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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Of Mice & Men, Metro Theatre, Sydney 24/02/2024

Two nights ago I was in Sydney for another gig and it was hotter than Satan’s armpit. Last night by comparison, I was wearing a hoodie, beanie, scarf and was still shivering! I also decided to brave the public transport system, since the train would be (and was) filled with a slew of Swifties, and also a smattering of Blink 182, Slash and Of Mice & Men fans, I figured it was safe to travel late at night.

Upon arrival at the venue, there was a growing line of black band tee shirts. Security staff came out to gather up those who had booked in for the Meet & Greet while the rest of us waited patiently to be let in.  The clock struck 8pm and doors opened. The floor area filled up quickly and I headed upstairs to find a seat with a view.

Bang on 8.30pm post hardcore 5-piece Sydney-siders, Sienna Skies take to the stage.  The bass guitarist did the harsh vocals, the drummer sang the clean vocals and the lead singer switched between both. Considering the limited amount of space they had on the stage, they played a very high energy 30 minute set which included singles, Even Stronger, brand spankin’ new release, Mess, Divided and finished the set with Let It Burn. They informed us that they are about to drop a new EP later next month and will be back doing their own headline tour in May.

After a timely gear changeover, we welcome alt.rock / metalcore 4-piece Melbourne band, Dream On Dreamer. With over 50 million streams and ARIA nominations, it’s easy to see why these guys were chosen as support band. They performed another high energy set which got the crowd moving and moshing with songs such as, Stay, Don’t Lose Your Heart and the new release, G.O.D. in the set list.  After an invitation to meet them at the merch stand, they leave the stage for the crew to prepare for the main act.

Hailing from So-Cal USA, RIAA gold record certified metalcore band, Of Mice & Men entered the stage to loud cheers and applause and opened their set with two 2014 bangers from their album Restoring Force, Bones Exposed, followed by Would You Still Be There, and then new song,  Castaway by this time the audience were singing along loudly, heads nodding furiously in time with the music. Then they played my personal fave, from their 2021 release, Echo, the single, Obsolete. Vocalist Aaron Pauley stopped to thank the audience for choosing to come to the Of Mice & Men concert stating that he was aware of all the choices available in Sydney that night, so the band are beyond flattered that the audience had chosen them. He then announced that it was time to play something heavy and that the next song was from their latest album, the mosh pit opened up and a circle pit ensued as they played Warpaint. Next up was another new track from Tether, current single, Indigo, then Pauley introduced the next song as a favourite of his from their latest album as they played, Into The Sun and then 2019’s Earth and Sky. Pauley asked if there were people in the crowd who had seen Of Mice play before to loud cheers in response and then he announced that it was time for OG and the audience shuffled back and a space was cleared in the centre of the floor, several people did back flips to cheers and applause, and as the band started playing OG Loko the circle pit began growing into a juggernaut of bodies. They played Instincts from 2018’s Defy album and then Pauley addressed the audience once again dedicating “the next song for anyone who is feeling grief”.  He explains that grief is that pain that’s right between the heart and the lungs, it’s the pain you feel when love has nowhere to go and leads into 2021 single, Bloom.  The set was rounded out by 2012 classic, The Depths.  Pauley thanked the Sydney audience again and the band left the stage for a minute or two, then returned to loud cheers and applause from the crowd as they played fan fave from 2010, Second & Sebring. Setlists, picks and sticks were tossed into the crowd as we all shuffled our way out to George Street.

It’s probably a strange thing to say but I noticed that the Of Mice stage set is so neat and tidy. After the support bands, everything except the OM&M drum kit was cleared off the stage. The drummer is positioned centre at the back and there are three risers placed at the front of the stage. The guitarists tend to stay on their own sides while vocalist Pauley moves around but mostly remains front and centre. In-between songs there is an ambient synth hum track played while guitars are changed and adjustments are made before commencing the next song. It’s like watching a well-oiled machine working. Of Mice & Men put on a well practised, professional performance, no doubt about it.

I mention these things as I’m coming off the back of just seeing another band two nights before in the same music genre but their performance was so different by contrast. Still professional and practised but the approach was far more relaxed and interactive with the audience.

