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Interview with Jona Tee (H.E.A.T)

Today marks the seventh album release for Swedish heavy rockers, H.E.A.T. Titled Force Majeure, this album sees the band extend their live show energy into a collection of stadium anthems including monster singles ‘Hollywood’, ‘Back To The Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’, and is a return album for founding frontman Kenny Leckremo. The band will also be making their Australian live tour debut next month, playing four shows across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

Silver Tiger Media’s Tammy Walters had a chat to keyboardist Jona Tee ahead of their release and shows.

How are you feeling with your new album Force Majeure about to be released on Friday 5 August?

I don’t think we have really realised it is so soon. But we’re really excited! Going to burst. We will be in Finland on Friday opening for Toto so we will have some sort of nice release party I hope.

Oh, that will be such a good time. As soon as ‘Africa’ comes on you’ll jump into full party mode!

[Laughs] Oh yeah, for sure!

So how long has Force Majeure been in the works?

Basically we had a singer swap, so we got our original singer, Kenny, back in the band. He rejoined in June or July in 2020, which was the beginning of the pandemic which means we had a lot of time to sit down and write music. So somewhere around there we started to write for it and we started to record August last year, so one year later, here is the release!

Kenny was a big part of the identity of H.E.A.T your debut record, and Eric was a huge part of the band for a big part of your lifespan so it would have been nice to have H.E.A.T II as a send off for Eric.

Oh yeah, definitely a big send off. We love that album too so he left with a bang!

Exactly and H.E.A.T II received a lot of praise for returning to your heavier roots. Have you tried to continue that for this album with Kenny being back?

Absolutely. We set out to continue the same vein as HEAT II, and obviously it’s a little different because we have a new singer and he sings a bit differently than Eric, but Kenny is super involved in songwriting and production and Kenny plays a lot of different instruments so with all of that in it, it becomes a bit different to HEAT II but still i think the sound is still on par or in the same vein.

We’ve already heard three songs from this record, ‘Hollywood’ which has already been turning a lot of heads to watch what H.E.A.T are doing, ‘Back to the Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’ – all of which are huge stadium anthems. Is that what this album is about?

Hell yeah! I mean, we love to play live and that’s what we’re kind of doing now which has been awesome, and ‘Hollywood’ is working so well live. It’s probably my favourite to play at the moment – when that chorus hits, it’s like ‘YES!’. You can feel the energy!

I’ve seen footage and it’s wild! Was ‘Hollywood’ written with the live show in mind?

You know when we first started the band, we were studio based really and me and Dave we had been working the studio a lot back then but as we started to play live it was like ‘okay’. We always felt like a heavy metal band, rather than a studio AR band so when we went on stage we felt more like Iron Maiden rather than Coat or some band like that who are moreso musicians. I guess at some point, and I think it was Tearing Down The Walls, around there, that maybe it started reflecting in the music that it was more raw and live focused and more ‘okay, what do we want to do live? What do we want them to sing and play more awesome live music? But it should be awesome to listen to in your headphones as you’re going to sleep as well.

I think you’ve found that balance well. But you are known for being a great live act and I think touring with so many amazing rock legends like Alice Cooper, Toto and Sabaton has elevated your live show even more.

Oh yeah! We were blessed to play with so many incredible acts like Alice Cooper and Toto and all of the festivals we’ve been to. Last weekend we played in Wales at Steelhouse Festival and I saw Saxon play for the first time and I was blown away. I was like ‘what the fuck!’[laughs], and that really inspires you to lift your game and step it up!     

Australia hasn’t had the opportunity to witness that though. H.E.A.T hasn’t played here before!

No, it’s our first time now in September. It’s going to be awesome. Me and Eric flew over in 2016 and played Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne but it wasn’t H.E.AT, we did a few HEAT songs acoustically and played with another band which was for fun. We had a break with the HEAT before into the great unknown, so we flew over for that and spent a week in Melbourne. But now we’re going to come full force with HEAT which is going to be awesome. And CRAZY LIXX are coming along as well so it will be amazing. Awesome band as well, amazing live!

Being your first show here in Australia, and with a new album, what will a set look like for you? Are you going to try and balance out the newer songs with older ones that we love but haven’t seen live?   

We try to incorporate songs from every album but we have seven albums [laughs] and a bunch of music and it gets harder. We want to play the new stuff and we really want to play songs from HEAT II as well because we didn’t get to tour it so we have four or five tracks from HEAT II, yes we will play a few from Force Majeure as well but we try to play at least two from the first album, one from Freedom Rock and a couple from the Eric albums as well!

That sounds great because we had missed out on seeing you through all of your era’s, and it will be great seeing Kenny step up into the Eric vocal songs. Has that been a learning process for him?

