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[Review] La Dispute @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 27/08/2023

Review By Nikki Eenink

Towards the end of their show at The Forum, La Dispute vocalist Jordan Dreyer gives us a speech that sums up why I love emo music, emo shows and the Emo Community at large. “There isn’t a hand coming from the sky to fix the issues that befall all of us, especially the marginalised who have no safety net protecting them from a fall. What we do have, is each other. We have the ability to build a better world, Neighbourhood to neighbourhood, street to street, community to community. Looking out for our friends, looking out for each other, looking out for our Trans, LGBTQ, Indigenous friends. Genuinely fighting for each other. Whatever this subculture is; punk, emo, hardcore, whatever – we all found it looking for somewhere to belong. Life is really fucking hard, and the world is shitty. But it doesn’t have to be. When we come to these shows it reminds us that we can make it better, together. That we are in this together. You can save somebody’s life, man. Do that, save each other, because we need you here right now. We will never let each other lose hope for the better things.” No crowd, no show, no band has ever made that statement feel more real than La Dispute did on Sunday night. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime shows.

La Dispute’s 2011 album, Wildlife, has to be one of the most highly acclaimed and widely loved emo albums of the century. And tonight, 12 years after its release, the Michigan 5-piece are performing it in its entirety for a sold-out show. The house is packed. Goths, tattooed 30-something’s and Prozac teens in baggy pants move between each other, all jostling for a place in the middle of the ever-growing sea of people packed onto The Forum’s main floor.

Punching out the first 4 tracks of their knockout album without breaking a sweat, the energy from this band is just incredible. “We’re La Dispute, from Michigan.” Hell fucking yeah they are. The crowd is going fucking nuts. By the second song I think I’ve seen 2 people crowd surf. Hoots and hollers and a seat of heads and hands and cups are amped up and ready to go. Often, Dreyer will point his microphone at the crowd for a while, and just smile as 2,000 people scream until their vocal cords hurt back at him. As Edit Your Hometown draws to a close, he takes a moment to address us all.

“We’ve been making the long trek to Australia for 14 years. The last time we were here it was… 2009? We got hit up on MySpace. MySpace! It was a powerful tool, which sounds crazy to say. We got asked by a guy from Brisbane whether we wanted to make the trek down here. I want to say it was dumb and irresponsible, but at the time we didn’t care if we lost money or it took months, we just wanted to get to as many places as we could and perform for different people. We toured and we played practice spaces and an abandoned house, community halls… I’ll never forget those shows. And to come back and still be greeted that way… Thank you. It’s insane. This is the biggest venue we’ve ever headlined in our history as a band so… Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. This is fun. This is so much fucking fun. We wouldn’t be here without those guys who brought us over in 2009, so all of these songs tonight are dedicated to them. To Simon, Josh and for Errol. For all the friends that we’ve made. For all of you. Thank you. This song is called A Letter.” And we are sucked back into the Wildlife tour.

Every song is just incredible. Guitarists Chad Morgan-Sterenberg and Corey Stroffolino get this unbelievable tone with their guitars. Their playing mirrors each other, notes and strums melting together like butter. It’s luscious, rich and lingers in the room, it’s completely captivating. The bass work from Adam Vass is subtle, but adds a thickness to the sounds, bolstering those guitars so their instrumentals sit thick in the air like treacle. I can feel those bass runs in my legs, and Brad Vander Lugt’s drumming in my feet. The foursome are some of the best in the game, I’m certain. They’re never ego-driven, never wanting to detract from the others, but they all shine under the heavy red and purple spotlights which wash over the band. Dreyer’s distinctive scream pierces over the top of these intricate instrumentals, his brutalist poetry awakening something powerful within me. Dreyer is a master of combining a hardcore “scream” with wonderful singing voice, soft but sure of itself. He has an incredible range. He really feels his songs. He screams like someone is reaching down his throat and pulling out those ugly feelings, and he sings with the gentle assuredness of a lullaby. La Dispute, in every way, captures the duality of the world through their musicianship.

