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[Review] Eagles Of Death Metal @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle 28/07/2023

Review By Raelee Atkinson

When a band walks on stage and their intro song is “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you better strap yourself in and beware of those pelvic thrusts that really drive you insane!!! 

It’s a cold Friday night in the Steel City. Newcastle is one of those blue collar tough towns that like their rock n roll heavy, dirty and loud, so it is no surprise that there’s a line up around the corner to get into the new revamped King Street music venue, The Bandroom, to see American rockers, The Eagles Of Death Metal

The night starts off with The Southern River Band, hailing from Perth. The shirtless vocalist warms up the crowd regaling us with stories peppered with many expletives assuring us that he really is “a good singer”. The music is classic, true blue Aussie pub rock –  a’la Jet or Wolfmother. And for all the tongue in cheek lyrical bravado, these humble Aussie battlers really are talented, and the dude can sing. They’re tight. I’m impressed.  After a blistering 45 min set, they walk off the stage and I’m left wondering what is in the water in WA, because they certainly breed some amazing talent over there. The crowd is warmed up and ready for the main act. Let’s gooooooooo!!!!!

Richard O’Brien’s voice plays through the speakers … “listen closely…” as EODM enter the stage. They dance and camp it up, geeing up the audience, their stage outfits look a lot like Thrift Store Chic, there’s an abundance of handlebar moustaches and wigs and you just know that this is the prelude for an ‘interesting’ evening ahead. 

The crowd are singing along and doing the Time Warp dance with the band and the music fades out and EODM start their set with Got A Woman, followed by I Only Want You and Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!). Lead vocalist and guitarist, Jesse Hughes entertains the crowd with his camped up song introductions, sounding more like a Southern Baptist preacher, except hes not saving souls, rather, this rockstar is preaching sex n drugs n rock n roll, baby.  The crowd love it, they’re dancing, heads are bobbing, and everyone is singing along loudly. Hughes pauses to tell the crowd he was “SO high” as he arrived in town he was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to perform at that moment I see a flash of light in my peripheral vision, I turn my head and see a bunch of middle-aged bearded men passing the “peace pipe” around and the room is slowly filling with the fragrance of eau du sweet leaf. It all just seems appropriate for the vibe of this band – part rock n roll fantasy, part campy cosplay.

They continue by playing faves and classics such as Cherry Cola, Complexity, Silverlake and Heart On

Then, someone in the crowd is celebrating their 21st birthday and Hughes has the crowd singing Happy Birthday before continuing to playing Now Im a Fool, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn) and I Love You All The Time. The set ends with a cover of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream which showcases an amazing lead guitar solo. After a brief break, the band return for an encore of I Like to Move in the Night and Speaking in Tongues. Its an 85+ minute set that is designed to entertain and keep the crowd bopping along. And it delivered! 

FINAL THOUGHTS –  EODM are masters at the 3 minute rock tune, perfect for an ADHD society that can’t hold a thought for longer than a tv commercial. The EODM show is like a teenage rock n roll dreamscape for every kid who ever sung into a hairbrush or played air guitar on a tennis racquet and dreamed of being famous, playing on a big stage to a roaring crowd. It’s all about fun from go to whoa! No grown-ups allowed here!

Personally, I feel like a bit of a snob as I long for some depth. Surely these guys, now in their 50’s, would have something important to say, some life stories to share. I get that this is their schtick and I’m not dissing it at all, but as a music fan, and someone who just experienced an almost 90min set, I don’t feel like I have any insight as to who these people are once they walk off the stage. Yes, I was entertained. Absolutely.  Yes, they are talented, and yes, there is definitely an audience for this style of rock music as the packed out crowded room suggests. But for me, there was something missing – a personal connection. Not everyone needs that from music and or musicians, but I realise that I do. It’s not a criticism against the band, but it was part of my experience at this show, that  I learned something about myself, and that can only be a good thing. 

Definitely go and check The Eagles Of Death Metal out if you are a fan of bands like The Darkness, Dandy Warhols, The Hives,The Vines, and The Rolling Stones.

EODM are currently on tour in Australia, check local gig guides for details. 

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[Review] Pierce The Veil / Bear Tooth@ Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide 24/07/2023

Review By Suzanne Blacketer

From a venue upgrade to a sold out show I was not surprised to see hundreds of people lined up when I arrived at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. I’m not the biggest fan of a huge snaking lineup but when it’s for a gig of one of your favourite band’s you suck it up and jump on the end! Starting the week with a Monday night gig featuring Beartooth is about as awesome a start as you can get. Add Pierce The Veil and Dayseeker and you are in for a belter of a night.

