Review By Samantha O'Neil
The year is 2006, Google is buying YouTube for $1.65 billion, Pluto is being downgraded from planet status and 5 friends from Byron Bay are coming together to form a band which they would call In Hearts Wake.
They were likely unaware that 17 years later, as established heavy weights of the genre, they would be touring the country, playing their first studio album Divination from front to back to celebrate its release 10 years prior.
I'm sure they weren't thinking that on an otherwise uneventful Friday night in April 2023, the band would be playing their first show of the Decade of Divination Tour. That they would be headlining at the legendary Metro Theatre in Sydney to a room of people who have come along that night to re-live an album that seemingly means as much to the fans as it does to the band.
Sporting an impressive list of opening acts, the show got started with Australian bands The Gloom In The Corner, a metalcore band from Melbourne and Diamond Construct, a metal band based in Sydney.
Third on the roster was Stray From the Path, a hardcore punk band from Long Island, New York. Fronted by charismatic Drew York, Stray From the Path were exceptional. SFTP had a look and a sound that was straight out of the heyday of the punk era with a stellar performance, worthy of its own headlining tour. Their high energy had the crowd completely transfixed the entire set, York even stopping the show at one point to make sure everybody knew that whoever you are, you will always be welcome at a Stray From The Path show. They were the perfect choice to warm up the audience.
As captivating as they were, eventually Stray From The Path had to wind down their set to make way for the main event. The stage transition was so smooth and efficient, giving the crowd only just enough time to grab a drink from the bar before the lights were down again and the final ride was about to begin.
All of a sudden, someone in a reindeer onesie appears from the left of the stage with a cardboard sign and a handwritten message that says, ‘Make some noise’ and the crowd complies. Guitarists Eaven Dall and Ben Nairne, bassist Kyle Erich, and drummer Conor Ward all emerge on stage and the reindeer rips off the head to the onesie to reveal that of vocalist Jake Taylor smiling underneath.
Almost immediately, they begin the first song Neverland (The Star) and it is mere seconds before the entire crowd is jumping.
Somehow it feels like no time has passed before they arrive at track 8, Shapeless (Judgement). Taylor begins speaking of the love and appreciation that the band has for the people they have made music with and without revealing what is to come, the crowd seems to know exactly what he’s saying. They start to chant. ‘Adrian, Adrian, Adrian’ and just as if the crowd had summoned him, Adrian Fitipaldes appears. Taking a break from his new career as a psychologist, the former vocalist of fellow Australian heavy metal band Northlane takes the stage with IHW to reprise his feature on the track, and it is one of the standout moments of the night.
Other notable moments include the impromptu game of capture the flag mid show and the extra 7 songs outside of the Divination track list that the band performed, their energy not waning for a second.
In live music, a lot goes into the overall experience. The venue, the openers, the energy of the performers and the vibrancy of the crowd will all affect the feeling you get when you walk away from the show. Whether by design or by complete accident, all the ingredients were mixed together to perfection, to create the type of gig you hope never ends, where each song bleeds into the next and you never even think to check your watch because the time seems to just disappear.
Music can be such a unique and multi-faceted tool. Not only does it give the artists an outlet of expression, it can also be a sanctuary to those who listen, the lyrics potentially providing somebody their first instance of relating to something, of being understood. It can make us realise that we’re not alone in the world, and upon further research, it would seem that is exactly what Divination was to a lot of people. The intimate feeling of the Metro Theatre is superb at providing the perfect setting for the band to deliver such a special show, celebrating an album that even after 10 years, means so much to the fans.
In Hearts Wake ‘Decade Of Divination' Tour
w/ Stray From The Path (USA)
The Gloom In The Corner
Thursday 4 May 2023 - Max Watt's, Melbourne
Friday 5 May 2023 - Unibar, Adelaide
Saturday 6 May 2023 - Metropolis, Fremantle
Tickets from inheartswake.com