Eminem’s “Stan” has to be one of the most talked-about, highly regarded, incredibly intricate narrative rap songs of all time. In the same way that Stan is seminal to rap, and a light in Eminem’s career, King Park is one of emo’s golden children. From the weeks before the concert, to the train ride there, I was listening to it. I have blasted King Park since I was like, 14, and riding the school bus home, brooding. It’s been insanely influential. As soon as a Poem finishes, and the irratic, jumpings drums of King Park is upon us. If the crowd was jostling before, now they are rioting. Three people get lifted up to crowd surf and reach fpr Dreyer’s hand. He is more than happy to grab them at the wrist and share a moment of understanding with them. Fuck me these guys are slick. It sounds just as good as the recording, if not better. And this baby is intricate. Constantly changing time signatures, amazingly interwoven guitars, vocal control – it has it all, and they can do it all. The bridge in King Park has been memed to death, but is a genuine hallmark of Emo-tude. I see hands and phones go up. I take a big breath in, and scream with the army of people around me. Dreyer helps us out the first time.


BEAT. He just holds the mic to us. My voice gives out.


He waves his arm for us to get even louder. The walls shake.


This is catharsis.

A room full of people who would’ve been lobotomised 70 years ago hug each other and scream until they cry and cry until they scream. The greatest cure to our ills, is each other. The band head towards each other and wrap their arms around each other, like a knitted jumper. The two guys in front of me move their hips off their respective girlfriends and squeeze each other. One guy gives another his hat. The girl next to me wipes tears from her eyes, her friend yells “Thank you!” with a raspy voice. It doesn’t matter if we’ll go to heaven. We aren’t going to kill ourselves. Not now. Not with each other. There is so much love in this room. Strangers pass water around, lift shorter members of the mosh to the front. Solidarity. Community. It’s emotional and wonderous.

The main set draws to a close. I screamed, I cried, I laughed. As Dreyer gave the speech I quoted at the start of this review, some bloke behind me heckles; “Just play the songs fuckwit!” and he is booed. We are a politically aware bunch. It is the hardcore way to be against injustice, to be about self-betterment and community activism. I always say it’s funny that many emo followers are straight edge. A crowd of little stinkers losing their minds and never easing up for over an hour are powered by nothing but Coke Zero and a black nose ring.

The guitar work on I See Everything is gorgeous. It soars around the room, settling in our ears and making me out-loud groan when the song ends because of how spectacular those notes are. Dreyer never runs out of steam. His Ian Curtis-esque dancing becomes only more erratic and fuels the energy in that room. He kneels above the crowd, and they reach for him. The red lights make him look like Christ, saving the damned. Every time a song ends he pulls the microphone up, and in a whisper just says “Thanks”.

I proudly and openly hate encores. But this encore is a separate show. It’s 5 songs long, and next level. Andria is insane. The guitars are so beautiful, yet again. “Fuck transphobes!” Dreyer screams before leading the band into Said the King to the River, a masterpiece of a song. I am a ball of fury, all limbs. The drumwork is perfectly controlled chaos. It mirrors our body movements. It’s impossible to tell where the music ends, and the sound of our feet hitting concrete begins.

And finally, we finish with Such Small Hands. I had given up hope that they’d play this absolutely miserable, undeniable banger. It’s spiritual. I am herded to the back, desperate to de-sweat, when I hear those twinkling guitar notes. An animalistic noise comes from the crowd. Dreyer isn’t going to let us go without a bang. Immediately, we all push forward again. The people in the seats are screaming, too. The song is barely 90 seconds long, but I wish I could bottle them and live there forever.


Dreyer points the mic at us;


We yell and scramble over each other. Washing ourselves clean of all our heartbreak.

And then it’s done.

A girl on my train cries with her headphones on, donned head-to-toe in La Dispute merch. We smile at each other.

I love emo music. I love this community. I. Love. La. Dispute.

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Filter – The Algorithm

“Everyone has an algorithm. An algorithm is a problem that needs to be solved.”  — Richard Patrick

It’s been seven long years since the last studio album by platinum-selling Post-grunge, Industrial / Alt Rock pioneers, Filter.

