Melbourne had delivered us our first scorcher of summer, the heat radiating from every building and footpath as I made my way to Max Watts Melbourne. The lines were in full force, the colours predominantly red and black, classic Gothic attire reigned supreme. The punters had been on the countdown to Wednesday 13 playing Murderdolls and of course in true Melbourne style it was a sold-out show. Paying tribute to former members Joey Jordison and Ben Graves, touring this show in their honour.
The merch line was at least 50 deep, stretching way back to the stage, everyone keen to nab a memento. So I took the chance to find some air conditioning in a prime position for the night ahead. Death of Art was our opener, and they got the fans well and truly warmed up. With a quickfire set of 30 minutes their dark electronic rock won over the floor. Singer Erin Blackie peppering each song with accessories including a neon whip, ropes, and even donning horns for the final song. Their Gothic costumes and feel suited the night and they were well received by the expanding crowd. If goth is your thing go check them out, you will be glad you did.
The stage was flooded with red and the Wednesday 13 banner firmly in place, it was as if Max Watts had grown its own pulse, the atmosphere was electric. The roar almost deafening as the lights dropped and the red runway lights flashed up and down the roof signalling the craziness was about to take flight.
With the force of 1000 cannons Wednesday 13 blasted onto the stage, an assault on every sense all at once, my adrenaline was instantly racing as Chapel of Blood rang out. It was all fishnet and leather and of course a bit of make-up here and there to complete the look, Wednesday 13 looking the epitome of cool as his gothic persona came to the forefront. Death Valley Superstars had the fans rabid, pulsing as one unit, the excitement at seeing Murderdolls brought to life in front of their eyes more than some could take. Wednesday worked the stage and the fans with vigour only coming up for breath on the briefest of occasion, 197666 took things up another notch and we were only three songs deep.
I knew it was going to be huge but the enormity of this show was only just hitting as Slit My Wrists and Love At First Fright whacked us in the face. Guitarist Roman Surman graced my side of the stage, and holy shit can he shred the shit our of his guitar! He was a pleasure to watch as he enveloped each and every song with every fibre of his being, so invested and so damn cool. She Was A Teenage Zombie, Die My Bride, Blood Stained Valentine, the songs kept coming as Wednesday and his cohorts smashed us from pillar to post, fists pumping on autopilot, clapping on command and the frenzied flipping of birds. This show had an energy force I have not felt at a gig for a long time, it was evident from the get-go the punters have been waiting for this one for a long long time. We came ready to rock and rock we did, as Pieces Of You, and Drug Me To Hell had the sweat dripping. Wednesday on his knees taking advantage of his strategically placed fan as Max Watts became a veritable melting pot, glasses of water hungrily grabbed as quick as the security could pass them out.
As the band left the stage it was time to be educated in the art of drumming as Mike Dupke took charge of the skins and showcased what was one of the finest drum solos I have witnessed. His sticks becoming an extension of his body as he entered beast mode for the duration. Flooded with red light as he played to whoops and cheers, leaving Max Watts in awe of his precision behind the kit. The song list kept coming but Nowhere was when things became emotional, it was dedicated to Joey and chants instantly erupted in his honour, Wednesday looking sky bound with pause for the loss of his dear friend. But this was not a time for sadness it was a time to celebrate Joey and his music so that is what we did. Summertime Suicide set the joint alight, our voices now as raspy as the man himself as we sang ourselves hoarse. I must also give mention to guitarist Jack Tankersley, what an absolute legend, not only is he an A class musician but so engaging every time he visited my side of the stage. This band is a well-oiled machine and tight as fuck! Wednesday had us under his command from the minute he walked on stage, we were his congregation, he was our preacher, and we were all schooled in Murderdolls by the master himself.
With a quick detour off stage it was not long before the chants of ‘Wednesday’ began and we were rewarded with a return of the band. Wednesday sporting his trademark ‘encore’ hat and red leather jacket, offering us 1-3 songs depending on how loud we were, needless to say the roof was well and truly raised and 3 songs it was. Opening the final trifecta with the mind-blowing cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding, Troy Doebbler was slapping his bass to within an inch of his life, this guy is a four-string assassin, and the hidden weapon of the band. With his ‘Fuck You’ Umbrella in hand Wednesday had us priming our middle fingers as I Love To Say Fuck blew our hair back and the war cry ‘fuck’ was thrown around with delight. The only way to finish out this mind-bending night was of course with Dead In Hollywood, everyone just hanging on by a thread but still bouncing not willing to relent for one minute. With thanks and waves goodbye it was over and the sore and spent bodies dragged themselves to the water jugs and made the hot sweaty pilgrimage back to the real world.
Joey and Ben would have smiles as wide as the stage after witnessing the show of a lifetime in Melbourne, Australia. If there was a place to forget the outside world existed it was Max Watts last night, thank you to Wednesday 13 for bringing us Murderdolls revisited, you came, you saw and you kicked out mother fucking arses!!