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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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[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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[Review] Charley Crockett @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 13/02/2024

Tuesday saw just another classic Summer day in Melbourne – 37 degrees, damaging storms, torrential rain, flooding, gale force winds, power outages, all the usual stuff – however none of this deterred a bunch of keen music lovers who ventured out to see the talented Charley Crockett. The Texan country singer has been touring Australia with his band for the past few weeks, with his final show set for Perth on 14th February. 

Knowing very little about him and only a couple of his songs, I was interested to see the demographic of his fan base. Based on my last hectic country music experience at the Forum, I was well prepared for what potentially may lay ahead for me. If you’ve been reading my previous reviews then you’ll know I love people watching, especially at gigs. The fans that rolled out to this gig were a lot more sedate than my previous experience, and proved a solid point that you can’t always stereotype the fans a musician or band may attract. Given the thick, traditional country sound to his music, I was surprised to find only a handful of Stetson hats wandering through the crowd and a limited amount of plaid shirts and cowboy boots adorning the punters. From the ages of early 20’s to late 80’s and everything in between, it really was the ultimate mixed bag of people. 

As I settled into position in the historically beautiful Forum theatre, I managed to catch the last few songs of the first support act, Sweet Talk. The local Melbourne 6 piece outfit have got a damn fine sound, and I was disappointed I didn’t get to catch their full set(Thanks public transport delays). Country, soul, blues, with slight funk undertones and hint of honky tonk, these guys have got a dash of everything in their music, and lead singer Tane Walker’s voice has got an awesome soul quality to it. This is a band I’ll definitely be looking out for in the future – I need more of them in my life! 

Next up were Sydney country band Caitlin Harnett & the Pony Boys. With their solid country sound and Caitlin’s distinct soaring vocals, they proved to be a big hit with the crowd despite Caitlin joking at times “You don’t even know who we are”. Their recently released album All Night Long is sure to be a hit with fans old and new, and the song Sidelines – which Caitlin wrote for her sister- is definitely a stand-out track. 

There was an excited buzz travelling throughout the audience now, and I could tell everyone was gearing up for the main event. Well our appetites were about to be fed, as Charley’s band entered stage left followed by the man himself, decked out in his crisp Ten Gallon hat and acoustic guitar strapped firmly to his front. They opened the show with $10 Cowboy, and the crowd were absolutely thrilled! 

Charley then greeted us with a “good evening Melbourne”, which was met with a rowdy applause. Bass player Colin Colby then switched out his electric bass for a classic upright double bass which gave the next track, Black Sedan, a really deep and rich sound. 

Just Like Honey and Lies and Regret followed which the crowd really got into, and the latter was a real toe tappin’ boot scootin’ affair. Charley was flying through the songs back to back with minimal audience interaction in between, and amongst those were some James ‘Slim’ Hand covers including In The Corner. Into the mix he also threw in Hard Luck & Circumstances, Odessa and Look What You Done To Me, which had slight hints of New Orleans Jazz vibes with it’s arrangement. 

It was then we went to Welcome Hard Times, before it sounded like we were headed into a Mexican stand-off when the moody intro to The Man From Waco rang out and had the crowd singing along to the chorus. After a few more songs, including a Jerry Reed cover of I Feel For You, Charley then thanked and praised his wonderfully talented band and said that “they make a $10 cowboy look pretty good”. He then said he had to ask us something, and asked if we were having a good time? This was met with deafening cheers and applause, in which Charley then summoned a big Hallelujah from everyone in the room. 

It was then into another cover, this time Tom T. Hall’s That’s How I Got to Memphis, before we got down with the funky blues tune Travelin’ Blues. Charley then picked up his banjo for the first time that night and proceeded to play the bluegrass sounding track Darlin’ Six Months Ain’t Long, promptly followed up with Lily My Dear. Trinity River was a hit with the crowd, and once again this track with its upbeat jazz feel makes you feel like you’re marching down Bourbon Street in New Orleans in a Second Line Parade. 