A lot has happened in those seven years and my first thought is, how relevant can a band from the nineties that has been on hiatus for seven years, be at this point in time. My second thought is, perhaps they just need the cash, like we all do. It's jaded of me to think this way, and I'll be the first to admit that I was happily surprised and delighted by this album. It feels and sounds relevant and is obviously written by an artist who loves being creative for a living. As the saying goes, ‘do what you love and love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life’. Richard Patrick surely has taken this concept and run with it.  

Filter is primarily the project of American singer, songwriter, musician, producer, Richard Patrick. Formed in 1993 in Cleveland, Ohio, with guitarist / programmer Brian Liesegang after Patrick decided to leave his role as touring guitarist for Nine Inch Nails. Their debut and sophomore albums both  achieved platinum status. Current touring members include Jonathan Radtke, Bobby Miller and Elias Mallin.

The Algorithm is the eighth studio album for Filter.

Patrick stated recently in an interview that The Algorithm is essentially a concept album.  The premise being, that an astronaut comes back to earth to find it is almost completely destroyed, there are only a few people left living on the planet.  The Algorithm is the story of the astronaut trying to find out why this has happened. Song themes include addiction, war, misinformation and climate change. 

The Algorithm starts with a moody yet chaotic track titled The Drowning, with rumbling bass and metallic guitars it is a heavy introduction to the album and is a part of a triptych that plays alongside Up Against The Wall and first single from 2022, For The Beaten, whose heavy riff is almost jarring but is saved by an anthemic style melody and swelling chorus. This trio of songs carries all the angst that fans of singer/songwriter Richard Patrick and Filter, love and have come to expect. The angst meter is dialed up to 11 and I’m feeling the apocalyptic gloominess engulf me. 

Next up is Obliteration, a song about alcoholism. Patrick is quite open about how he realised that he needed to deal with his own alcohol addiction, saying it was his “algorithm” to solve. Celebrating 20 years of sobriety next month, Patrick sees this as his greatest achievement. In Obliteration, he expresses the chaos of addiction with heavy riffs, power chords and a soaring chorus. It’s only three and a half minutes long but I'm feeling emotionally exhausted.

Facedown starts with an electronica style groove and showcases Patrick’s falsetto. The chorus hits with chugging, crunchy guitars. There’s a lightness that juxtaposes the message of misinformation. Patrick says he wrote this “after being inundated with lies, deception and pure vitriol every day”

The next track is Threshing Floor. It has that industrial rock sound that is  synonymous with artists like Marilyn Manson, in fact, I can easily imagine MM performing this track. 

Be Careful What You Wish For is where I can clearly hear the Nine Inch Nails / Trent Reznor influence the strongest. There’s a groove to this track that makes me want to dance. As I’m shaking my tush, the repetitive mantra “be careful what you wish for” feels almost hypnotic by the end of the song.

Burn Out The Sun is a soft melodic guitar-driven track that meanders along gently, giving the listener a reprieve from the heavy moodiness of the previous tracks. Did we just time travel to the 1970s? Maybe, but we quickly return and the album is rounded off with the acoustic sounding, but lyrically bold, Command Z. It’s raw and in your face, but I feel more heard in these lyrics than I have in a very long time. 

“Sometimes the shit just piles up, I wash my hands and then what, Played by the rules and got fucked, Cross my heart swear to god but something died”….. “I gotta find my life on backup, Command Z undo my fuckups, Outside world is theirs and blown up, Fade to black, Open wide, movie screen live love and die”. 

This poetry is real life and I daresay we’ve all felt that way at some point over these past few years. 

Richard Patrick has spent three decades pushing musical and lyrical boundaries. A pioneer who has been applauded and awarded for giving a generation a soundtrack to their lives. At 55 he is still relevant and has plenty of relatable stories to share with us. As a peer, I was vaguely aware of Filter, back in the day, but to be honest, I was more a NIN / Reznor fan during Filter’s heyday but this album has me delving through the Filter back catalogue and wishing I had caught the train at the time. Better late than never, I guess. 

As a whole, the album feels fresh and interesting and I put this down to the fact that Patrick has co-written the songs with several different people, all of whom have injected something different into this sonic landscape.