What I did miss from OM&M was the presence of a human bass guitarist rather than a track, but so many bands appear to be taking this approach now. Overall though, Of Mice & Men perform their songs with such intensity and passion, taking the listeners along for the journey with them. Their songs inspire some of the most intense and somewhat aggressive looking mosh pits I’ve seen in ages, yet lyrically their vibe is dare I say, emotional and heartfelt. This dichotomy is fascinating to experience in a live setting – from a safe vantage point. I loved this concert for almost totally opposite reasons that I loved the concert from the other band two nights earlier.  If you get the opportunity, go check out Of Mice & Men.

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Ben Ward (Orange Goblin)

Click above to see Mitch chat with Ben Ward ahead of Orange Goblin Australian Tour!

Cut from the same beer-stained cloth as the greats, UK stoner rock metal act ORANGE GOBLIN are still riding high and leading the pack in 'balls to the wall' heavy metal thunder. Emerging amid the exhilarating melee of the mid-‘90s stoner rock and doom explosion, ORANGE GOBLIN immediately endeared themselves to a generation of metal fans by simply going for it at full, beer-swilling pelt and some twenty five plus years later, nothing has changed! Moving towards 2024 it’s all hell for leather with the release of their tenth studio album, the first one since 2018's 'The Wolf Bites Back' and the first for new label Peaceville Records.

 
Being 11 years since their last trek to Australia, ORANGE GOBLIN are way well overdue for a bone jarring jaunt and have promised to pull out all the stompers for an intense and intoxicating atmosphere that will truly show the power and might these British heavyweights are armed with.
 
Earning a unique place in Australia’s heavy scene is Simpsons themed doom-rock band DR COLOSSUS. Brandishing low tuned guitar riffs and melodically driven songs that then manage to turn the genre on its head by presenting lyrics and an aesthetic based entirely on episodes of The Simpsons. A gimmick as it may be, DR COLOSSUS have earned a reputation as one of the one of the country’s most dynamic heavy acts who wield a dynamic palette of doom infused rock stomping grooves within well crafted, fun and riotously catchy material.
 
Leading the charge of mountainous riffage is Sydney’s two piece feed ASTRODEATH. Possessing a furious and intimidating sound, at a titanic reverberation that far exceeds the sum of its twin parts, ASTRODEATH belt out sludge ridden slices of heaviness that pack a devastating punch.
 
ORANGE GOBLIN with DR COLOSSUS and ASTRODEATH performing at:
 

April 9th – Adelaide, Lion Arts Factory

April 10th – Canberra, The Basement
 

April 11th – Brisbane, The Zoo

April 12th – Sydney, Crowbar
 

April 13th – Melbourne, The Croxton

 

TICKETS ON SALE at:

ADELAIDE – www.moshtix.com.au
 

CANBERRA, BRISBANE, SYDNEY, MELBOURNE – www.oztix.com.au

 
 

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Atreyu @ Manning Bar, Sydney 22/02/2024

Atreyu are a metalcore band from California, USA, taking their name from a character in the movie, The Never Ending Story. 

Back in 2007 I bought a copy of Metal Hammer magazine and it had a bonus cd on the cover with “new” music. One of those tracks was Becoming The Bull by Atreyu. I was instantly sold on their sound and have loved that track ever since.

Fast forward to February 2024 and I finally got to see this band play live.

It was a steamy Thursday evening in late February and I was among those gathered at the University of Sydney’s Manning Bar. I entered the venue, perused the merch stand, grabbed a bottle of water from the bar and staked out a spot near the sound desk and with a good view.

First up was Sydney female-fronted metalcore band, Bridge Left To Burn.

When they walked on stage there was about a dozen people waiting on the rail but by half-way through the first song the floor was half filled.

They played a cracking 20 minute set, lead vocalist Ava Sukkar switching between harsh and clean vocals one moment angelic, the next demonic. The Sydney-siders were stoked to be on the bill and put 110 percent into their performance by warming up the audience for the following bands.

Strangely, as soon as the band finished, the floor cleared, people choosing to gather near the bar or outside on this hot Summer night.