It really amazes me how a song can make you feel an experience that you’ve never encountered before, and during Run Horse Run I truly felt like a cowboy in the Wild West riding in the saddle of my faithful steed. After finishing the ode to his home state Goin’ Back to Texas, he cheekily told us that because this was his second Melbourne show he was twice as good as he was the night before, money back guaranteed. His set then drew to a close with Midnight Run and a huge and thunderous applause from the crowd who were hungry for more. When I say the crowd were hungry, they were bloody starving for more once Charley had departed the stage. The cheering and stomping from the audience would’ve put the hyena stampede from The Lion King to shame, and the sound was deafening as the crowd were trying to summon him back to the stage for an encore. There was a long delay where it looked as if that was it and a few concert goers started to disperse, but their ravenous calls were met with Charley reappearing with his acoustic guitar and singing a solo version of Lonesome As a Shadow. It was then one last song with the full band before the night drew to a close and a lot of happy souls were left to venture out into the night for their journey home. 

Charley’s voice is a deep, smooth salve for the soul and at times reminds me a lot of the late great Johnny Cash. I am far from a country music aficionado by any means, however I feel his style of country music is a lot different to what you hear commercially released these days. His old school country sound pulls from influences like Hank Williams and George Jones, and made me feel like I was back in the 1950’s sitting in some little honky tonk bar in the depths of the Deep South. Charley is certainly a talented performer, not just vocally, but musically and with his cute little dance moves and dashing cowboy looks, he really is the whole country meal deal. I really enjoyed my night with Charley, and can now officially call myself a fan! 

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Interview with Hugh Cornwell

Click above to see Casper chat with Hugh Cornwell on announcement of Australian Tour!

When future historians of music draw up a list of the movers and shakers who changed the modern musical landscape, there will be no doubt THAT HUGH CORNWELL’s name will be prominent amongst them. As a pioneering musician, songwriter, and performer his pervasive influence persists in the record collections of music aficionados, across the globe’s radio waves and on stages around the world, Hugh’s presence is unquestionable.

As leader of THE STRANGLERS, Hugh was the main songwriter of all the band’s most memorable songs across ten stellar albums all of whom consolidated Cornwell’s stature as a unique songwriter and musician. His lyrics to ‘Golden Brown’, from the La Folie album, and their multiple meanings, is a songwriting masterclass.

Widely regarded as the poet laureate of punk, Hugh Cornwell has also built a substantial and singular body of impressive solo albums.

Don’t miss this British Music Legend as he Performs Iconic Stranglers Hits and Classic Solo Songs with a Full Band!

“His solo work is a joy to listen to, great lyrics and wonderful guitars, and The Stranglers numbers stand the test of time, still sounding great after all this time” (Scottish Music Network)

“Cornwell’s voice is spiky or smooth as required” (Norfolk Rocks)

HUGH CORNWELL August 2024 Australian Tour Dates

Thursday 1st August The Great Club, SYDNEY (Marrickville)

Friday 2nd August Blue Mountains Theatre, BLUE MOUNTAINS (Springwood)

Saturday 3rd August The Croxton, MELBOURNE (Thornbury)

Sunday 4th August Memo Music Hall, ST. KILDA

Thursday 8th August The Triffid, BRISBANE

Friday 9th August The Gov, ADELAIDE

Saturday August 10th Rosemount, PERTH

Tickets

Presale:  Tuesday 13th February, 9am Local time

General Public: Friday 16th February, 9am Local time

From: https://metropolistouring.com/hugh-cornwell-2024/

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[Review] Wednesday 13 plays Murderdolls, Max Watts, Melbourne 04/02/2024

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!!

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[Review] The Darkness, Festival Hall Melbourne 03/02/2024

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album Permission to Land sees The Darkness back on Australian soil for an impressive string of dates. With singer Justin Hawkins going down with illness just before their arrival we have all been waiting with bated breath, but never fear The Darkness are here and ready to rock. They are no strangers to Australia being greedily lapped up with every visit, now it was my turn to see what all the fuss is about.

The iconic Melbourne stalwart Festival Hall is back up and running after a dubious period in no mans land, and I for one was glad to get back down to Dudley Street and rock out where so many music legends have graced the stage. The openers were plentiful giving punters great value for money, as Melbourne’s Cry Club and Brisbane’s DZ Deathrays got the party started. It was then up to Sydney lunatics You Am I to give the final warm up session. Treating us to a Spinal Tap set that opened up a world of nostalgic memories from the quintessential piece of fictional history. Tim Rogers was the perfect fit to pull off the The Majesty of Tap, he enveloped the role to perfection along with the perfect accompaniment in You Am I. Their musicianship and theatrics were the key to this set going next level, add to this Tim wearing silver flares and a black hooded cape it really set the tone. Stonehenge was delivered with faux stone appearing from the roof, keeping with the theme of the movie, it certainly enveloped the mocumentary with gusto. Hell Hole was another welcome additional and had the crowd up and about as Tim said “Open you cheeks to the sight and smell of the Tap!” as only he could. A wonderful addition to the show and a perfect fit for The Darkness.

The atmosphere was electric to say the least, green lights resembling a landing strip flashing down each side of the stage as The Darkness took full flight to an erupting Festival Hall. This show was their biggest in Australia to date and Melbourne music fans turned out in droves to witness this most prestigious celebration. Justin donning a red and black jumpsuit in his trademark fashion as they jumped into Black Shuck to get the party started. Working through the album in no particular order the fans were 100 per cent committed to making the show one for the memory banks with phones put away and everyone living in the moment. It felt like stepping back in time just people going nuts, hands in the air, clapping on command, dancing, singing and have a bloody awesome night.  Get Your Hands Of My Woman, Growing On Me, Givin’ Up were all slotted in as they worked through this cracker of an album. The punters singing the ‘oh, oh’s’ and ‘Givin Up, Givin Up Givin a Fuck’ with unabashed enthusiasm. Justin had now stripped the top half of his jumpsuit down saying “I didn’t think it would be this hot up here!”  But we all knew it wasn’t called ‘Festy Hall’ for nothing. Crowd engagement was second to none as Love Is Only A feeling and Stuck In A Rut played out, Rufus Tiger Taylor was smashing the skins to within an inch of their life and kept the set running like clockwork.

Dan Hawkins is really a jack of all trades when it comes to musical instruments, his guitar work is of the highest calibre as he strutted his stuff and worked the stage like a true professional.  Frankie Poullain kept pace with the bass, this four-string slayer did not miss a beat, so at home on the big stage as Friday Night saw the fans ready to sing. A sneaky little snippet of Led Zeps Immigrant Song was a worthy addition as super shredder Justin even noodled the intro of AC/Dc’s Thunderstruck before he launched into I Believe In A Thing Called Love. With Melbourne finally throwing up a summer day, good old Festy Hall started to really feel the heat, living up to its nickname in spades as the sweat drenched punters screamed for the one they had been waiting for. Arms aloft clapping in time it really was a sight to behold, Justin still hitting the high notes with faultless precision of a man many years his junior. With the roof well and truly raised the boys left the stage to cool their jets for five minutes but the Melbourne maniacs were having none of it as they stomped and clapped, and if you have been to Festival Hall before you would know those timber floor do love a good feet hammering. It was no surprise when The Darkness returned that Justin said he could hear the stomping from downstairs. With their outfits changed to bedroom attire, all four sporting silk robes or PJ’s of choice, even guitar tech extraordinaire Ian Norfolk sporting a robe. With Justin having more guitar changes than I have had hot dinners he was certainly kept on his toes, and he did not miss a beat. I can see why they call him the fifth member of the band.  Speaking of the band, Justin went on to do introductions to the tune of In The Air Tonight made famous by Phil Collins, with his brother Dan on the drums, mixing things up a bit. Once again I reiterate, super talented musicians!!

Justin launched into I Love You 5 Times, almost a cappella with the fans singing along until he strapped on his guitar and ramped it up a level or two.  Love On The Rocks With No Ice saw out the show and had the rabid crowd in a right frenzy as Justin took to the shoulders of one of his team and made his way in and around the floor of Festival Hall. All while shredding up a storm and not missing a single note, fans very respectful of him with the odd pat on the back as he made his way from one side to the other. After being delivered back on stage he showcased his skills again playing, jumping and even hopping on one leg as he played like his life depended on it.  Forever the showman and a moment forever etched in our hearts. The Darkness really are the complete package and if are yet to see them do not delay, with just a few shows left on this Australian tour it would be a cardinal sin to miss out.