The Algorithm at first appears to be gloomy, bleak and depressing. It feels dystopian and almost claustrophobic in its heaviness at times, giving me the distinct impression that Patrick struggles to communicate any other way than through his music, with layer upon layer upon layer of angst, but after further listens, I realise it is more a search for understanding and positivity in a rapidly changing world and society divided. 

If you’re a fan of Nineties-Naughties Industrial Rock and Metal such as NIN, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Stabbing Westward, Blue Stahli, and Static X you might just like to add this to your playlist. 

The Algorithm was released on August 25th and is available on all streaming services and through Australian label, Golden Robot Records. 

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[Review] Avatar @ Metro Theatre, Sydney 26/08/2023

Review By Megan Milner

The enigmatic carnival of chaos known as Avatar has finally graced Australian shores, for the very first time. With a string of three exhilarating performances down the east coast, Melbourne had the privilege of being the inaugural stop on this wild journey. However, tonight, it’s Sydney’s turn to step into the mesmerizing circus. My introduction to Avatar was back in 2016 when I embarked on a heavy metal cruise called Shiprocked, a five-day odyssey from Miami to Mexico. It was within those tempestuous waves of music that I first encountered and fell head over heels for Avatar. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness their captivating stage presence on four separate occasions, spanning across international stages, including this year’s Download Festival UK. The culmination of this journey finds me here tonight, as I stand on the brink of experiencing the band’s full headline set on home soil—a dream I’ve wished since that initial encounter seven years ago. Thanks to the incredible team at Phoenix, my long-awaited wish has been granted.

The night kicked off with anticipation and excitement, as fans eagerly awaited the spectacle that was about to unfold. After a late change in the lineup due to an unfortunate injury, Pyrefly took the stage, setting the tone for the night with their energetic and powerful performance. In the brief span of their 30-minute time slot, this group managed to forge a passionate fanbase among those who might not have previously encountered their music. Lead vocalist and charismatic frontman KJ even fearlessly ventured into the midst of the audience midway through their set, seamlessly becoming one with the crowd. Despite the absence of Our Last Enemy, the crowd’s spirits remained high, ready to embrace the main act. 

Avatar’s reputation preceded them as a band that’s crisscrossed the globe, appearing on the largest international music festival stages, leaving a trail of mesmerized fans in their wake. As the lights dimmed, a deafening roar erupted from the crowd, signalling the beginning of an unforgettable night. The two guitarists Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby, Tim Öhrström and bass player Henrik Sandelin strode onto the stage, commanding attention standing completely still with their hands behind their backs facing the crowd, soon joined by drummer John Alfredsson who distributed their instruments via a masked roadie. 

The concert took off with explosive energy as Avatar launched into Dance Devil Dance and The Eagle Has Landed. A standout of the set for me personally was Bloody Angel from their 2104 masterpiece Hail The Apocalypse. During each song, the four members in front of the drum rise were windmilling with their luscious locks, my neck already in agony after a few songs. I really need to find out the Avatar trick, to doing this night after night! Johannes, the mesmerizing vocalist and ringmaster extraordinaire initiated the evening by establishing an unusual but alluring connection with the audience—consent. It was an unexpectedly enthralling way to kick off the night, a precursor to the eccentric yet electrifying journey that awaited us. 

Johannes left the stage during Puppet Show, only to reappear on the balcony to the left of the mosh pit, entertaining the crowd with balloon animals and a larger-than-life gold trombone performance. The band’s showmanship was nothing short of extraordinary, seamlessly blending music and theatrics. Even with the humorous interludes, Avatar’s musical prowess remained undeniable. The guitarists, Tim and Kungen, engaged in a riveting riff battle that left the audience in awe. Their performance showcased their talents as much as their camaraderie. 

Most metal drummers are hidden with cymbals and dark lighting from beyond. Although this is not the case for Alfredsson as from the very beginning of the night, when he handed out the instruments, he was as much a part of the carnival of madness as those up front. He towers above his kit, eyes wide and staring down the members of the crowd. His still body contrasted magnificently with the frenetic movement of his arms as they navigated the drum kit. 

Colossus turned the tables, with the band freezing in place while the crowd watched in anticipation. The interplay between the performers and the audience created a dynamic and immersive experience, making everyone an integral part of the show. Moments of respite arrived as Johannes took to the piano for Tower, connecting with the audience on a more intimate level and offering a temporary reprieve from the electrifying chaos. He called us family and thanked each one of us from his soul, and we all felt the sincerity. 

Avatar’s latest single, The Dirt in Buried In, already a fan favourite, was met with thunderous cheers. It was later announced Avatar have gained their very first Billboard number 1 with the song in America, congratulations! The setlist skillfully balanced heavy, melodic tunes, showcasing the band’s versatility and dynamic range. 

The concert culminated in a breathtaking crescendo with Hail the Apocalypse and Smells Like a Freak Show. These final two songs encapsulated the essence of Avatar’s music—powerful, heavy, melodic, and anthemic. The synergy between the band and the audience reached its zenith as everyone sang along, forming a harmonious union of sound and emotion. 

As the final notes reverberated through the venue, a palpable sense of fulfillment hung in the air. Avatar had delivered a flawless performance, leaving the audience happy yet yearning for more. The setlist was meticulously curated, a whopping 17 songs, the interaction with the crowd was unparalleled, and the band’s musical prowess and theatrics were on full display. 

Leaving the concert venue, I couldn’t help but feel that something special had transpired. Avatar had not only brought their music to Sydney but had also forged a profound connection with the Australian audience. The hope for a lasting and beautiful relationship between Avatar and Australia seemed not only plausible but inevitable. Avatar’s enchanting performance defied genre stereotypes, inviting everyone to join their captivating circus. It was more than a concert; it was an unforgettable experience that left a lasting imprint, beckoning us to return to the madness, again and again.

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[Review] Evanescence @ Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney 26/08/2023

Review By Raelee Atkinson

After a long wait outside Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park, the crowd finally made their way to their seats as the support band entered the stage. Melbourne all-female band, The Beautiful Monument put on an energetic and entertaining  performance, which included their popular tracks, Give Up, Stay, Deceiver and Hellbound. The Beautiful Monument warmed up the winter-chilled audience and are clearly fans of and inspired by the main event – Evanescence.

After a short break to reset the stage, it’s 9pm, and the arena lights dim and Rage Against The Machine classic Killing in the Name played followed by The Bitter Truth opening track, Artifact / The Turn the stage lights came up and Evanescence took the stage to the excited roar of the crowd. Opening with Broken Pieces Shine, flowing into What You Want, then the opening track from Fallen, Going Under, and The Bitter Truth’s, Take Cover are played before the first medley for the evening. Lose Control / Part Of Me / and self-titled’s Never Go Back amalgamate into one song. Then it was time for The Open Door hit single (and my personal fave), Call Me When You’re Sober. 

Amy Lee chatted to the audience between songs and introduced their “new” bass guitarist, from Sick Puppies, Australian, Emma Anzai saying this felt like a “hometown tour” with an Aussie now in the band. The crowd cheered loudly then they played The Bitter Truth single, Wasted On You with Emma singing background vocals, blending beautifully with Amy. 

A grand piano was then wheeled onto the stage and Amy Lee sat and began to  play Lithium, from The Open Door. The audience sang along loudly to this fan favourite. They followed with Far From Heaven, Better Without You both from The Bitter Truth, then as the band played Fallen’s Imaginary a video montage played on two large screens, commemorating 20 years of debut album, Fallen. Lee’s voice soared as she sang End Of The Dream from the self-titled album, then it was time for another medley – Haunted / My Last Breath / Cloud Nine / Everybody’s Fool / Weight Of The World /  and rounded out with Whisper

Lee stopped to introduce the next song telling the audience that no one can speak for us only we can speak for ourselves, and that we aren’t just one small voice, that we are stronger together, the speech received a rousing applause and segwayed into Use My Voice, and Blind Belief from The Bitter Truth. The grand piano is wheeled back onto the stage and as Lee played the opening notes from My Immortal, the audience, cheered, sighed, applauded loudly, and sang along, lighting the torches on their mobile phones. It was an incredible sight to see the large arena filled with what looked like thousands of fairy lights as Amy’s lush voice filled the auditorium. 