Starting off the evening Orange County lads Dayseeker enter the stage to a roar from the crowd as punters continued to fill what little space remained in the venue. Opening with Dreamstate, which is also the opening track off their new album Dark Sun sees heartfelt lyrics delivered amongst melodic guitar riffs and crushing drums. Encouraging us to have a good fucking time the band lead into Crooked Soul as the screams of the female fans go up an octave.  Songs off the new album are peppered in amongst older crowd favourites like Sleeptalk. Rory laughs telling us that even though they are known as a sad song band their song Homesick is about being happy. Taking a moment to reflect Rory spoke about his father, about how he has always written songs about him and his dad’s battle with Parkinson’s disease and cancer, which sadly took his life in 2021. He dedicated Beyond Grave to his dad to which the crowd applauded. Dayseeker had the audience captivated from the first note with Rory Rodriguez’s powerful and emotive vocals taking us on a journey full of highs and lows. An awesome set from the opening act, setting the tone for the rest of the night.

Four years ago, this week I was in Brisbane seeing the very same band that was next on the bill. Beartooth holds a special place in my heart, as many of their fans will attest, their lyrics hit hard but also provide comfort and direction when things become overwhelming. As the first notes of Devastation echoed around the AEC the vibration in the air changed. A shirtless Caleb Shomo pranced and whirled around the stage, as he radiated an energy so high it pulsated out through the crowd elevating and electrifying us. For the next hour Beartooth took no prisoners. Hammering us relentlessly with all our favourites – Disease, The Line, Hated, Body Bag and newer single Sunshine. Caleb reflects on how his life has changed over the last four years, mentioning that anyone familiar with the band will know that the subject matter over four EPs has not been the most positive, leading us into the bands newest single that is only days old – Might Love Myself. He talks about how he has been alcohol free for nineteen months and the positive effects it has had on his life. He also shares with us that even when everything is going well anxiety can still occasionally rear its ugly head, telling us that not long before coming onto the stage he suffered from a panic attack. Connecting with the audience is something that Beartooth do extremely well. Everything about this set was just so damn wholesome and my heart is full.

Seven years’ worth of ear-splitting screams heralded Pierce the Veil’s arrival on stage. The band has obviously been missed by the Adelaide contingent of fans and I think that the band may have just missed us. Exploding into Death of an Executioner my eyes continually darted from one side of the stage to another as three bodies used every spare space they could find. Relief came between songs as the stage darkened while we prepared for the next onslaught. Touring Australia to celebrate the release of their latest album The Jaws of Life, PTV have brought the party spirit with them. Bulls In The Bronx and Pass The Nirvana revved the crowd up no end, helped along be confetti, streams of smoke and a crazy good light show. Vocalist Vic thanked the crowd for selling out the show, telling us it had been way too long, and they had missed us.  Vic thanked us for being there, apparently, we were supposed to ease our way into the gig, but we just turned it all the way up. Yes Adelaide! After a quick check to make sure that we had brought along our Emergency Contact we were back into moving our bodies. One lucky young lady named Charli was invited onto the stage for a sing and dance and was gifted Vic’s guitar leaving her speechless.  Well-rounded after a decade of playing together their energy was infectious and exhilarating. The Boy Who Could Fly, Caraphernelia and finishing with the huge tune King For A Day, music certainly does make the world go around. As the last note echoed through the arena and the lights slowly brightened, a few thousand sated punters meandered on home, hearts full, because music is life.

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[Review] Slowdive @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 22/07/2023

Review By Nikki Eenink

 A hipster in the World’s Smallest Beanie, a middle-aged couple with tattoos peeking out from under their jumpers and a leather-jacket clad goth walk into a venue. You ask them who they’re there to see. As a chorus they say, Slowdive. This was the exact situation I was faced with one freezing Friday night at Melbourne’s The Forum. And it was absolutely packed. Long before the opening riffs of support act Flyying Colours, the Forum is overflowing with swaying heads, bodies clothed in all black and the smells of uniquely spicy, floral perfumes. The anticipation hangs in the air, it mixes with impatience, and we all crane our heads, desperately waiting for the lights to dim. Slowdive has been sold out for a long time, and tickets were literally impossible to nab second-hand, so to say I was excited to be there, is an understatement. Clearly, everyone else is too. Two days after turning 24, I was ready to watch a band which defines a search for identity in your 20s. As the mothers of one of the Melancholic Youth’s favourite genres, shoegaze, the British 5-piece have been spitting out top-of-the-line, sad ambience since 1989.

Opening is Australia’s own, Flyying Colours. Who, despite having no bassist, create one of the most beautiful musical experiences I could ever imagine. Using backing tracks, the three vocalists create wonderous layers of loud. Songs like Ok sound better in the open spaces of The Forum, they linger in the air and taper off in such a delightful way. It is perfect harmony all the way through, the three voices melting together like butter, the guitars and the drums never fighting for dominance – instead sharing the sound equally. Flyying Colours really can’t be defined by genre. They have mastered shoegaze; with some tracks throwing it back to the 90’s – sad oozing chords, low voices which spit out lines of lovesick poetry. But equally, they can do poppier tracks, sort of Australian-picnic vibes. Either side of the coin, they are the perfect band to listen to on a car ride, they are a walking film soundtrack, they are the perfect opener for Slowdive. They don’t spend much time speaking to us, aside from the odd, profuse “thank you”, instead they take us from song to song. Their setlist is so heart wrenchingly gorgeous I don’t want the songs to end, and they know that. We are eating out of their hands, never wanting the spell to break. And then, they’re done, and we are left wanting more – and aching for tonight’s main act.