After a gear changeover next up were Melbourne metalcore band, Bad/Love. Before they even introduced themselves, I could hear the distinct Melbourne ‘core sound. A bit Void Of Vision, a touch Thornhill with a dash of Windwaker. There’s a certain polish to the sound that comes out of Melbs. The Melbournites gave a strong 30 minute performance which included Social Suicide and their latest single, Ungød. There was a screeching lead guitar solo in the last song as they ended their set.  Again, the audience vacated the floor during the gear changeover, which was quite disconcerting. The Manning Bar isn’t a large venue, yet it felt empty and I was left wondering “where were Sydney’s Metal fans tonight?”.

The intro music started playing as Atreyu finally entered the stage, people started moving onto the floor as they began to play Drowning, all of a sudden they were at the chorus, I looked around and the floor was filled, and there’s a crowd gathered on the 2 levels and outside on the balcony. I teared up, grateful and happy that Sydney had indeed turned out for this fantastic band. Everyone was singing along loudly, and I mean LOUDLY! The song ended to loud cheers and my beloved song, the previously mentioned, Becoming the Bull was played next and I joined the crowd, yelling out the lyrics loudly. Vocalist Brandon Saller announced it was time for a circle pit and the audience complied as Right Side Of The Bed played. Next we were told it was time to help sing a part, “it’s only two words” Saller says, we practised it and then Save Me played with the audience screaming out “Save Me” loudly during the chorus. Next was When Two Become One and mid-song Saller takes someone’s phone and video records part of the song from the stage, then at the end he shared with the audience that the couple in the front row had used that song as their ‘first dance’ song at their wedding. Saller then mentions how twenty years ago on their first Australian tour, they heard this unique sound that they had always wanted to use in a song. The beeping noise from our pedestrian crossings. Almost twenty years later they finally used it in the song (i).  *side note: Billie Eilish and her brother Phinaeas had said and done a similar thing with their song Bad Guy.  Suddenly there’s movement on stage and they change instruments, the drummer is now playing bass, the singer is now playing drums and the bass guitarist is now singing lead vocals, and they proceeded to play Bleeding Mascara.

Everyone then returned to their regular positions and played The Time is Now, during which, Saller walked throughout the entire room through the crowd and out onto the balcony, singing. Ex’s and Oh’s and Gone are next we were asked to sing along but the audience just can’t get the timing right, which is hilarious and results in some good-humoured “shit talk”. Someone in the audience yelled out “Where’s Travis?” To which Saller responded, “right there”, pointing, “he’s been there all night”. Saller then said to guitarist Travis Miguel “they don’t recognise you with your shirt on, take your shirt off” the crowd cheered but Miguel politely declined and Saller quipped back, “c’mon, your body, their choice”. Then it was time for Battle Drums and the crowd were singing loudly again. Time for the “lucky dip” song. An audience member was chosen and asked to pick a song from the selection that the band puts written down into a clear pencil case. Watch Me Burn was chosen which was then followed by Falling Down and everyone was moshing again.  Saller then talked about how we all go through ‘dark times’ but it’s how we pick ourselves up and move forward that is important which is the segway to Warrior, during the bridge it took a short detour to Wonderwall, before returning to Warrior, then the set is finished with two middle fingers in the air and a rowdy rendition of the song Blow.

The band thanked the crowd and exited the stage. After a brief break, guitarist Dan Jacobs returns to the stage with a saxophone and plays short bursts of a few songs, including the standard, Tequila, the rest of the band rejoined him and they played the Whitney Houston hit, I Wanna Dance With Somebody as their encore. The band tossed out drum sticks, setlists, and guitar picks and bid Sydney farewell. Next stop …. BrisVegas!!!

Atreyu played an energetic and entertaining 75 minute set filled to the brim with bangers. They put on an amazing show, which included loads of banter with the audience. You get the distinct impression that these guys love what they’re doing, and it’s infectious. I walked in with an appreciation for this band and walked away drenched in sweat and completely hyped for them. They’ve now played their last show of this tour in Brisbane to a sold out audience, so sadly, if you missed this tour you will have to wait until next time.

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[Review] P!nk @ Marvel Stadium, Melbourne 23/02/2024

Melbourne is experiencing an exciting few months filled with major music events. Last week, the city hosted performances by Blink 182, Taylor Swift, and Matchbox Twenty, and this week the momentum continues with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy, and the much-loved Suzi Quatro gearing up for the Red Hot Summer Tour in March.

The start of a P!nk concert feels like the rush of zooming down a roller coaster’s steep drop. It’s a thrilling and wild journey, where you find yourself catching your breath in anticipation..

In other words: Just. Hang. On.

On her Summer Carnival stadium tour’s Friday night show, P!nk delivered a mesmerizing performance amidst a backdrop of colorful neon flamingos, oversized mirror balls, and whimsical flying bananas, all complemented by her signature, breathtaking circus-inspired acts. Now at 44, P!nk has mentioned in recent interviews, feeling at the pinnacle of her fitness, which was evident in her dynamic bungee cord stunts during the vibrant kickoff with Get the Party Started, intertwined with a hint of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), and the lively Raise Your Glass, highlighting her incredible energy and agility.

P!nk’s ability to deliver both vocally and visually, even while performing complex aerial maneuvers, surpasses that of many artists who perform with both feet on the ground. My plus one, who has a lifetime background in theater and was experiencing a P!nk concert for the first time, was completely amazed. It was quite a sight to see her experience her first P!nk concert; it reminded me of the excitement of discovering something wonderful for the first time. The way P!nk manages her vocals while engaging in spins and flips was truly remarkable. 

P!nk took a moment to reminisce about her initial performance at Marvel Stadium, known back then as Telstra Dome, in 2002 during the Rumba festival, where she shared the stage with Bon Jovi, Shaggy, and Australian acts Natalie Imbruglia and Bachelor Girl. There seemed to be a few loyalists in the crowd who were there as-well! Even when simply standing at the microphone for Who Knew, dressed in a glittering, silver outfit with matching ankle boots, P!nk’s performance was as powerful and confident as ever, her voice as strong as her physical presence. It was about here she spied a gift held aloft by a fan who clearly knew her weakness. TIM TAMS !!! But wait…. “Are these new” Alecia exclaimed?! “They are blue?!….. DOUBLE COATED!!!! Can they still be used to drink coffee through?” The crowd answered as only a 40thousand crowd can, much to Alecia’s delight. 

Armed with a strong selection of tracks from her latest album Trustfall, P!nk faced the challenging task of integrating new songs with classics from her 23-year repertoire. The setlist she crafted managed to encompass the breadth of her career, featuring anthems like Try, with its powerful chorus ideal for stadium singalongs, the emotive and dance-heavy What About Us, and the uplifting F*!king Perfect. A standout moment was Just Like Fire, which was seamlessly blended with Benatar’s Heartbreaker, creating an energetic fusion highlighted by Justin Derrico’s electrifying guitar performance. 

In a captivating moment, the youngest dancer of the troupe, Madelyne Spang, took center stage with a beautifully haunting dance during the spoken introduction of Turbulence. P!nk then emerged, offering words of encouragement to Madelyne, reminding her to breathe. Following this tender exchange, P!nk joined veteran dancer Khasan Brailsford at the top of the catwalk for an impressive solo aerial performance, which then evolved into a thrilling aerial duet.

P!nk also found room in her set for a few cover songs, delivering a unique take on Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, inspired by Adele’s version, performed on the piano. Later on, she included a rendition of the 4 Non Blondes hit What’s Up? adding her own flair to these classic tracks.

In a quieter segment of the concert, P!nk shared the stage with her 12-year-old daughter, Willow, for a touching performance of Cover Me in Sunshine, a track they released together in 2021. Following this, P!nk took a moment to sit at the edge of the catwalk alongside guitarist Justin Derrico for a series of more intimate performances. The acoustic rendition of Don’t Let Me Get Me particularly resonated with me, stirring emotions deep within my 50-year-old heart. The albums M!ssundaztood from 2001 and Can’t Take Me Home from 2000 remain my cherished favorites. P!nk’s talent for conveying deep emotion through her music was profoundly evident in the poignant ballad When I Get There, a heartfelt tribute to her late father. 

However, it wasn’t long before the energy shifted back to vibrant pop rhythms with I Am Here. P!nk chose to perform this piece barefoot, declaring it the only way to truly connect with the song. She likened the experience to being a dolphin, suggesting the importance of letting worries slide off effortlessly, just as water does off a dolphin’s back. Of course, P!nk couldn’t stay away from the adrenalized pull of something acrobatic. She joined some of her dancers for a unified routine during Trustfall while other members of her pack blissfully flipped on a trampoline behind her. P!nk joined them at the top of the setup, watching their “trust falls” onto the coiled canvas. P!nk’s remarkable qualities, such as her endurance, authenticity, and rich, powerful voice, are all worthy of praise. However, the greatest gift she offers during her concerts is the freedom to truly enjoy oneself.

In a dazzling display during her So What performance, the singer, covered in a shimmering outfit, took the concert experience to new heights—quite literally. She was secured in a harness connected to wires, which allowed her to execute a series of spectacular aerial flips across the expanse of the stadium. Hovering above the awe-struck crowd of almost 40,000+ fans, she belted out the defiant lyrics, “So what, I’m still a rock star,” with unmatched energy and charisma. This moment wasn’t just a highlight of the show; it was a vivid declaration of her unstoppable spirit and undeniable status as a rock star. Her ability to blend vocal prowess with daring acrobatics in front of a massive audience not only captivated everyone present but also solidified her reputation as an exceptional performer, truly living up to the title of a rock star in every sense.

P!nk plays again tonight in Melbourne with tickets still available at https://www.livenation.com.au/artist-p-nk-348049

Before setting off to Adelaide, and Perth before heading back for encore shows at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. And finishing off this incredible tour in Townsville on 22nd and 23rd March. 

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Album ReviewReviews

[Album Review] 10,000 Volts – Ace Frehley

10,000 Volts is launched into the stratosphere February 23 so mark your calendar you will not want to miss this!

The Spaceman is back, but for many he never left! As a dedicated follower of Ace Frehley I was beyond excited to wrap my listening gear around his latest release and give you my thoughts.

The opening track 10,000 Volts is instantly stuck in your head, that trademark Ace opening is right there from the get-go with riffs galore and a catchy chorus. Of course, Ace never strays far from his outer space roots and this album is not exception, with song two aptly named Walking On The Moon. While this one is a bit slower it still has lots to love, with the Frehley sound stamped heavily on it.

Cosmic Heart sees a mind-bending solo and Ace really showcases his shredding skills. Every song has a memorable moment that makes you instantly know this is Ace’s handiwork at play. Produced by Ace himself along with Steve Brown you can see the 50 plus years’ experience from Ace being poured into each and every song.

Cherry Medicine opens with another heavy riff and one synonymous with Ace, it is raw and rugged and I love it. While the album screams Ace Frehley from every pore, I still believe there has been a little bit of explorative work done to expand and change his sound to keep things interesting. Another stinging solo popped in the middle keeps you bopping along and singing ‘Cherry Medicine’ out loud by the song’s conclusion. Back Into My Arms Again slows down the pace and reminds us that Ace can write a little love ditty if he needs to. Then we are back to the punchier tracks with Fighting For Life. This song holds it place on the album with vigour, it instantly had my foot tapping with its catchy hooks and snappy lyrics.

I know there has been a lot of correlation to Ace’s solo Kiss album, and while I can see it reflected here it has its own feel and I would not be one to set them side by side. Blinded and Constantly Cute lift the second half of this album and keep you engaged to listen to the last few tracks. I know at times the second half of albums can lag but this is not the case with 10,000 Volts.  It seems to pick up the pace as the album comes to its conclusion with Life Of A Stranger pulling on the blues vibe which I really enjoy.  It isn’t often we see Ace experiment with these different genres and I like it.

Up In The Sky gives me instant New York Groove feels and I bloody love it, Kiss fans will eat this one up. Even his vocal tone brings out the nostalgic 70’s Kiss energy. It is placed well on the album sitting close to the finish line and ingraining on your memory as you take in the last song Stratosphere. Another theme fitting song, Stratosphere is an instrumental that ties everything on 10,000 Volts together. With some lovely guitar work it has a relaxed feel and is very easy to listen too. It showcases Ace’s skills and rounds the album out perfectly.

Fans of Ace will gobble this album up with wild abandon and it may even just swing those who are on the fence. All in all 10,000 Volts is a very solid delivery of new material and will recharge the batteries of those waiting for some new tunes.  It is clear that Ace is going nowhere and is still smashing out some cool material that rivals anything else that is flooding the market currently. I will be adding it to my playlist immediately and I recommend you do the same.

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