Saving the best till last, it was finally time to hear the song that started it all for Amy Lee and Evanescence, Bring Me To Life. As Lee begins singing the haunting, opening notes,

“How can you see into my eyes like open doors? 

Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb…”

I could feel the excitement and anticipation from the audience.  It’s the one song we’ve all came to hear. Love it or loathe it, it’s just not an Evanescence concert without it! Everyone came here to sing along to this classic song and when the chorus hits, I could hear people around me singing the male vocal part, originally performed by 12 Stones vocalist / rapper, Paul McCoy. 

During the song, Lee encourages everyone to join in as this is “(y)our last opportunity to be part of it this evening”. By the bridge, the audience are practically shouting and many have stood up from their seats and are dancing.

It finally feels like a celebration of a milestone as a “cannon” shoots out purple and mauve streamers overhead. As the streamers fall, the song finishes and the band come to the front of the stage to toss picks, a guitar pick guard and a drum head into the GA (General Admission) audience in front of the stage. They pose for the obligatory end of show band pic and the band left the stage with waves goodbye, and the house lights came up. I turned to my brother and said “what? no encore?” This seems to be a trend we are seeing, though. 

So, in summary, I loved the Evanescence concert. It was a long 20 years of waiting to finally see this much loved band perform some of my favourite songs live, but so worth the wait. Sharing the experience with my brother was the icing on the already delicious cake. The band were tight and professional, entertaining the audience without overly drawing attention away from Amy Lee. The sound was a bit muddy at times, but I’m thinking that is the venue, not the band. Cameras filming the show and projecting onto 2 large screens either side of the stage meant that whether you were front row on the rail or back row in the nose bleeds, you had some kind of view of the band and as a shorty, that gets bonus points from me! I loved seeing Emma Anzai play – one of my highlights. Amy Lee is beautiful and charming, she chats with the audience, is gracious and expressed her gratitude for the 20 years of “love and support” for her music career. Her vocals are stunningly on point and it’s my opinion that she has improved with age as a vocalist and a performer. First album, Fallen is a gothic, emotional album and latest album, The Bitter Truth has a more current, political vibe to it, so it is no surprise that the audience was a veritable melting pot that varied in age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economically. It was heartwarming to see mum, dad and the kids all enjoying the concert together.  I highly recommend that if you enjoy Evanescence’s music and don’t already have a ticket for the remaining dates on this tour, that you do so forthwith – it’s totally worth it! 

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[Review] Teddy Swims @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 25/08/2023

Review By Terri Nas

A mild August night in the city led me to the Forum Theatre last Friday, to go and experience Mr Teddy Swims for the first time. The Georgia-born singer is currently touring the world and blowing away audiences on his “I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy Tour”, accompanied by his 5-piece band Freak Freely. For the amount of gigs I’ve been to throughout my life, this old music lover is ashamed to admit that she has never been to a gig at the Forum so it was a night of firsts all round for me.

The 94-year-old theatre is a beauty in itself, with its iconic ceiling and clever lighting that has you believing you’re star gazing under a night sky, which instantly sets the tone as soon as you enter its doors. Being a recently initiated Teddy fan myself and given the diversity of his music style, I was interested to see the demographic of his audience that flock to his concerts were predominately aged between 30-50. 

There was a buzz throughout the crowd who were settling into position and  keenly anticipating having their socks blown off. To begin the sock-blowing process, young Aussie talent Mia Wray kicked off proceedings with a hauntingly beautiful acapella version of Work For Me. From the first note the packed theatre was in complete silence, mesmerised by the spell her incredible voice had cast on us. A collective case of hardcore goosebumps ensued, and this was one hell of a baptism into her music for me. Mia was absolutely brilliant and I’m now officially a huge fan and can’t get enough of her voice. Her entire set was incredible and included Never Gonna Be The Same, Evidence & Monster Brain.

The crowd was now officially warmed up and we didn’t have to wait long at all for Teddy to arrive. Thank god he opened the show with 911, because we needed the paramedics and fire brigade on standby for this shit-hot show. For The Rest Of Your Life followed in which Teddy promised to deliver an even better show, than when he was on Australian shores last year. When the iconic piano intro of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ started up, the crowd went crazy and they couldn’t help but sing along passionately to every single word of the 80’s rock classic.

Naughty Teddy then told the story of when he got into trouble with his girlfriend over some ‘compromising’ photos on his phone, which inspired What More Can I Say. At this point, the crowd just wanted to keep upping their Dose of the drug that is Teddy’s voice. Teddy has a voice that reverberates throughout your entire core and will evoke a range of emotions within you in just a few brief notes. Devil In A Dress was a crowd favourite, which was followed by Someone Who Loved You which was written about Teddy’s “stupid ass ex-girlfriend” as he so bluntly put it.

When the opening bars of Lose Control fired up, that’s exactly what the crowd did, and this song being one of my favourites had me feeling all the things and getting completely lost in the moment. Amazing was next on the list and whilst still trying to recover from its predecessor, this heartfelt love ballad planted a lump in my throat and had all the couples in the room holding each other just that little bit tighter. With it’s beautiful lyrics and his mesmerising voice, I was simultaneously melting through the floor whilst trying to hold my tears back throughout the song’s entirety.  

Teddy then went on to remind us that the most important people in the world are mothers, and that we need to always treasure them. His Shania Twain cover of Still The One-which is one of the songs responsible for thrusting him onto the world stage- was next so as he led into it he beautifully dedicated it to all the mamas out there. We were then treated to a new song off his latest album, Some Things I’ll Never Know, which is about relationships ending and not getting the closure you need to move forward. Teddy was visibly emotional and overwhelmed at the crowd’s response and couldn’t have been more appreciative and humbled by the love and support he received from his fans.  

A rendition of Happy Birthday was sung to his best friend and tour photographer who was hiding side of stage, and Teddy gushed about how wonderful his best friend is and added that he is blessed to have the best job in the world. Emotions were still running high, and he was still trying to recover and “get his shit together” as he led into All That Really Matters.

At the conclusion of the song Teddy disappeared and we were left wondering if we would get an encore as the crowd definitely weren’t done with him yet. He reappeared a few minutes later to let us know that he was “about to piss his pants” which was the main reason for his sudden departure. When the band fired up the first couple of bars of the classic Tennessee Whiskey, the crowd went mental and I myself, nearly had a heart attack as it is one of my most favourite songs. Teddy’s voice really is as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey and is so well-suited to this song, and the crowd couldn’t help but sing along to the smooth country love ballad.  

Teddy’s departing gift to us was his hit song Bed On Fire, which left the crowd on a complete high. Despite his husky soul voice with a dash of falsetto for good measure, he manages to adapt himself seamlessly into multiple genres like soul, pop, country & RnB, broadening his talent and his fanbase. His fun-loving but humble personality makes him appealing, and you can tell that he truly appreciates his fans and the love that they show him. It was a bloody brilliant gig all round and if you’ve never heard of Teddy Swims, then I implore you to jump onto a streaming app and check out his stuff because I can guarantee you definitely won’t be disappointed.  

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[Review] Loveless @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 20/08/2023

Review By Emily

Pop culture has forever been a universal language, consistently infiltrating the minds of the current teen population. The popularity of TikTok has opened the scope for influencers worldwide, globalising the music scene more than ever, and Loveless is no exception. Riding off the recent resurgence of the emo scene, the Los Angeles locals who formed in mid 2020 have amounted an incredible international fanbase in a matter of months. Making their Melbourne debut, the boys of Loveless lived up to their online hype – selling out the iconic 170 Russell with a sensational punk-rock set reminiscent of the early 2000s greats including My Chemical Romance and Evanescence.

Closer to home, Sydney locals Closure set the tone for the short-but-sweet evening. Having released their first single in 2019, the band have had years to perfect their sound. Fronted by the enchanting vocalist Lucy May, the set played out with a perfect blend of originals and covers, each track feeding energy directly into the crowd. Starting out strong with a rock cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, Closure demanded the room’s attention. A particularly refreshing element was the consistently heavy, screeching guitar riffs that rang through every track, adding a level of emotion that cannot be portrayed through lyricism alone.

Although leaning heavily into the punk genre, Closure’s music remains bright and energetic, capturing the highs and lows of the emotions of their young adult audience. Bleed Out (No Wonder), the band’s newest single was a sure highlight of the set – backed by catchy electronic elements and an overlay of heavy metal drumming, ‘this is a fucking angry song’. Lucy’s vocals on this new track sound very similar to the bright emo tones of early records from The Veronicas, paired with a screamo-style backing from the band.

Their debut single, Bedroom, may have been released a number of years ago, however the catchy guitar riffs and dreamy vocals make it one of the band’s strongest tracks. The relatable lyrics of loneliness and the ramifications of hook-up culture are as heartbreaking as they are empowering, and were the perfect way to rial up the audience one final time. Heavy headbanging and flying arms played out the set as the venue quickly hit its capacity in perfect time for Loveless to take the stage. 

Exploding into the mainstream charts in 2021 as a cover band, Loveless is ready to make a name for themselves as a heavyweight in the alt-pop scene. Blending modern hits with high-velocity hard rock and punk vocals, the band has nailed down their sound extraordinarily quickly, subsequently growing an incredibly loyal online fanbase. Putting faces to the screen names of their fans, 170 Russell found itself bursting at the seams on Sunday night to welcome the LA locals. Hitting all the conventional Aussie traditions, the band sunk a few VB’s, did a shoey, and became the captains of an ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ chant within their first 10 minutes on stage.

The simple production allowed all attention to be placed on front man Julian Comeau. The perfect leader for a band, Julian came out guns blazing, not only vocally, but in his incredible physical performance. Channelling an early rock god, Julian’s ability to make contact with every audience member adds a warmness to their set, and a complete obliteration of the fourth wall. Starting out with a single from their breakout, self-titled album; Haunting Me was met with the energy expected of an encore performance. Racing and jumping around the stage, it was unfathomable to think the band was going to keep up such high intensity, and quality instrumentalism for the entire hour.

I Hope I’m Not Sick showcased the leaning into a new rock genre. High energy, upbeat drumming making it impossible not to smile and dance, even through the dark lyrical themes of mental health struggles. The light that Loveless is clearly providing for their fans who may be struggling with loneliness and self-worth is immense, and their warm community is something for any band to strive for.

Julian’s vocals are undoubtably flawless, with a range and projection that perfectly fills out the band’s discography. Filled with emotion and life, these vocals paired with fast-paced rock drumming gives that perfect dichotomy of teenage angst, the replication of a racing heart and mind typical of adolescent years.

The time between each track was a comedic pause in what is such imposing music. The banter back and forth between Julian and his bandmate and guitarist, Dylan was abrupt, yet acted as a time for air between such heavy-hitting songs. The band’s ability to think on their feet as juvenile jokesters had the audience in fits of laughter, bridging the gap between artist and listener. Coming into the limelight as online personalities, Loveless has done an incredible job at transferring these fan relationships into meaningful face-to-face interactions – even stopping the show at one point to sing Happy Birthday to their many fans who were celebrating that night.

Powering though their two-album catalogue, Loveless touched on all their hits including sorry i’m a downer, For You, Killing Time, IS IT ME, as well as some of the fan-favourite deep-cuts. It was so clear the band were simply here to have a good time, rather than to perform a perfectly planned spectacle. Playing through a plethora of tech issues, they didn’t miss a beat, nor did they lose the captivation of the crowd. Still becoming accustom to their overnight fame, there was a genuine feeling of gratitude and excitement in the air as Julian pondered, ‘You know what’s weird.. this is our job’.

With such a unique and attractive sound, and an army of fans, this is just the beginning for the alt-rock duo. Closing out the night with a brightly lit, high energy tune Drag Me Down, it felt as though the audience was not ready to say goodbye to their idols. This extraordinary level of anticipation is set to lead Loveless into many more successful Aussie tours in the future, making a promise on their departure, ‘we will be back soon’.

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