I find shoegaze especially hard to write about, the songs are wonderfully atmospheric, they take you on a journey that it can be hard to tell when one ends and when one begins. But Slowdive, masterful as always, have found the perfect way to punctuate their show. Behind the band is the biggest projection screen I’ve ever seen at a concert like this. Insane visuals dance across the screen throughout the show – Out-of-Body experience is putting it lightly.

Slowdive walk on stage so suddenly, softly, so without fuss. Rachel Goswell is wearing the most fabulous pink-and-red feathered cape. She takes the microphone with gentle hands, looking down at the floor before taking a big breath in – and we begin. Opening so strong with Slomo, the screen behind them wiggles and morphs, the graphic looking like oil on water. The insane rainbow acid-trip of colours cover the band, they look like silhouettes, peacefully strumming, plucking, and drumming. The song ends, and it’s clear Goswell is our spokesperson for the night. Between every song she just leans into the microphone and says, “Thank you”. In return, there is an endless sea of “We love you, Rachel!” being shrieked from the crowd. To this, again, she just says; “Thank you”, this time with a blushing side-smile.

Then we are thrown into it again. An absolutely unreal line-up of songs pours out of the band. From self-titled Slowdive, into Avalyn – with the visuals turning into something that looks like a sci-fi highway. Swirling lights, and long lines invite us to jump into a super-fast car – TRON style. Catch the Breeze into Star Roving are stunning, the lights on the band are just white, with a grey wash covering the stage. The visuals are insane, they only grow in complexity with each passing song. This time, there is a pill, moving and spinning – leaving trails of itself across the screen. On one side it says “SD” and the other “1-989”. I can’t look away. I feel my head moving from side to side as I follow it on its journey. It’s hard to say exactly where I went, but I couldn’t think about much of anything, except that I needed more of this music. Every bad feeling I’d ever had, every doubt, every moment of self-loathing was bandaged by the masterful drumming’s of Simon Scott, Nick Chaplin’s warm, moody bass playing and the indescribable guitar work of Christian Savill and main songwriter, Neil

Halstead. It’s all nearly too-much. The visuals and the sounds are a complete consumption of the senses, it’s easy to lose yourself, but it is just right.

It's during Souvlaki Space Station, that something special happens. At the end of the song, the screen becomes a wild place – harsh lights quickly pulling away, like we are being sucked into a black hole. And then I notice that someone is screaming. Or is it part of the song? I stand there, transfixed. I’m still not sure. But it is a guttural, primal scream from deep inside someone. Slowdive reached into their gut and pulled out all the shameful, painful shit inside. And in a fit of catharsis, they scream. And I realise, we all want to. I imagine myself screaming, throwing all of that shit against the projection screen, and letting the music of Slowdive suck me into the black hole – ready to be born anew.

Sugar for the Pill and Alison are such strong personal favourites. These songs have rescued me from dark pits with no end. I touch my cheek and realise I’m crying. And I’m not alone.

I think I’ve tried every anti-depressant on the market in an attempt to ease my daily melancholia. None of them put a dent in the physical and mental relief When The Sun Hits provides. This song has to be in the arsenal of every gently aged music-lover in a genuinely vintage concert shirt for some band we’ve heard a million times at a family friend’s barbeque, and every emerging adult, eyeliner laid on thick, peering at the stage through heavy eyelids. A lattice of projected lights shifts around the projection screen, lines all moving together; I can nearly hear its heartbeat. Everything Slowdive touches, turns to life. The soundwaves sit so thick in the air I breathe them in with every inhale and swear I can nearly touch the perfectly played melody. An entire audience does something between a sing, a yell, and a scream. “It matters where you are!” It feels like we sing it over and over, until it becomes a mantra. This crowd cares about each other, as weird and diverse as we might be, there is such an incredible community between us.

If you know me, you know I fucking hate encores. So, when Slowdive was gearing up for theirs, I was very humdrum. But then, they play Dagger and 40 Days. One is the closer of their cult-classic album, Souvlaki and is never given the praise it deserves, and the other is a cult-classic in its own right. They have absolutely smashed it. I almost like encores now.

The visuals turn off, and the band walks off again, Halstead holds his baseball cap in his hands. But we don’t want to leave. My legs ache, but my feet feel like lead. It takes everything in me to turn my back on the stage and head into the night.

I know I’ve just written 1400 words on it, but I still don’t have the right words to describe my experience at The Forum. I’ve been into the Slowdive black-hole, and I’m never coming back.

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