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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, ENVENOMED, Espionage, Gallery, Jaidyn Hale, Loudness, Max Watts, Melbourne, Silverback Touring
It was a busy Thursday night in Melbourne as I jumped in the line forming outside Max Watts to see Japan’s finest metal band, Loudness perform for the first time ever in Australia. It is never lost on me the lengths that overseas bands will go to play for us so I for one was more than ready to take on a night of metal mayhem.
Opening the nights’ proceedings was Melbourne based thrash band Envenomed. I have seen these guys before in support slots and they always do a great job to warm up the punters. They gave us a set of six including Burn The Sun, Disobey The Beast and Within Me. Two of the four members chose to go shirtless and given the outside temperature I did think it was a tad ambitious, but they were sweating it up in no time. I loved their cover of the Skyhooks classic Horror Movie which closed out the set. It was full of timing changes and heavy beats and it was a perfect tune to get the crowd singing along.
On the back on Envenomed it was time for Espionage to hit the stage, also based in Melbourne it was power metal to the max. Drummer James Shelverton burst on the stage to pump us up (also following along with the shirtless theme) as lead vocalist and bass player Andrew ‘Frosty’ Morris launched into Lightspeed. With flaxen locks that rivalled Rapunzel, he belted out the lyrics with a big voice and an even bigger range. Denis Sudzuka who many of you may know from The Hard Rock Show filled the lead guitarist spot and while he is known to clown around a bit on the show it was all business on the stage. His shredding skills were sensational and backing vocals were the perfect fit for the fast-flowing songs as Nightmare, High Riser and Hellfire made it into the mix. Matt Carroll finished out the foursome on rhythm guitar keeping the sound tight from start to finish. I must mention that if head spinning was an Olympic sport, drummer James would have taken out the gold! He had his hair flying from start to finish but still drummed like a demon. They have a few upcoming gigs so get on it people and support our local lads, you will be glad you did.
The crowd had expanded as time drew closer to the main event, Loudness T-shirts and sweatbands as far as the eye could see. Even a few Japanese flags as the fans represented the red and white with gusto. Highway To Hell was turned up to eleven as the place starting pulsing, and the pocket rockets we call Loudness blasted onto the stage. Crazy Nights was the opener, and didn’t we love it! The fans losing their minds, headbanging and singing full force as the Japanese juggernauts smashed out Like Hell and Heavy Chains. Akira Takasaki was blisteringly brilliant on lead guitar his tone was incredible and musicianship amazing. All the members were extremely engaging with the fans and I was happily surprised when bass player Masayoshi Yamashita gave me the eye and hand-delivered a pick straight to me. Masayoshi has been part of Loudness since their inception and was extremely comfortable slapping the bass, he worked the stage with ease and was having a lot of fun with smiles a plenty over the course of the night.
It was a set of fifteen songs, Let It Go was a definite fan favourite together with We Could Be Together and Soul On Fire. Minoru Niihara had the energy of a man half his age, zipping around the stage with his sunglasses on looking rather cool as he belted out song after song. I do believe he may be battling a cold, but it did not hinder his singing one bit, he still hit the high notes and delivered every song with enthusiasm, relishing his time on the stage. The fans on the barrier were also looking for a placing in the medals for headbanging with flowing manes flicking as they indulged in some timely headbanging, and let’s face it who wouldn’t? It was Loudness and as the name indicates they were bloody loud! With drummer Masayuki Suzuki suffering a stroke in 2018 it was left to Ryuichi Nishida to fill the spot and he did a stellar job. He beat the skins like a man possessed and gave us a kick arse solo that we all revelled in. Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsy, This Lonely Heart and Crazy Doctor were a few more that the guys ripped out over the night, finishing with S.D.I. which put the punters into a frenzy, fists punching the air and sweat flying.
With bows and waves of thanks, the night was over, a few anticipated an encore, but it wasn’t to be. Loudness brought their A game, it was a night of heavy metal at its finest, with nonstop energy and a set list of music that spanned decades. They came, they saw, and they kicked our arses, and I’m so glad they did!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, Chugg Entertainment, Hozier, Melbourne, Vanessa Jarvis
The 25th of April marks ANZAC day, a time to remember those who bravely fought for the freedom we enjoy today. So after paying my respects at my local RSL service, I made my way to the iconic Palais Theatre to take in the soulful music of Hozier. Thursday night is the first of two sold-out shows in Melbourne, a testament to the huge following that he has amassed since his enormous hit Take Me To Church.
Opening the night’s proceedings was local musician Didirri, who has gone from being a Melbourne street busker three years ago to a full-time musician today. His 30-minute set was definitely not long enough, his onstage charm and beautifully written songs wowed the audience, he held them in the palm of his hand over the duration of his stage time. Didirri delivered black comedy as good as anyone who just performed at the Comedy Festival, add to that his rich voice and luscious locks and he really is the whole package. While he may have been just a guy and his guitar, he didn’t require anything more, captivating from his opening note Dirirri is one to check out sooner rather than later with all of his music available from the usual streaming outlets. I guarantee you will be keeping his soothing tunes on high rotation.
Talking about luscious locks, it was time for the main event and the man of the moment, Hozier. With a sell-out night one, the Palais was packed to the brim and calling the fans vocal would be the understatement of the year. The screaming was deafening as he and his band took to the stage, opening with the captivating Would That I. Dinner & Diatribes was next, followed by Nina Cried Power, which had quite a gospel feel to it. The extensive band were multi-instrumentalists and their singing complimented Hozier perfectly. It was then that Hozier suggested to the audience that the wooden things they were sitting on were “just a suggestion” and with that, the floor arose as one and happily stayed that way for the duration of the show.
With guitar changes a plenty, Hozier powered through his set including Someone New, which had the fans, myself included grooving like no one was watching. Nobody and From Eden slotted in nicely and Wasteland, Baby! saw Hozier take to the stage solo, just a perfectly placed light and his acoustic guitar. The addition of light poles at the rear of the stage projected well, along with a myriad of smoke machines which added depth to the performance. The band brought along their clapping hands and were not afraid to use them! They had us clapping on autopilot by nights end, even serving us up some pretty tricky rhythm changes which did have a few of the audience stumped with random claps ringing out from time to time, for future reference, never clap on one and three!
The light poles worked intricately with the bass drum and the impact was sensational from my vantage point. All the musicians and singers were brilliant, talented artists keeping the show running like clockwork and sounding sensational. The rear screen projected huge windows which changed colours over the course of the evening, something so simple, yet so powerful, as No Plan, To Be Alone and Almost (Sweet Music) played out. Movement saw the most magical of lighting play out with ribbons of white flooding the theatre and smoke billowing across the stage it was like a wonderland and quite stunning for the spellbound fans.
The song that needed no introduction was, of course, Take Me To Church, Hozier’s vocals sublime as we swayed in time, feeling like part of a congregation. He preached his music and we were the worthiest of receivers, hanging on every word. Leaving us hungry for more I was saddened as goodbyes were said, but we stomped and clapped hopeful of just a few more. The screams reached fever pitch as Hozier returned to the stage solo, delivering the most beautiful of songs, Cherry Wine, the fans singing so loud it sent tingles up the spine of even the most hardened. Once again just his guitar and a spotlight, stunningly sung and a highlight of the evening.
The band returned to the stage to play out the night with Work Song, the clapping was regimented but perfect, the singing taking it to celestial heights, the fans so invested some even welling up from the sheer loveliness. An exceptional choice to close out a most magnificent night.
Hozier’s music was food for the soul and the evening left me feeling like I just finished a delicious banquet, completely content and satisfied. A must see show of the highest order, you will laugh, sing and cry and you will love every minute!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale