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Gig ReviewsReviews

The Plot In You @ Lions Art Factory, Adelaide 22/09/2022

It’s not often I go out on a school night these days but when The Plot In You, Erra and Deadlights come to town, Thursday night somehow becomes the beginning of the weekend! It had been far too long since I had last seen any of these bands play live, so with much excitement, I headed into the city.

With the crowd starting to build, the sound of Brisbane’s Deadlights echoed through Lion Art’s Factory. Having not had the opportunity to see this band live since the release of their latest album The Uncanny Valley the opening notes of Schedule 1 are literally, excuse the pun, music to my ears. This band holds a special place in my heart, stumbling across their amazing album Mesma back in 2017 was a major factor in starting my love for metalcore. The set list included a selection of songs from the new album like The King of Nowhere, Contact and Echo Chamber along with favourites Invisible Hands and Bathed In Venom. Vocalist Dylan Davidson addressed the crowd pointing out that we all had one job – to feed off each other and create some energy. Punters took this advice on board and ensured that energy was high for the remainder of the evening.

There are no two ways about it, ERRA are a class act and after a five year wait Adelaide was more than ready for them. The hammering intro of drums kicked us into Gungrave and set the scene for what was a wild ride. ERRA have a magical way of pulling you in and holding you there until they are ready to release you. While JT Cavey’s powerful vocal range took us on a frenetic journey, Jesse Cash’s melodic vocals gathered us in for brief moments of respite before we were catapulted back into the vortex. Gifting us with a varied selection of their catalogue, with songs like Scorpion Hymn, Eye of God, Drift, Snowblood, Breach and my personal favourite Skyline – Erra could do no wrong.

Releasing Swan Song since visiting our shores last you can feel the crowd’s anticipation to witness live some of the songs off this superb album. A lone Landon Towers appears on stage, the crowd erupts as Landon emotionally gives us the first lines of Face Me while being joined on stage by the rest of the band. Prowling the stage while delivering Fall Again, Enemy and Paradigm, Landon encourages the sea of fans to “show me some shit”. Adelaide obliged as the band broke into past hits including NOT JUST BREATHING, THE ONE YOU LOVED, RIGGED, Time Changes Everything and Take Me Away with the crowd helping vocally. Bodies were lifted above the crowd of swirling moshers who couldn’t seem to get enough. For a heavy band Plot deliver every song with such raw emotion that sometimes it’s hard to decide whether you need to mosh or cry. And then just like that the night was over. Fans slowly made their way from the venue emotionally and physically spent, but with the biggest smiles. Damn it's good to have not only live music back but to see international acts touring again.

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Gig ReviewsReviews

Marianas Trench @ Corner Hotel, Melbourne 17/09/2022

After 10 years and two rescheduled tours due to the “C” word, Marianas Trench finally made it back to Australian shores to perform their sold-out Suspending Gravity Tour.

Preparing the crowd, support band “Reside” opened the show playing their fast-paced Alt-Rock generating more energy for the already excited crowd.

As each song on the preshow playlist finished the silence between songs whipped the crowd into a frenzy only for them to back off once the next song started playing.

Finally, Marianas Trench took to the stage to screams of delight and thunderous applause.

Opening to the full house with the title track from their 2015 album “Astoria”, immediately bringing lead singer Josh Ramseys soaring vocals to the forefront, the next 90 minutes were full of all their fan favourites from across the catalogue.

Featuring songs like “Here’s to the Zeros”, “Shake Tramp”, “Cross My Heart”, “Who do you Love”  the entire set was full of energy from start to finish with many of the songs showcasing their signature trademark vocal harmonies, theatrical compositions, driving beats and the showmanship of Josh Ramsey.

The crowd was given plenty of opportunity to sing along and they knew all the words with the band making them go it alone on “All to Myself” and many of the songs throughout the set.

The band featuring Matt Webb on guitar, Mike Ayley on Bass and Ian Casselman on drums were left to hold the fort while Josh Ramsey went for a crowd walk during “Stutter” and “Haven’t had Enough” with Josh later thanking the audience for being one of the most respectful he has encountered on one of his walks.

Ever so appreciative of the crowd, Josh thanked everyone throughout the night and when the time for the encore came after smashing their popular hit “Fallout” instead of leaving the stage Josh said he was going to continue onstage as he was having such an amazing time.

Going solo for “Good for you” once again has the crowd showcasing their knowledge of the lyrics and singing along to every word.

Wrapping up the set with the operatic like “The Killing kind” which is also the last set off their album “Phantoms” Marianas Trench put on a show that exceeding all expectations and left myself and the crowd wanting more.

Hopefully, they are back on our shores in a much shorter timeframe than last time, playing bigger venues to many more fans which they deserve.

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Gig ReviewsReviews

H.E.A.T. @ Jive, Adelaide 11/09/2022

This is one gig I was quite excited to get to. Initially a double bill of Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T and Crazy Lixx, these were two bands I wasn’t sure I would ever get to see live in Australia. Thankfully we have promotors in this country who have survived the last couple of years and are still willing and able to take some risks and bring out some bands that don’t necessarily have a large commercial following here in Australia. Thank you, Silverback Touring, for this one!

Unfortunately Crazy Lixx dropped out of the tour quite late in the game but after initially being disappointed, my excitement grew quickly again as I continued to read so many glowing reviews of H.E.A.T’s live performances leading up to this night.

There was a lot of buzz about the band coming from social media, particularly once the tour progressed through the other states, before they finished their run here in Adelaide.

The gig in Adelaide was held at Jive, which is a great but somewhat intimate rock venue. There was most certainly a great vibe in the venue as everyone here seemed to be very keen to see out the weekend with a rock gig, before heading back to reality on the Monday. There was a lot of talk amongst the crowd about the great show they were expecting from H.E.A.T.

The beauty of getting to catch some of these tours in Adelaide, rather than a larger city, is that as a punter, you get to see the band in a more intimate setting, up nice and close. I would recommend more people from Melbourne and Sydney get tickets to Adelaide gigs! Who knows which bands you may never get to see in these smaller settings again! Despite this being a more intimate gig, it wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm from the crowd or in atmosphere at all.

Opening the show was Melbourne’s Wicked Smile, fronted by ex-Pegasus vocalist Danny Cecati. With big powerful vocals, riffing guitars, and a super melodic rock style, they sure suited opening for H.E.A.T and went down very well with the crowd.

The second support act was Cassidy Paris. As soon as Wicked Smile finished their set, half the band left the stage while the other half stayed on as Cassidy’s backing band (including her dad Steve on guitar), without a break between sets. Cassidy’s set showed her give a great high-energy youthful rock performance which showcased her songs nicely and further amped the crowd up for the main event. It’s great to see younger rock artists still coming through the music scene.

H.E.A.T kicked off their set at full speed with One by One from their 2020 album H.E.A.T II. Almost right away singer Kenny Leckremo had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he was a ball of energy from start to finish. Despite H.E.A.T being a melodic rock band, often known for the odd power ballad, their set did not contain one mellow tune or a single moment to catch your breath, they just ripped through a great set of big anthems with huge choruses and tons of energy. The next couple of songs also came from their 2020 album with Rock your Body and Dangerous Ground. The first song from new album Force Majeure was Hollywood which seemed to go down just as well as the material from their earlier albums. A definite highlight from the set for me was 1000 Miles from their self-titled 2008 debut album, although the set as a whole, which contained a good mix of songs from their career so far, didn’t have a low point to contrast this with.

By the time the band had worked their way through their set of 17 or so songs, they must have been exhausted. Not only had Kenny managed to keep his energy at 110% for the full set but Jimmy Jay on bass and guitarist Dave Dalone kept up the pace with him at the front of the stage. Rounding out the line-up was keyboardist Jona Tee, whose big synth chords were certainly a major part of the signature melodic H.E.A.T sound and Don Crash on the drums, who looked to be a sweaty mess by the time A Shot at Redemption closed out the set.

From the look of the big smiles on the faces of the band members and also on the faces of the crowd, I think it’s safe to say everybody in attendance had a great night at this gig and it would not surprise me at all if H.E.A.T returned to Australia for a second time within the next few years and played to even bigger audiences here.

To the rock fans who considered catching H.E.A.T but ultimately decided not to go, I hope you do get another chance because this is one band that really puts on a killer show that you don’t want to miss twice.

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Album ReviewReviews

Abreact – Deceivers are Coming

The Bendigo Hardcore legends, Abreact, are back with a brand-new album, Deceivers are coming, and they are just as hard-hitting and dirty as ever. This is the bands’ second full-length album in their 14 years of being together, forming in 2008, Abreact released their debut album Entities in 2012. A couple of singles and The Warehouse Sessions, which was recorded in Vancouver since this time but never a follow-up album, a band with the quality over quantity ideology, and goddamn, this is all killer and no filler!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Abreact, these guys are old-school hardcore, in music and ideology. They have a minimalist approach to their music and sound but don’t get me wrong, they sound massive for a 4 piece. With distorted dissonance coming from the guitar, a punchy as hell bass tone filling it out, and then put that on top of a seriously hard-hitting drummer, people wise that’s not much, instrumentally, well you take a listen for yourself, and lastly adding in the pure aggression and angst of Josh Cahill on vocals, you have an incredible mix for this band.

The work for this album started back in about 2020, Abreact released Paper Planes during the midst of the pandemic, and chatting to these guys during that year, they weren’t sure what exactly was going on, so they released it when they had the chance. This song and the other more recent single Honesty are the gateway songs into Abreacts world, they are easy to get into, chunky as hell and you will break your neck headbanging to these tunes. Paper Planes was also the first song/single to introduce Josh on vocals, this whole album is filled with some intense themes which he screams right into your face.

The previously mentioned songs are only the taster of what you will get on Deceivers…, stacked from start to finish with heavy, dirty riffs that sound like they are scraped off the gravel and then put into audio form with distortion, The Hate Resistance is a perfect example of this, pure dirt and grime! Abreact shows that something doesn’t have to be all fast riffs or technical to be dark and heavy, Occupy has a great mix of dynamics and is probably one of my, if not the favourite off the album, just wait for that song end, chaos ambience, brilliant!

Deceivers Are Coming is a strong and hard-hitting second album, they have taken everything that was done on Entities and just beaten the crap out of it, recorded that, and then sung over it! It takes no prisoners and shows you why they one of the best in business at what they do. These guys are always incredible live, and I can’t wait to see how much heavier these songs get with their own energy at a gig, make sure to get out and catch them when you can, you won’t regret it!

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Gig ReviewsReviews

Midnight Oil @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne 14/09/2022

Memories of a strapping young lad with an overabundance of excitement marching through the old brick gates of Friendly Societies Oval in Warrnambool come flooding to the fore as I sit in the august surrounds of the Palais, St Kilda, here is 2022. 

Memories of my very first encounter with the Midnight Oil live are littered with audible echoes from that 80’s crowd chanting Oils, Oils, Oils as I order a beer at the bar, scarcely believing that all these years later, my own adult son serves the frothy to his crusty old dad.  A dad who cannot process into reasonable thought where all those years went between then and now, but oh so privileged to share this moment with my son. 

Then I scan the crowd here assembled, and realise so many are making similar skips down memory lane.  Some fresh and youthful faces venture only so far as the offerings from Resist released in May of this year, while others recall with fondness a Redneck Wonderland, but tonight I share camaraderie with my brothers and sisters who put the black vinyl to the turntable with crackling ushering tracks like Powderworks and Surfing with a Spoon back in 1978, turning it up to eleven before that was a thing.  

We smile knowingly at one another acknowledging that our Aussie staple, the mightily Midnight Oil has literally provided the soundtrack to our lives over thirteen studio albums.  Some here were even at the very beginning when Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie, and Andrew James lured Peter Garrett to Farm in 1973.  Evidently, after burning enough of it, 1976 saw the name change to Midnight Oil and the rest is history.  A rich and rewarding history for band and fan alike, with so many twists and turns, triumphs, and tragedies made manifest in a magnificent and often politically charged plethora of magical musical moments in the unique style of Midnight Oil.  The Hirst signature beat, fronted by the familiar spasm-like celebration from Garrett that will be remembered always as his signature move, the shredding of Rotsey, the 80’s rhythm of Peter “Giffo” Gilford, the years of bass brilliance from the late, great Bones Hillman and the unfaltering brilliance of the multitalented Jim Moginie. Then the young man full of excitement from that first gig in 1986 realises that there will not be one more day of eating and sleeping.  No more will the Oils be there always and every day.  As regular as clockwork with a musical hit to bring current affairs to the ears of the young and old alike. All at an end. Behold Melbourne and commit all the magic to the pages of history. 

Tonight, it was advertised as a three-hour juggernaut of Oils tunes past and present, with no support band in place. How do they match the previous show just 2 nights ago? A show where they belted out a massive 27 song setlist with the energy of a band of 25-year-olds.

How do they do this? Well, in true Midnight Oil fashion, they mix it up a little, add a bit of Oils twist and keep us all on our toes. After all, there was plenty here for both nights at the Palais this week, so it was entirely appropriate.

What wasn’t appropriate was so many backs turned, yabbering loudly, and not giving the Welcome to Country the respect it deserved, I feel compelled to apologize because so many of the songs we were about to hear have helped in some way to bridge the gap that has existed between White Australia and our Indigenous brothers and sisters.  

So, with a tear in the eye because sadly this is one for the road and it all ends for Melbourne tonight.  The last Midnight Oil concert in Victoria and only a handful left for the band. Ever. This is the end.   

It was obvious that previous setlists were not to be followed for tonight’s performance as the welcome opening notes of Read About It blast forth from the stage to the obvious delight of the willing recipients. When Don’t Wanna Be The One followed up as a second offering the crowd again exploded into celebration.

Not knowing what to expect and what they were going to play next, Nobody’s Child, Stars of Warburton, and Under The Overpass were certainly lapped up in the appropriate fashion, but if decibels were any true unit of measure it seemed that the crowd was most ready to applaud loudest for hits of decades gone by.

We were all treated to a surprise addition of Common Ground which the band had dusted off from their ninth studio album Breathe. According to sources, this song has not been played live by the band since 2002.

The stage was amazing in its understated simplicity and certainly smacked of Diesel and Dust for me. Corrugated iron and Rob in the shadow of an old water tank. Perfect.

I feel it is superfluous to include each and every track from the gargantuan setlist. Suffice it to say that it was extensive in anyone’s language. I realise that some might be disappointed, as they may have expected something a little different, but for me, the tracks were certainly an appropriate celebration of the decades of the musical contribution that Midnight Oil has provided.

I guess it is a little like somebody who has loved the music over the course of their life but not necessarily identified with the politics behind some tunes or the political stance of some band members. Each to their own, and each entitled to their opinion especially as the words FUCK CAPITALISM emulated from the crowd in agreement with Pete’s proclamations.

Personally, I loved it and one of the big reasons was my feelings from right back at the start of the show. This genuinely felt to me, like an old-school, open-air regional show. Tracks that people felt were best celebrated with a trip to the bar or a cricket walk to the dunny along with those who realised the merchandise queue might be a little shorter now. It had the authentic feel of those shows of old. I must pause and reflect upon the splendid contribution of Adam Ventoura who I felt honored the contributions of past protagonists. 

Much to the approval of the crowd, Pete donned an “I stand with Ukraine” t-shirt, while they brought the tone down a little to visit some tracks with a common theme. Tracks such as My Country, Wedding Cake Island, and Wind in my Head.

Kosciusko kicked things off again and had the crowd lifting the roof off the newly renovated Palais Theatre. But when we heard the familiar beats of the start of Power and the Passion ring out, those still sitting launched themselves off their butts to sing out loud, it was quite the spectacle. 

All these years, all these hits, and a soundtrack that Midnight Oil has provided to so many lives will help ensure that no one’s years are Forgotten Years nor will the tremendous contribution of Midnight Oil ever be forgotten.

After taking a quick breather off stage, they returned one last time for a 3 song encore. Armistice Day, Beds Are Burning, and Hercules.

The crowd roared in applause for each member of tonight’s performance as everyone who shared the stage, lined up and took their final bows. Then the 5 band members were left to take their bow, and lastly, the original four took their final ever bow to their adoring Melbourne crowd. What a moment!

Unfortunately, most of the crowd appeared to believe that this was all just a fake encore and that surely there were more tracks on the setlist to follow. Those words of the ever familiar chant “Oils, Oils, Oils” rang out into the Melbourne night, however when the lights came on the parting words from the disappointed marred what was otherwise a phenomenally brilliant show. But that’s what this show is all about, the passion and the pain (or power and the passion, whatever you like 😊 ) the bitter-sweet meaning behind it all because … that’s it… no more. Never Again. And for me and so many, it was a thorough privilege to be present and to celebrate ONE FOR THE ROAD with the mighty Oils.

I would not normally make this superfluous addition but I feel compelled to make one humble suggestion. Look below at the MASSIVE setlist, and imagine the moments, pick your favorites and imagine hearing them for the last time ever live. Surrounded by like-minded peers in unbridled celebration and you have got it in one. Fell those goosebumps? Feel that lump in the throat? That was it right there. Thank you for the years, thank you for the tears, thank you for everything Midnight Oil.

Fri 23 Sep, 2022 Barnard Park Busselton, WA – 18+ [Resist]
Wed 28 Sep, 2022 Luna Park Big Top, Sydney – 18+ [One For The Planet]
Sat 01 Oct, 2022 Fellows Oval, ANU Campus, Canberra – 18+* [Resist]
Mon 03 Oct, 2022 Hordern Pavilion, Sydney – Lic. All Ages [One For The Road]

Tickets Available here

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