I think he has done his thing with Eric’s songs. It’s not copying Eric’s style, he does his own thing and adds his melodies and small wails and stuff like that. He’s more soulful – I don’t know if that’s a word – he likes more soul and does the runs more than Eric who is more of a power singer. He does his interpretation on tracks, it sounds really cool! It’s awesome to play all of the tracks live at the moment!

I have to ask about the new album’s title, Force Majeure. Is that a nod to the changeover of singers or is there another meaning to it?

For us, it’s like the word force was with us all along. We wanted to make it undeniable and have this force – that was the key word – and we thought about naming the album just Force but then we thought of Force Majeure and we’re like ‘oo’. It’s like a major force and it reflects the pandemic it was written during. Force Majeure, I mean swapping singers is almost a force majeure but you can read some meanings into it.

Up for interpretation!

Most of all it sounds badass.

It does! I won’t lie I did look up to see whether you were using the English or French pronunciation but glad I didn’t have to add my French ‘r’s onto it.

[laughs] Haha yeah we’re using the English pronunciation until we go to France and sound quite pretentious! *imitates French accent* Force Majeure.

So it’s out on Friday – are there any other single releases or music video releases coming with the release?

We wanted to but couldn’t make it work because we are touring. But as you do these days, you have a focus track and that is ‘Tainted Blood’ for us. That is the one we pitched to streaming platforms. And I really love that track and cannot wait to play it live! Actually I think we’ll be playing it for the first time in Australia because the album will be out by then so we can play more songs from Force Majeure!

Amazing! We obviously can’t wait! Why was ‘Tainted Blood’ a standout for you?

I’m not sure it’s a standout but it has this heavy riff that is reminiscent of Judas Priest and I kind of love that classic metal vibe to it!

We love Judas Priest here so that’s a good sign! In terms of that logical side of pulling this album together, you did say it was created during the pandemic. Was that during lockdowns, were you writing together?

Most of the time we would write individually to get the basic idea of the track and then get together to finish it. But in terms of lockdowns, we didn’t have any hard lockdowns in Sweden which everyone had to do their share of separating and distancing from each other. So it was up to everyone to make sure they didn’t affect people. So we all got together and hung out in the studio together and we did!

That makes it so much easier. And I guess with Kenny being back it would have been important for dynamic.

Yeah and just hang out and get to know each other!

Were you in contact with Kenny during his departure?

Every now and then but not really in contact. We met up in 2015 the last time before he rejoined the band, with me, him & Dave, and Dave wasn’t in the band then. We had dinner and a few beers, actually a lot of beers [laughs] I remember! But apart from, that there would be the text are Christmas or birthdays. Until he decided to rejoin.

So how did that conversation happen that he wanted to rejoin? With him rejoining like an instant back to being close or was there a big transition period?

We had to make sure he had his priorities right this time because he left the band for a reason back in the day but he has a lot of regret leaving and you can tell and he has been very open about that. He missed it and wanted to get back. He told me in 2019 when Eric was still in the band that he wanted to come back and I told him it would be pretty hard because we had a singer but you never know for the future. It happened quite quickly for him actually. You never know!

It all happened for a reason!       

It worked out so well and we’re super happy to keep it in the family!

   That familiarity helps with excitement for fans as well.

We can tell that because we sold out our show in Stockholm and I think a lot of that is because Kenny is back. We sold out our biggest venue so far! It has to be because he is back and we’re so glad for what’s happening moving forward.

So does that mean already planning for the next album?

I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I was shifting through a shit load of song ideas! I’m constantly working on new stuff. So absolutely. We’re touring now but creating music is a constant thing. I can’t turn it off. We should start recording again next year, at least I hope!

Incredible! Well, remember when you do start planning the next album tour to add Australia to the top of the list!

We will, I cannot tell you how excited we are to be coming down and playing!

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[Review] The Hu @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 03/08/2022

2 years ago, in the before times, The Hu were here, and were ready to play on the Download line up, then tragedy strikes, the plague times begin, and they get locked in Sydney for a couple of weeks. Now, they are back and hungry as ever to play for Australia and starting off their tour with 2 sold out Melbourne shows!

Rocking up to the line about 45mins early, a little later than normal for me, the line was already around the block and in the alley way behind the venue, people are keen as hell for this show! Doors open and the line moves reasonably quick for people heading straight to merch or the front of the venue for prime viewing, I manage to get my regular spot at 170 Russell, you’ve always got a regular spot for these types of things.

The Blackwater Fever take the stage right on time and straight from the opening chords, I’m hooked. This 3-piece Brisbane rock band sound like Sabbath if they were playing in the deep south instead of London. Think big sounding bluesy style riffs with a ton of reverb, a bassist that also plays keys and then add double that amount of reverb on the drums! Producing a massive sound and holding their own in the thick atmosphere they created, they entranced all watching and the rhythm took over to bring the people in and headbang. The Blackwater Fever prove the point that less is sometimes more, you don’t always need crazy intricate riffs to get people interested, these guys write a damn good tune and a killer opening band.

As The Hu crew set the stage with a drum kit, a percussion kit and then a totem raised in the middle of the stage as well for good measure, the crowd’s anticipation skyrockets. There are cheers, people start pushing to the front and all eyes are on the stage. The lights darken, music starts and The Hu storm the stage in their full leather gear and instruments in hand. What surprised me tonight was how close the music translates from recording to live, with the number of instruments changing on stage with one of the singers wearing a belt of flutes and the percussionist also had things changing every couple of songs as well, everything was audible. One of the main draws to The Hu is the traditional throat singing and vocal harmonies created, they did not disappoint. All members on stage have a microphone and the vocal mix is well done with only one of the main vocals being lower in the mix at some points but watching them sing together is nothing short of amazing.

The sheer happiness and excitement of the band is an energy that is room filling, they didn’t stop smiling or laughing to each other from start to finish. They are incredibly passionate about their music and culture and having that energy come back at them from the crowd, they couldn’t stop jumping and screaming “Thank you” and “Rock On” which were pretty much the only English sentences spoken by them. One of the main vocalists would occasionally have a quick little speech in their native tongue to be met with cheers or people looking around not knowing what was said but there was one girl who made the crowd laugh each time because each time he spoke in Mongolian, we would here “I farkin luv ya” in such a thick Aussie accent. The complete opposites in languages but I’m sure the sentiment was the same.

The crowd involvement for songs like Shoog Shoog, Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf Totem was electric. The rhythms of this band just sent people dancing and singing. Ending the set on the latest singles Black Thunder and This is Mongo, the crowd and band are relentless, thriving off each other’s energy and getting a circle pit going. They come back for a sweet little encore with a cover of Metallica’s Sad But True and what a cover! What a great way to end the night!

For my first international band in about 18 months, what better way than to get back into it than with The Hu? I had high expectations for these guys, and they blew them out of the park! I hope the rest of the tour is as great as this was.

THE HU
Black Thunder Australia & NZ Tour 2022

Saturday, August 6: Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide
(Previously Hindley Street Music Hall)
Sunday, August 7: The Roundhouse, Sydney Sold Out
Thursday, August 11: Powerstation, Auckland NZ Sold Out

For complete tour and ticket and information, visit: 
livenation.com.au, livenation.co.nzthehuofficial.com

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with THE HU!

Critically celebrated Mongolian rock band THE HU kicked off their Black Thunder tour of Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne for the last 2 nights!

STMs Mitch and Kynan got to hang with THE HU this week ahead of their Australian Tour across Australia! 

On all Australian showsThe Blackwater Fever will rattle audiences down to their bone marrow via some thunderous, tortured electric guitar, mesmerising organ swirls, and the unrelenting rhythmic stomp of their atmospheric, blues-heavy rock.

Breaking your heart one minute with a harrowing growl, only to pick you up with an irresistible rocker the next, this Brisbane-based blues-rock trio is a live experience not to be missed. 

The Blackwater Fever has shared stages with The Black Keys (US), Clutch (US), Truckfighters (SWE), Violent Soho, Tame Impala, Birds Of Tokyo, and many more.

******

Setting the scene in Auckland, the mighty Shepherd’s Reign are the perfect openers for a night of primal music.  Combining the traditional and ancient music of their forefathers with modern rock and metal influences including bands like Gojira, Avenged Sevenfold, and Dream Theater, Shepherds Reign have found their own unique sound in a cluttered and overblown musical environment.
 
Shepherds Reign brings a captivating and enthralling sound with the use of the Samoan language, instruments, and culture, making it an integral part of their evocative and primal live show. A show that displays a fierce pride for their music and wins the audience every time with its blood-pumping ritualistic beats, thick melodic textures, and an undeniable power that hooks the audience into the band’s dark and heavy realm completely.
 
You can catch them on the below dates!!! But be quick Tickets are selling out fast


THE HU
Black Thunder Australia & NZ Tour 2022

Friday, August 5: Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Saturday, August 6: Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide
(Previously Hindley Street Music Hall)
Sunday, August 7: The Roundhouse, Sydney Sold Out
Thursday, August 11: Powerstation, Auckland NZ Sold Out

For complete tour and ticket and information, visit: 
livenation.com.au, livenation.co.nzthehuofficial.com

Proving their global appeal, The HU have sold out venues across the world in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, with scheduled festival appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Download Festival, and more, creating a community of fans from all walks of life. They quickly grabbed the attention of the industry, leading to collaborations with Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.

Their debut album, 2019 ‘s The Gereg, debuted at #1 on the World Album and Top New Artist Charts. With it, the band have accumulated over 250 million combined streams and video views to date and have received critical acclaim from the likes of Billboard, NPR, GQ, The Guardian, The Independent, Revolver, and even Sir Elton John himself. 

Readying their next chapter as a global force, The HU will release their new album,
Rumble Of Thunder on September 2, Better Noise Music.


Pre orders are available now!
thehu.ffm.to/rumbleofthunder

 Follow The Hu
WEBSITE // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // YOUTUBE

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THE LUMINEERS Announce Australia & New Zealand Dates For Their BRIGHTSIDE World Tour 2022

They’ve soundtracked countless lives with their inimitable sound, sold millions of albums, and have sold out shows the world over. Now, three years since their last visit to our shores for Splendour In The Grass and five years since their last national tour, American folk-rock outfit The Lumineers will make their triumphant return to Australia this November and play their first ever headline show in New Zealand, with dates in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne – proudly presented by Handsome Tours and Bluesfest Touring.
 
Kicking off at Auckland’s Powerstation on November 11, The Lumineers will then hit Australia to play Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall on November 13, before heading to Sydney’s Aware Super Theatre on November 15, and wrapping things up at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on November 18. 
 
Tickets go on sale at 9am local time on Friday 5 August from http://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/, with an artist presale live from Thursday 4 August at 9am local time, and a Handsome Tours presale live from Thursday August 4 at 2pm local time.
 
We can’t wait to finally return after three long years to Australia and are excited for our first headline show in New Zealand ever for us.  We’ll see you out there!” – Wesley Schultz.

 
 
After forming as a duo comprising vocalist/guitarist Wesley Schultz and percussionist/pianist Jeremiah Fraites in 2005, The Lumineers first found their way onto the global music scene in 2012, with their Platinum-selling self-titled debut album boasting the massive Ho Hey, which would top charts around the world, and eventually be certified 5x Platinum in Australia. The group would follow up their debut in 2016 with Cleopatra, which would not only reach #2 in the ARIA Singles Charts, but also amass more than 116 million streams globally. Releasing their third record, the aptly-titled III in 2019, The Lumineers briefly returned to Australia for a pair of performances in NSW: an intimate show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and a high-profile appearance on the 2019 Splendour In The Grass line-up. 
 
Having been performing on some of the world’s greatest stages for the last decade, The Lumineers returned in early 2022 with their fourth full-length album, Brightside, which would top the charts in their native US. Amassing over 5.5 billion global streams for their celebrated discography and selling over 5 million albums, the duo are now set to bring their eclectic and acclaimed folk rock sounds back to Australian shores once again.
 
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 9am local time Friday 5 August, for tickets and further information, head tohttp://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/

THE LUMINEERS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR 2022
Presented In Partnership With Handsome Tours And Bluesfest
FRI 11 NOV | POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND | 18+
SUN 13 NOV | FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE | 18+
TUES 15 NOV | AWARE SUPER THEATRE, SYDNEY | AA
FRI 18 NOV | MARGARET COURT ARENA, MELBOURNE | AA

 

 

 

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STEEL PANTHER Announce New 2022 Australian Tour Dates with Airbourne

After two long years of on-again, off-again, more on-again, more off-again announcements, the world's most beloved big haired heavy metal outfit Steel Panther have officially confirmed new dates for what is set to be the wildest, wettest, dirtiest, hardest, heaviest most rocking heavy metal tour to land in Australia.

Having previously announced shows for 2020, and then 2021, Steel Panthers forthcoming Australian tour will now take place in October 2022, and will also feature support from legendary Victorian outfit Airbourne, who will be replacing Sevendust.

After blazing through Europe and rocking 100,000 strong soldout crowds together at gargantuan festivals like Hellfest, and Download, we’re finally bringing the mega Hard Rock & Heavy Metal party of the year down to Oz!  If you love POWER CHORDS, POWER DRINKING, and POWER ROCKING then YOU ARE INVITED to the Airbourne and Steel Panther POWER PARTY!!  Rock you HARD in ROCKTOBER!!”Airbourne

In addition to hitting massive venues across the country with the Victorian band, Airbourne Steel Panther will also be turning their Brisbane show into a mini-festival, featuring Dead Letter Circus, Devilskin, Lagerstein, and Bare Bones!

The ‘HEAPS & LOADS’ tour marks the largest venue that Steel Panther will have ever played in Australia. Due to growing demand every time they return down under, mixed with countless rave reviews, the Californian outfit will be landing in Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne for a handful of enormous shows!

For the uninitiated, Steel Panther was formed in 2000 and is comprised of Michael Starr (lead singer), Satchel (guitarist), and Stix Zadinia (drums). Hailing from Los Angeles, the epicenter for rock n’ roll in all its debauchery and glamour, Steel Panther has established themselves as the world’s premier party band, melding hard rock virtuosity with parody and criminally good looks. Steel Panther is a global phenomenon with five full-length albums, touring across the world, platinum-level YouTube status, and a #13 debut for the latest album Heavy Metal Rules on the ARIA charts.

Rolling Stone avowed, “There’s a reason Steel Panther have transcended their origins as a cover band playing the Sunset Strip,” while Metal Sucks declared, “Steel Panther’s concept is genius…their songwriting is…preposterously snappy – and relatable.”

FINAL TICKETS FOR STEEL PANTHER’S AUSTRALIAN TOUR ARE ON SALE NOW VIA:
https://mjrpresents.com/

STEEL PANTHER
 Heaps & Loads

Australian Tour 2022
with special guests Airbourne

Wednesday 19 October – Newcastle Entertainment Centre – Newcastle, NSW

Friday 21 October – Hordern Pavilion – Sydney, NSW

Saturday 22 October – Eatons Hill – Brisbane, QLD
With –
Dead Letter Circus, Devilskin, Lagerstein and Bare Bones

Sunday 23 October – Margaret Court Arena – Melbourne, VIC

Tickets for previously announced shows are still valid for all new dates.

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LT Announces New Single and Music Video ‘ROLLERCOASTER’

Renowned as one of Queensland’s hardest working independent artists, enigmatic pop dreamweaver LT returns in joyful and theatrical fashion via her brand new single Rollercoaster out today. Also armed with a hard-hitting accompanying music video, Rollercoaster is a shimmering blast of polished dreamy pop with stirring thematics that you’ll fall in love with over and over again.

Helmed by LT’s vibrant vocals and an effervescent sonic coating, Rollercoaster deals in bouncy beats, shimmering strings and swooning harmonies. A fun, deep and explosive outing, Rollercoaster brings together LT with an all-star team, including co-writing and producing courtesy via Joel Quartermain and Edwin White, mixing by Tony Buchen, and mastering by Leon Zervos. Drawing from a variety of personal influences in the writing process, Rollercoaster may, on its surface, present as a bright and bubbly pop gem, but this utter earworm also comes brandishing significantly personal and hard-hitting thematics, as LT explains, “Rollercoaster is about caring for someone who battles with bipolar disorder.  It’s about navigating through sleepless nights and uncontrollable highs, and keeping afloat during days of slumber and sweeping lows.  It’s about love, perseverance, and riding that rollercoaster until you next see light.”

The music video for Rollercoaster painstakingly and respectfully reflects the mental health undertones of the accompanying single, with LT working alongside Brendan Shoenmaker, an emerging Brisbane creator, to bring the captivating clip to life. Featuring dancers and actors Katie Woods and Ellie Bankowski front-and-centre in a modern twist on vintage arthouse cinema, and filmed at Smoke Creative in Brisbane, the video for Rollercoaster showcases duality in its many forms, presented in realistic yet optimistic fashion. Marrying the many modes of mental health, manic depression, love and perseverance with a sharp, circular spotlight alongside the glimmering track itself, the clip elegantly embodies darker thematics while also paying visual homage to a filmmaking great, as LT elaborates, “Due to the sensitive subject matter of Rollercoaster, it was really important we created something beautiful that in no way added to the stigma that people battling mental health issues can experience. Brendan used inspiration from filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s persona, creating a film depicting inner duality.  The story demonstrates a study of yin and yang told through the cat and mouse relationship of two dancers, representing not just the duality of bipolar but the togetherness of the relationship as well as a healthy dose of self-love. It explores the relationship of duality from a perspective of absence and presence, with the dance built around two characters slipping in and out of each other’s space. It is the tug of war between these moments that we wanted to showcase along with connection, endurance and the will to push on through.”

No stranger to the Aussie musical landscape, LT has continually charmed with her refreshing take on the indie, pop and electronic realms. With her previous single Hold Ya appearing as Song You Need To Know on Rolling Stone Australia in 2021, LT is also a multi-award winning powerhouse, with three Queensland Music Award wins under her belt as well as taking out 2018’s Carol Lloyd Award. Proudly flying the flag for her hometown in Cairns, LT has also snagged international acclaim, with her track How Would It Feel picked up on BBC Radio in the UK as well as being remixed by London artist JHustl3 earlier this year. And while her releases continue to delight and enamour at every turn, creating new music is LT’s ultimate happy place, with 2022 offering a renewed chance to continue her passion and deliver some new tunes along the way, as LT concludes, ‘My favourite thing to do in the world is to write and record music, so I feel very fortunate that I still have the opportunity to release new work after such a tricky time. Happy days!”.

 Rollercoaster is out today, Wednesday, July 20.  

 

 

 

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[Review] Thornhill @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 15/07/2022

This was my first pub gig since Covid struck and I was ridiculously excited as I descended the stairs to 170 Russell (or Billboards as it will always be to me and those of my era).  As I was arriving just as the first band on the bill, Banks Arcade was starting their set, I expected a thin crowd as you often see for the first band up on a bill of 4. So seeing the place heaving already was a very pleasant surprise and it also meant I had to elbow my way into my favourite spot at this venue.  Either Banks Arcade has a lot of mates, or everyone was as keen as me for a dose of live music and made sure to catch all the supports.

Banks Arcade is difficult to pigeonhole (if you like your music in neat little boxes).  Their 5 song set gave us everything from the dark, heavy electronica of Don’t Start, the Hip Hop/hardcore hybrid of Used, to the very poppy Sick (that had a very liberal nod to Amity Affliction’s pop/metalcore mix IMO).  Describing something as “Poppy” is an insult in my book, but I actually really like this track with its’ many parts, tempo, and mood changes.  These Kiwi transplants to Melbourne are definitely one to catch again.

I’m afraid I do not understand the appeal of full-on metalcore vocals so I could tell straight away, that I was going to have a bit of a hard time with Gravemind. But amongst the demonic vocals, was a bass that rattled the mirrors and made its’ way around the room via the floorboards and some very impressive lead breaks. Soundgarden they are not, but entertaining, musically proficient, and well appreciated by the crowd they were, even obliging with a circle pit on Billboards diminutive dance floor. 

Dayseeker had made the trip out from LA to support Thornhill on this tour and this was definitely appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd. Henceforth, their style of music shall be called ”Popcore” as this was definitely Hansen meets Sepultura.  There must be a “Metalcore 101” course out there somewhere as despite the obvious difference in style, the similarities in guitar and bass with Gravemind were unmistakable at times.  But unlike Gravemind, Dayseeker has one foot firmly in the Pop genre, making it a bit more palatable to this old bag.  I was reminded of Bullet for My Valentine with the liberal use of a double kick drum and metal guitar in The Colour Black and Crooked Soul and this is definitely to be encouraged.  The more I’ve listened to Dayseeker since Friday, the more I like ‘em.  You are welcome back in my city anytime.

I love atmospheric Aussie Pub Rock!  Stick me in a room with Karnivool, Cog, or Sleepmakeswaves and I’m a happy bunny, so I was very excited when I started checking out Thornhill prior to Friday night’s gig and felt the goosebumps breaking out all over.  But listening to a band on Spotify cannot always prepare you for the live experience and the experience of seeing Thornhill for the first time for me was one of having my tiny mind blown.  It is many years since I have seen a front man like Jacob Charlton. His vocals are perfectly suited to Thornhill’s brand of heavy atmospheric rock and he slipped seamlessly into an impressive falsetto on a number of tracks.  Resplendent in white singlet and a lovely pair of red driving gloves, often taking a backseat singing from the drum riser and letting bassist Nick Sjogren take the centre, he nevertheless OWNED it.  At times channeling Michael Hutchence with “stripper hips” moves and other times, Freddy Mercury stalking the stage with half a mike stand, this guy was mesmerizing.

Right, enough gushing.  Musically, Thornhill reminds me very much of a heavier Karnivool only more tightly crafted with less of Karnivool’s weird mucking around with the tempo in a song.  And despite my aforementioned dislike devil summoning, vocal cord destroying screamo vocals, the occasional use of them is acceptable in my opinion and can add a heavy edge (I luuurve me a bit of Bullet for My Valentine and they are masters at this) and I was not perturbed by their use in songs like Views from the Sun.  There was plenty of light and shade in this set with tracks like the near instrumental All the Light We Don’t See (the vocals don’t start until 1:10 on the album version) and Lily and the Moon sitting in contrast to the heavier tracks like Arkangel and Coven

Thornhill looks to have a busy time coming up as they have a dozen US shows supporting Erra immediately followed by a week of headline shows.  AND, they are supporting the wonderful Butterfly Effect on their Australian tour in October.  Jacob said at one point that 170 Russell was a venue they had always dreamed of playing.  I say, dream higher, as you guys are going places and I hope you don’t mind if I come along for the ride.

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[Review] Bad Moon Born @ Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne 03/06/2022

It’s been a fair while for me to be down at the Bendigo Hotel or to a local gig in general, I miss it! The crowd, the people, the music, and especially the technical difficulties when playing or setting up! This night had it all and a flood of memories just came back like an old man reliving the golden years!

I was on the way to the gig, and saw a post from Fight The Sun, Melbourne alternative rock band who were meant to be opening up tonight and these guys are unreal at what they do! It’s been ages since I’ve seen them play and I was really looking forward to seeing them again, “We are no longer playing due to illness” SHATTERED! That line is starting to come up a lot more these days and I see it as a good and a bad thing. It’s bad because people don’t want to be around illness/sickness and given the current social climate anyone with a cough becomes a leper *insert Monty Python quote*. The good side is that bands are actually giving themselves some self-care and not pushing themselves or risking a shitshow on a member’s health! Either way, they were sorely missed.

Hitting the Bendigo Hotel at 8 pm when doors open there is a steady flow of people, for about 30mins and then that’s pretty much it, the venue hits about a third to half full and doesn’t grow anymore. It’s a bit of a shame given that there are some pretty damn good bands playing tonight and each band put on a good set, even given their troubles, but more on that point later.

First is Cicadastone, a bluesy, southern rock-sounding band with a singer that dances around the Layne Staley vocal style. Compared to the other bands on the bill tonight, what Cicadastone lacked in speed or technicality, they owned the night on feel and groove, with an absolute tight set, showing off some new material from an upcoming release, and apparently, the singer’s son was playing the drums, which he nailed. It was a great way to start off the night, warming up the crowd for the things to come.

Coming up next was Live Like Animals. Starting a little late from a slower setup, understandably after hearing their set, I'm guessing with a complete electro/synth backing track that lasted the entire set, that could take a bit of setting up. 3 Piece Alt Metal band from Syndey with no bassist… it's always the bassist missing… These guys played an incredibly tight set for having a backing track go the entire time, they must really know their cues. They stepped up the energy to another level and got some more crowd involvement. With taking a little time to set up, you would think that sets would be adjusted to make sure that everything still runs smooth, around about the time they should have finished. The background music was put on, over the band, who was playing through inner ear monitors and had no idea that something else was being played over them. I didn’t hear or see any interaction between the sound guy and the stage but there was no communication, and that sort of thing can kill a mood in an instant. It was a shame that it ended a great set that way.

Now what happened next, I have no idea but I’ve seen Ironstone set up before, they are a younger modern metal or “djenty” as the kids call it, style band but they are yet again, a completely digital band, running through guitar pedal boards. They have always been quick to set up and tonight it looked like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. The band hit the stage and start setting up. Singer, Drummer, and Parent are setting up drums, guitarists and bassist are doing their thing. One guitarist finished setting up, “Cool, play something for me” sound comes through FOH and Foldback, thumbs up, Move on! The other guitarist finishes just after, the same thing DONE! The drummer lets the sound guy know about a backing track that is to be played. No Sound. Sound guy comes up, changes some leads, goes back, nope nothing. Let the back and forth begin, once this is complete, Bassist has no sound. Lead change. Seems to fix it. RIGHT! Band gives a test run; one guitar isn’t coming through anymore. “What?” changes a few settings, starts up, guitar back on, THE OTHER GUITARIST STOPS COMING THROUGH NOW! “What the hell is going on!?” Mind you this is now 20mins into Ironstones set and tension is rising. What looks like a complete rewire of the stage, Ironstone who was meant to come on at 10:10 pm starts at 10:45 pm. Ironstone came on for a 4 song set, they hit their 3rd and said “We’ve been Ironstone, Cheers!” but that was then met with “One more song guys!” from one of the members of the headlining act, good on them for being understanding. The shortened set was tight, but the mix wasn’t great on them, they didn’t really get to break into a rhythm and find their spot sonically. The long changeover and muck around killed the flow of the night, unfortunately. I’m not 100% sure on what happened here but whether leads or something wasn’t connected properly but one thing would work and then something else would stop, it was insane to watch.

Ironstone, jump off the stage, thanking/apologizing to the headliners as they change places. Bad Moon Born start setting up and yet again, some leads were working and others weren’t, it didn’t look like it was just an Ironstone problem. Mics were changed, a bit more movement from the sound guy, definitely earning his money tonight, but given a reasonable changeover, lights are dimmed and Bad Moon Born shows us the reason they are headliners for tonight! They come on with looks that fit the name, all in black, jackets on, the singer is even wearing aviator sunnies, how much more rockstar can you get? After their first song, they thank the bands beforehand then get everyone to give it up for the sound guy, every band should make that a thing, it’s always appreciated by them, and they always try and make sure every show runs smooth. The crowd instantly get into it, mind you, it still never grew than about half, which is a shame cause these guys were good! They played covers of Billie Eilish's Bad Guy and NSYNC’s It’s Gotta Be Me, which the whole place was singing and dancing along to. The Bad Guy cover was great, it's already a darker track and they made it even darker again, and then who doesn’t love a good NSYNC cover song, it’s pretty clear they had fun working on them and everyone listening to it had a blast. The set ended with a feature from the singer of Future Static for duet, which everyone got into and was singing back.

Overall, with the mishaps of technical difficulties and the ups and downs of shortened sets, all bands played great sets. These things happen and it should be reminded to anyone that reads this who is in a band, make sure you thank the sound guy, they put up with so much shit, and having friends who do live sound cop it or just go un-thanked, you don’t know how much it's appreciated and the band is remembered by them when it does happen. Now we just need more people to remember that live music is coming back and start attending local shows, but one thing at a time I guess.

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[Review] Black Veil Brides @ The Gov, Adelaide 04/07/2022

Initially scheduled for 2020, it seemed like longer than two years for this gig to come around! The first date was canceled like many other gigs at the time were, due to covid 19. Then, in 2021, the re-scheduled gig was canceled due to the ongoing restrictions making it impossible to bring an overseas band into the country for a big show still. Then, just when things were looking good for attempt number three, with just days to go…there was a case of covid 19 within the band’s inner circle, forcing yet another postponement!

Finally, by the 4th of July, the band was officially in the country on tour, and it was Adelaide’s turn to finally see the Black Veil Brides up close at The Gov.

By the time the day of the gig arrived, it felt almost too good to be true and I half expected it to be called off at the last minute. Thankfully when I turned up at the venue, I saw the biggest lineup I’ve ever seen outside The Gov. The line seemed to snake down the road for miles and I wondered how they could possibly fit everyone inside. Word was out that this was a sell-out show but there still seemed to be many more people there than I had imagined.

By the time I got inside, support act Wolf and Chain had already started their set. Their self-proclaimed emo style was going down perfectly with the mostly twenty-somethings crowd. Reminiscent of Panic! At the Disco or Taking Back Sunday, Wolf and Chain’s high-energy set seemed a good fit for the crowd in attendance. My observations so far regarding the tastes of the crowd seemed to be vindicated when right after this opening set, the whole room sang along word for word to My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade as it rang out from the DJ booth. This sure seemed to be a crowd who were keen to make up for lost time and make the most of this long-awaited event.

So far, the night had been running right on schedule. The headliners were due at 9 pm and sure enough, as soon as I noticed it was time, the lights went out to announce the arrival of the Black Veil Brides. As each member of the band arrived on stage, there was a huge roar from the crowd. When front-man Andy Biersack entered last, it sounded like an arena-sized crowd as opposed to the large club that we were actually in. Opening with Faithless from their 2014 self-titled album, the band matched the crowd with an arena-worthy performance right from the start. Guitarists Jinxx and Jake worked the entire stage, snaking around past each other, combining synchronized moves for effect when needed. Andy, despite sounding like he had a little croak in his voice at times, was the consummate front-man, commanding the attention of the room and managing to perform to every pocket of the audience spread throughout the venue.  The band worked their way through a very high-energy set that covered the band’s career from Knives and Pens from their 2010 debut, through to Scarlett Cross from their latest album The Phantom Tomorrow. Relatively new bassist Lonny Eagleton held down the bottom end of the sound and looked as though he fit in well, managing to swap stage positions often seamlessly with Jinxx from opposite ends of the stage as though they had worked together for much longer than they actually have. There was very little chatter from Andy between songs as the band worked their way through the set-list, however, he did draw attention to a fan in the crowd who had apparently been to every Australian show so far and had apparently asked them earlier why they never played their song Stolen Omen. The band decided to give it a quick run-through during soundcheck and added it to the set as per the fan’s request. Later in the set came Wretched and Divine from the album of the same name and Fallen Angels from their Set the World on Fire album (two of my personal favourites). At this point, the band said their goodbyes and exited the stage. This must-have given drummer Christian Coma some relief as there had been no lull in the set at any point and he’d been smashing the drums like a madman the entire time.

After the short obligatory break with the crowd demanding, ‘one more song!’ the band returned to the stage to finish the night with the aptly titled In the End to close the show.

As soon as this song was over, the band exited the stage for the final time, the house lights came on, and everyone shuffled their way outside to head home.

I’m sure there were a lot of people at this gig feeling satisfied with the night’s performance and relieved that it had finally happened. Personally, I felt it was a great performance and definitely worth the wait but it certainly could have gone on for quite a while longer. With six full-length albums released, there was no shortage of great songs from the Black Veil Brides back catalogue to fill a set longer than the hour played during this show. Now that the world appears to be somewhat back to normal again, here’s hoping we see the band back in Australia again soon with a longer set.

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