Celebrating 20 years in the biz is no small feat but here’s hoping there will be many more years in the tank for The Darkness. Gauging on tonight’s performance Melbourne Airport will not just grant permission to land but dedicate a runway in their honour. Thanks for the thrills boys, here’s to seeing you back in Aus real soon!

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FeaturedNews

SKILLET Announce Australian Tour

SKILLET Announce Their First Australian Tour Since 2018!

Not every rebellion gestates in darkness. As one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st century, SKILLET continue to rebel against conventions, doubts, expectations, and rules with the intent to uplift in light. SKILLET have never compromised their integrity or their faith. Instead, they have travelled their own path to unprecedented heights with an urgent sound, undeniable energy, and unbreakable spirit.

The Wisconsin quartet have embodied rock ‘n’ roll’s evolution from day one, selling 12 million albums worldwide to date. Landmark Triple Platinum album Awake, featuring the 2x-platinum track Awake & Alive, 3x-platinum track Hero and 4x-platinum track Monster (one of the most-streamed rock songs in history with over 4 BILLION global audio streams) went on to pick up the Billboard Music Award. The band’s 2019 album, Victorious, marked the group’s fourth consecutive Top 20 debut on the Billboard Top 200. Their brand-new album, Dominion, is a testament to the band’s enduring appeal, charting strongly and with sales that truly defy the international trend of declining album sales.

John Cooper (lead vocals/bass), Korey Cooper (guitar/keys), Jen Ledger (drums/vocals), and Seth Morrison (lead guitar) —create epic, expansive and anthemic music: the type of rock that is tailor made for a live setting; and Australia will have an all too rare chance to experience the glory that is a Skillet live show this April.

SKILLET April 2024 Australian Tour Dates:

4th April SYDNEY, Metro Theatre (Licensed All Ages)

5th April BRISBANE, Eatons Hills Hotel Theatre (Licensed All Ages)

7th April MELBOURNE, Northcote Theatre

8th April ADELAIDE, Hindley St Music Hall (Mixed Licensed All Ages)

10th April PERTH, Astor Theatre (Licensed All Ages)

* VIP Meet and Great Packages Available

 Tickets

Presale: Wednesday 7th February, 9am Local time

General Public On Sale: Friday 9th February, 9am Local Time

Tickets From: https://metropolistouring.com/skillet-2024/

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Lord Huron @ The Forum, Melbourne 27/01/2024

Trying to find the words to describe Lord Huron is so difficult. They’re so much more than ‘indie-folk outfit’, ‘country sensation’ or any other combination of words rattling around in my brain. The show at The Forum proved to me that Lord Huron are so much bigger than a little box. I haven’t been able to get them out of my head, and that’s exactly what they were going for.

Support act, Asha Jefferies, should be a household name already. Her lyrics are beautifully understated, melancholic, and yearning. Her vocals aren’t like anything else I’ve ever heard. This is the last day of the tour, and yet Asha still soars to these breathtaking heights. If there is a ‘calling’ – this is hers. I stop before the main floor of The Forum, spellbound. She’s like sirens, harpies, or something else that would sink unsuspecting music writers. She feels like something out of a fantasy book. “The sound guys here are like the coolest, funniest guys ever! Give them a round of applause!” There’s just a moment of hesitation from the crowd, we are shaking off a musical spell. But then we cheer and clap and hoot and holler before she launches into one last song. “I have a new album coming out in April, check it out if you can!” I have marked April in my calendar with a big ugly red circle as a reminder, and you should to. “This last song is about loving your friends. I’m dedicating this one to Genie and Isaac, who are here tonight. It’s called Spinning.” I might gasp, or cry, or shuffle off this mortal coil for a minute. Spinning is stunning, it’s angelic and mysterious. How does Jefferies manage to capture nostalgia and aching so well in a 3-minute song? I feel like my heart strings have just strung her guitar. Listen to Asha Jefferies, remember to lie down somewhere soft, and let her take your hand and guide you into a part of yourself long neglected.

After a 30-minute break, admiring the beautiful interior of The Forum, the lights go dim. We know what that means; Lord Huron making their way onto the stage. They’re all wearing suits, in earthy fabrics like tweed or linen or suede. Two of them have bolo-ties, the bassist has a neck scarf. I see two big, black-brimmed hats. They look like relics from a bygone American era. I don’t think the cowboy aesthetic is an act for them, it feels natural. I could be convinced they bought those hats in 1879 from Ye Olde Hat Emporium. There is something timeless, powerful, and enigmatic oozing from the band.  Front man Ben Schneider seems aware of the folkloric, mythic quality the band has. After a haunting opening of Time’s Blur and Love Like Ghosts, Schneider takes the mic gently between his hands – and you could hear a pen drop in a sold-out Forum.

“We’re going to try to sort of take you on a musical journey. There’ll be ups and downs and twists and turns. Heartbreak and redemption, laughter, tears, high-fives, pats on the butt, making out – everything in between, ok? So, if you find yourself bored, or thinking ‘This isn’t for me.’ Just wait a little bit. Something your flavour will come up.”

Immediately, the band comes to life again. The lights on the forum stage dance in sunset reds and oranges and golds. Meet Me in the Woods, Mine Forever and Dead Man’s Hand, all perfectly flow into each other as I am spellbound by those lights. The instrumentals are flawless, they’re better than the album. Intricate guitar work, mesmerising vocals and a perfect dance of drums and bass in the background – it’s musical bliss. There are moments in the songs that follow that feel like homages to Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and countless other classics. Every song is Lord Huron listening, growing, and incorporating. Their entire setlist, their whole discography is a love letter to music. It’s written for those who came before then, and ferociously studied by those coming after them.

Wait by the River feels like a sermon. Schneider’s hands go above his head and he calls for us to do the same. Without thinking, my body obeys. But it isn’t just for this song, it’s the whole night. Every time they say clap, I slam my hands together involuntarily. They control every hair on my head, every muscle in my body. I’m not resisting the spell Lord Huron are casting. The band have themselves under a spell at times, like they’re mere vessels for something greater. The three guitarists in the back left drop their heads and sway, but somehow still play these beautifully intricate melodies. My jaw is still on the floor, if someone could pick it up as they passed – that would be great.

Towards the end of the night, is where we hit our high. Schneider leaves for a minute, and comes back wearing a comically large skeleton mask – el Día de los Muertos style. The World Ender and Ancient Names are both sung, played and demolished by skeleton-led Lord Huron. The mask adds to the feeling that these guys might be reincarnated, straight out of the Wild West. That they are mythical and mysterious and not of this world. The guitars are screaming, Schneider is strumming so fast his hands a blur. The vocals are the strongest they’ve ever been. I really struggled to describe this momento. It was so unexpected, so spooky, so perfect. A live-music best-of reel momento, for sure.

Something I never thought I’d see, was a theremín being played live. The stage goes black as Schneider changes out of his skeleton mask, and a single spotlight illuminates the neck-scarf wearing bassist; Miguel Briseño. He stands perfectly still, moving his hands into the instrument, and playing the most heartbreaking introduction to Way Out There. My heart almost can’t take it. I thought it would just get this solo at the beginning – oh, how wrong was I. For 4 beautiful minutes, we are treated to haunting theremin. His hands move with precision, melancholy, and appreciation for the strange instrument. He is a master. My friend keeps whispering “omg a theremin.” Over and over. Words can’t do the moment justice, yet again.

And of course, The Night We Met. One of the biggest songs of recent memory. This song is beautiful. It’s perfect, really. It’s so heartbreaking, so hopeful, so hopeless, so human. Listen to it. It makes my heart feel like it’s been chewed up, spat out, reinflated, and sent to find me. Everyone is singing at the top of their lungs. For that final chorus.

I had all and then most of you. Some and now none of you. Take me back to the night we met.

We sing and we scream, and we cry a little, and so do they. This was a special, intimate moment for everyone there that night. No notes, perfection. Now excuse me while I go cry and yearn in peace.

Schneider leaves us with some closing words, and a promise to come back soon. I’ll leave you with them, too.

See you next time, folks. Until then, live until you die.

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