voice through Dear Daughter. I little more Lzzy lead crowd persuasion and we are re-joined by the band for a timely rendition of I Like It Heavy. Fists to the sky and the throwing of horns brought the crowd to new heights of celebration before really testing Lzzy’s recently ill throat with I Am The Fire. In typical Halestorm fashion, Lzzy left nothing she had in reserve and gave all for an adoring audience. Mayhem was a most appropriate ending to a show and a crowd with no desire to finish. We had enjoyed the Arejay’s big stick display (no double entendre intended) along with his soaring 10-minute solo display. We enjoyed the bass brilliance of Josh who made the journey for us, probably with a longing desire to be on the home front instead watching a growing tum. We appreciate it very much, Josh. Joe Hottinger played and performed sensationally with not a lick out of place and, most remarkably, every note and every guitar highlight from each track recording, included perfectly for the live show. Very rare indeed. And our dearest Lzzy….just astonishing. How Halestorm aren’t booked for Rod Laver Arena remains a mystery to me, but if they will do us the honour yet again, there’s always next year. Thank you, Halestorm and thank you Devilskin. Performances like tonight are those difficult to bet on witnessing, but with Halestorm, and I now certain Devilskin, you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re in for a hell of a show. Travel safely dear friends.
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY