Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Simple Plan @ John Cain Arena, Melbourne 11/04/2024

The year is 2013. You’ve just started at a new school in some satellite city, and you’re waiting at the bus stop. The bus is 15 minutes late. Before you can grumble about being late on the first day, your headphones light up with Simple Plan. The heavy pop-punk guitar rips through your teenage angst and you tap your foot slightly. Suddenly, time has passed and you’re on the bus. We The Kings serenade you as you step onto school ground and run for class. Boys Like Girls give you the speed and agility you need to step around the two other students and make it to the top of the stairs in time.

Thursday night was just like that. Except instead of being me in year 8, it was me at 24 outside Melbourne’s John Cain Arena, waiting with a sea of others with that same experience for our tickets. This was maybe the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at the iconic Melbourne venue. The vocals of American Idol winner, Jax, keep us bouncing and excitedly calling over friends while we wait for entry.

Eventually, I make my way inside, and get the most spectacular seats. I settle down to watch the end of We The Kings’ set. The 6-piece are giving it their absolute all in a disappointingly short setlist. I was aching to see more of them and was so sad to see them go after only about 8 songs. Pounding drums, I can feel in my feet, amazing acoustic and electric guitar work blending together seamlessly to take me back to those earlier days. We The Kings sound just good live as they do on the album, and maybe, better. The audience is screaming and clapping and dancing, and it gives the music such depth, recordings just can’t capture. One thing about the crowd; we love We The Kings. Every song’s conclusion is met with ferocious cheers and begs for more. It was honestly hard for me to take notes because I was so enraptured by the Florida band.

Before I know it, we are at the final number. Check Yes Juliet is more than a hit, it’s iconic. It’s generation defining. It’s brain chemistry changing. Ask anyone born between 1994 and 2000, and we can sing this goddamn song. It really is anthemic. And boy do We The Kings know it. After absolutely shredding their way through it, with incredible bass work, guitar strumming to rival some of The Greats and a beautiful comradery – they turn the mic to us and ask us to sing, completely acapella. And we do. The stadium is full of voices, all screaming the chorus at the top of our lungs. At moments, you can tell Travis Clerk wants to take the microphone back but doesn’t. We are just too lost in the song, in the moment and in nostalgia.

We The Kings leaves the stage, leaving us hungry for more, and telling the world “Now that’s how you open!”

Third cab off the rank was Boys Like Girls, the band I knew the least out of the lineup – or so I thought. As soon as Love Drunk started playing, a part of me woke up and I realised I knew this band. I knew these songs. And so did everyone else. The screen behind the foursome played a mix of music video clips, lyrics and animations which reflected off the guys’ all-leather fits. They were clearly going for a modern-twist on 1980’s glam-rock and it weirdly worked. “The name? Boys Like Girls. The Place? Boston Masechussets, USA, The World, The Milky Way, The Motherfucking Universe!!!” Front man, Martin Johnson yowls into the microphone.

BLOOD AND SUGAR goes down an absolute treat, the boys needing a cigarette after it’s finale. “The secret to rock ‘n’ roll, is to keep smoking cigarettes. It keeps you nice and young!” After a set full of flicked guitar picks, thrown drumsticks and impassioned rants, it starts to come to a close. We wish their touring guitarist a very happy birthday, before being taken into a remix of Love Drunk, yet again, to close us out. And wow, what a fantastically, high-energy set from the boys from Boston. “Ah Australia. The weed. The sunshine. The magpies. We love ya!” and we love you too, Boys Like Girls.

And now, the finale. Simple Plan look like a group of Canadian talk show hosts but play like absolute rock superstars. With six studio albums, a theme song and over 25 years together – they are an absolute musical unit. Given this history, it’s unsurprising this set was impossible to capture in the number of words I have.

“Are you ready to party with Simple Plan? This next song’s called Jump, so what’re you gonna do?” From their second song onwards, it’s a blur for me. Partially because of the intense strobes, but mostly because of the energy in that room. Jumping up and around onstage, soaking it up, and looking like the cool uncles you see once a year – their energy is just perfection.

This set is long, and it’s a mix of new and old originals to keep fans of every era full to the absolute brim. It’s also full of covers, delivered with Simple Plan skill, spunk, and wit. The mashup between All Star / Sk8erBoi and Mr Brightside, changed me a little bit. Let Go, by Avril Lavigne was the first album I bought with my own money, I think I screamed so loud my vocal cords ripped.

But I will never scream as loud at any show the way I screamed at What’s New, Scooby Doo? The theme song that changed me. The ripping guitars, driving drums and rhythmic bass did not disappoint, and I was thrown into a frenzy of voices, claps and elated laughs. The girls behind me were giddily shouting “They played it! They really played it!” after it ended. Needless to say, it brought the sold-out house down. For Iconic, they brought out first-support Jax. Her vocals are just incredible. Vanilla-y and sweet, with an edge that is difficult to capture, but is complimented perfectly by an electric guitar – it was a duet to never be forgotten.

Normally, I hate encores. But I could not wait for Simple Plan’s return. I’m Just A Kid, was, unsurprisingly, a smash hit. I love this fucking song, man. And I’m not alone. This Song Saved My Life made me appreciate these guys as musicians, and what they did for two generations of teenagers. I saw parents with kids swaying and singing together. Young couples. Older people with shaved heads – everyone was completely caught-up in Simple Plan’s simple, breathtaking charisma. Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, genuinely made me cry a little. I’m glad they cut it at verse 2, or I would’ve been a mess. I hope I see Simple Plan’s faces again. Because nothing can quite compare to the Montreal Band’s musicianship, charm and command.

I left the arena feeling warm and golden. My ears were aching for more and I could still feel the claps of happy hands in my feet. Next time they’re down under, get to it. I promise, you won’t be disappointed – and neither will that kid inside you, who’s waiting for a late bus at the bus-stop.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Knotfest @ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne 21/03/24

Metal Tee piece on; check! Hot ticket for Knotfest; Check! Hours away from seeing Phil & what’s left of the boys, swig of the goose and I’m amped and out the door to knock down the Cemetery Gates at Flemington Racecourse.

It is a perfect sunny Melbourne afternoon to squash down some cans, extend my middle finger to the working man & get shoulder to shoulder with my metal comrades. My brothers and sisters cladded in heavy duty boots, battle jackets and the mainstream defiant alike, all psyched to latch onto the assault of double bass drums & distortion city.

That working man that scored the bird didn’t cut the leash until 3:30pm so I can only review from The Hu onwards. I made my way to the two stages and settled into The Hu.  Now I’ve never seen The Hu before and I was immediately sucked right in. Fuck me, I was not expecting see a jaw harp at this gig. A Fkn Jaw Harp!! Then counting them off, yep 8 members, ok, a drummer and a percussionist, ok both my balls are in.

This is Mongol rolled out first. A hypnotic march paced folk / metal infusion. At first I was like WTF!! In my head I’m like is that a fiddle?!! I’m looking at this 2 stringer with bright white strings, are they cat gut strings??  With my undivided attention The Hu blasted me with next few numbers like Black Thunder, Wolf Totem, Bil Biyelgee, Yuve Yuve Yu and finished a Metallica cover Through the Never. Could’ve done without the cover, lost me a bit there. I mean if you’re going to cover a Metallica cover at Knotfest maybe go a bit more old school metal but each to their own.

Overall I rate them and I am even  listening to them as I write this. They are a great stage spectacle, almost has that trance like spiritual Mongolian vibe to it except they bash you in the face with it. Prepare for Mongolian battle music.

The sun is still pounding us from above but it’s a good pounding exit stage left shuffle 50 paces off your right shoulder and look its stage 2. Nice! Didn’t have to bolt 1km to the next stage, oh look BEEER Tent!!

Halestorm are up next and jeeze has Lizzy got a set of lungs on her! I mean Lizzy Hale can wail!!

Kicking off with I Miss the Misery the four piece rock outfit were pretty keen to grab our attention. Didn’t matter whether you were sprawled out on the grass or on your feet, Halestorm had you mildly moving at least one body part. Not sure they fit into the whole Knotfest scenario though.

I’d say they’re borderline hard rock and the only thing metal is the hardware on their instruments. Not saying they’re bad, just probs better off touring with The Baby Animals.

Enter stage left, its 6:15, the last of the sun for the day but the first of Lamb of God!

It was getting pretty thick with the flesh of humans now as we got pummelled with Memento Mori.   And Ihave to admit and it was a discussion point with a couple of my fellow musician mates that the guitaring mix was hard to hear over drum & bass. At points my T-shirt was vibrating from double kick drum mayhem. Ahhh outside air gigs are tough to mix!! We found ourselves moving closer to the sound booth to catch the clearer sound.  However, the circle work from the mosh gave no indication of the mix as the punters slapped flesh with the best of them. It was a fierce pit from the opening song and there was no relenting for the duration of their set.

With Morton & Adler locking it away tight with filthy good riffing that is punishingly brilliant but can also pull back into melodic interludes when its time. While Lamb of God aren’t my go to, its songs like Hourglass especially towards the back end of that track that sucks me in.

Lamb Of God had a ripper set giving the patriots Walk With Me In Hell, Hourglass & Now You’ve Got Something To Die For finishing on Redneck. It was bloody epic and was pretty well received for those that got through the mix.

JD can in one hand JD can in the other. Oh, fuck me Bro look its Disturbed! Hey You……was the first song that Dan & John kicked off with followed by Mike and then Dave with his renowned vocal sound. Thankfully back to stage right for Disturbed the mix was clear again and all instruments could be distinguished.

The crowd was slightly thicker again and as this set got further along the I started to see more inverted body parts poking out of crowd in front me. Dave kept them moving with Stupify rolling into seeing Ten Thousand Fists. It’s hard to stand still when a full tom intro from Mike kicks that song off and that distinctive guitar sound from Dan delivers a solid blow to your ear pieces.

Another killer set inclusive of Bad Man, The Game, The Light, Unstoppable, of course Down With The Sickness & Inside of Fire. Yes dickheads, they played The Sound of Silence!! I’m not a fan of the revitalised classic but it did have an atmospheric aura about it as our Aussie sun was done and the crowd drank it in albeit on a patch of grass and only too far from the cobbled stones but no one dared Disturb the sound of silence.

Stage Left Mother Fuckers!!!!!!!

Full Choad moment, let me prefix this with when I was a wee pissant teenager, my alarm clock would go off to the sound of Mouth for War!! Out on the stage walks Phil, crowd goes nuts need I say anymore?? OK, as follows.

A New Level was the first biscuit from the Cowboys from Hell. Couldn’t tell you what anyone else was doing as I was fixated on what was unfolding. Again, slightly annoyed at the mix, maybe it was something to do with stage left, Fuck You stage left!! So I found myself moving around a bit.  But wasn’t going to let that get in the way.

Next song…….wait is that my alarm….am I dreaming, oh wait nup that’d be Mouth for War.

“REVENGE!!!!!” “My ears can’t hear what you say to me!!!” Fuck me, it’s sooooo good!

Honestly, I’ve always kicked myself for not seeing them when Dimebag & Vinnie were still with us but this was better than nothing and if you’re throwing in Zakk then if not like for like then you’re getting value right? Not to forget Charle Benante who walks amongst the innovators of blast beating (I’m not talking about rapid pounding of your flesh puppet), any drummers will know and he carries his own. 

The setlist was Strength Beyond Strength, Becoming, I’m Broken, Suicide Note Pt 2, This Love, Floods, Walk, Domination / Hollow, Cowboys from Hell, Fucking Hostile. A few little intros or outros with By Demons Be Driven and Throes of Rejection.

Overall I walked out of there slaughtered and Goddamn Electric!! There was plenty of noise about the lineup this year not stacking up and even though I wasn’t there for all of it what was good was fucking ace and the substandard parts were still rocking. I rate 2024 Knotfest a ripping success and Pantera well, even at 5am in the morning, I’ll always have a Mouth For War!!!

Read More
Post Image

Alpha Wolf Half Living Things Australian Tour Sells Out. Additional Shows Added And Venue Upgrades. Tickets On Sale Now.

Bringing the noise firmly back in 2024, Australian behemoths ALPHA WOLF sold out their Half Living Things Australian Headline Tour with special international guests, including Ohio metalcore stalwarts THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Texan metalcore trailblazers INVENT ANIMATE and Swedish modern heavy wielders THROWN this August in less than a week of tickets on sale.

Due to overwhelming demand, additional shows have been added and venues upgraded with tickets on sale now.

New shows have been added to Melbourne on Friday 2 August at Chelsea Heights Hotel and a 2nd show at Liberty Hall in Sydney on Wednesday 7 August.

Perth's show on Thursday 1 August has now been upgraded to Metropolis, Adelaide on Sunday 4 August will now be at Hindley St Music Hall and Brisbane's venue has been upgraded to Fortitude Music Hall on Saturday 10 August. All existing tickets remain valid for these shows.

Never ones to do anything by halves, ALPHA WOLF have relentlessly sharpened their trademark intensity against the odds over the years, from releasing their critically-acclaimed sophomore album A Quiet Place To Die amid the pandemic in 2020, to releasing a split EP, The Lost & The Longing, with Welsh rockers Holding Absence in 2022, and, as of 2024, ferociously approaching their third full-length album Half Living Things, due out on Friday 5 April via Greyscale Records and SharpTone Records.

Hinting at things to come via the track Bring Back The Noise, a neck-snapping party-starter, as well as the internet-breaking collab single Sucks 2 Suck with legendary rapper Ice-T, last week saw ALPHA WOLF release the emphatic single, Whenever You're Ready. A track soaked in heart-wrenching melodics and pounding instrumentation.

Launching their own curated festival CVLTFEST in 2022, ALPHA WOLF continue to powerfully fly the flag for their own incredible wares as well as the local heavy music scene and exciting international acts, with CVLTFEST returning last month for its second edition to critical acclaim, headlined by ALPHA WOLF themselves alongside friends Emmure (USA), Crossfaith (Japan), Ocean Grove, Paledusk (Japan), Ten56. (France), Diamond Construct, Crave Death and Vilify.

Ticking off their biggest North American run to date with Motionless in White in and tearing up multiple stages as part of the inaugural Knotfest Australia last year, ALPHA WOLF kicked off 2024 touring regionally supporting The Amity Affliction, and will embark later this month on a massive North American headline run, supported by Emmure, UnityTX and Chamber, before heading to the UK to appear at Download Festival alongside Queens Of The Stone Age, Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold and more.

Forming in 2005, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA have gone on to become a towering fixture in the metalcore scene, armed with their balanced blend of turbulence, eloquent lyricism and melodic sorcery. From securing six consecutive Top 5 debuts on the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums Chat through to extensive tours across the globe, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA most recently showcased their prowess via their 2022 album Color Decay. In 2024, the band will return to Australia in following supporting Polaris on a national sold out tour in 2017, and also marking the band's first tour down under since releasing The Act in 2019 and Color Decay.

Progressive metalcore quartet INVENT ANIMATE certainly know how to turn heads and melt hearts with their deeply empathetic heavy creations. Deeply connective and laced with fluctuating moments of ambience, intensity and technical immersion, INVENT ANIMATE unveiled their fourth studio album, Heavener, in 2023, self-produced by the band alongside The Plot In You's Landon Tewers and praised for its progressive elements and nuanced complexity. 

Releasing their debut single greyout in 2021, Sweden's THROWN have quickly become one of the hottest acts in the modern heavy scene, blending intense guitars with aggressive vocals and infectious arrangements. With a misanthropic sonic spine and a fresh take on the metalcore and surrounding realms, THROWN recently toured alongside Fit For A King and Invent Animate, with 2024 marking the first time ever that the band will tour Australia.

Tickets for new shows & venue upgrades are on sale now

Destroy All Lines, Greyscale Records + SharpTone Records Present




Tickets for new shows & venue upgrades are on sale now from destroyalllines.com

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Consiprators @ John Cain Arena, Melbourne 27/02/2024

Every once and a while, I have the opportunity to tap back into my rock and metal roots, reliving the nostalgia of listening to Guns N’ Roses, Slash, Myles Kennedy, and even Alter Bridge. At John Cain Arena, all of them combined into one, finally after so many years getting to catch Slash, with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, with the star’s special bonus of The Struts and Aussie legends Rose Tattoo.

It seemed only more than fitting to have Angry Anderson and his high-spirited charm open up the Melbourne show, as Rose Tattoo has never fallen short of putting on a solid, classic Aussie rock gig, and boy does Angry come alive with his charisma and never wavering vocals. As if this opening act couldn’t get better, Angry decided to unveil a surprise for us “early people”, and brought out none other than Slash for a few tracks, and you could tell that the frontman and the boys were thrilled to perform alongside such an iconic rock n’ roll figure. The night only got better from there as The Struts arrived to warm us up further, and I was nothing short of blown away. The stage presence of the UK hailing rockers was phenomenal, that at points reminded me of The Who. Whilst the entire ensemble shined in their energy and enthusiasm, Luke Spiller is a one in a thousand frontman. One you can’t take your eyes off of the way he dances and interacts with the crowd, engaging in call and responses and hyping everybody up flawlessly.   If this is an energy The Struts can bring as a warm up act, I can only imagine how incredible a headline show would be.

If I can say anything about a show headed by Slash and Myles backed by the usual incredible ensemble, it’s that it’s exactly what you are expecting walking into it: nothing short of electric. It was a non-stop, 2 hour long stellar delivery that kept everyone moving in their seats and on their feet respectively. Slash never disappoints, for there’s a reason he’s a rock god. With the sheer presence of him and his signature Les Paul and top hat, his moves, and the fingers that never rest, flying across the fretboard like lightning. Myself, and seemingly everyone around me, never broke our gaze upon the inhuman guitarist during his many 10+ minute solos, leaving us with chills. Myles Kennedy shined as always, with an easily recognisable house that is still strong to this day and will be for the foreseeable future. His energy radiates this ‘cool’ that’s always great to watch, whilst also showing his wholesome side performing Fill My World inspired by his dog, encouraging the audience to hold up photos of their furry friends. 

Todd Kerns, an incredible yet criminally underrated performer, was another highlight. His energy on stage is unmatched, and his foul language is as musical to my ears as Slash’s guitar craft, even also surprisingly jumping on the mic for a few covers and making that thing his bitch with his powerful vocals. 

After a thunderous encore with a beautiful cover of Rocketman featuring Slash on the lap steel guitar, followed by the coolest riffs of Anastasia, the night came to a close, and I couldn’t even rest nor sleep even hours after the show, for Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators gave me a buzz unlike any other. My teenage rock n’ roll heart was pumping with excitement.  

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Klash of the Titans @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 14/02/2024

Picture a legion of heavy metal enthusiasts converging upon our Forum, each adorned in the battle armour of their favourite bands. The air spewing with anticipation as they assemble, a sea of black shirts emblazoned with all the metal bands you could think of and their logos. Some shirts are worn with the pride of a veteran, faded and worn from countless gigs, while others are brand new, freshly acquired for this sacred occasion. Me in my Killers Tee, charged and ready to go.

Opening with an electrifying surge of energy, In Flames and Kreator brought an unforgettable night of metal mastery to an eager Forum packed crowd, awaiting the eruption of metal madness to consume them in a frenzy of sonic ecstasy on a steamy Valentine’s day. With a blend of melodic finesse and raw aggression, these two iconic bands left the audience in awe with their relentless performance.

In Flames, known for their innovative fusion of melodic death metal and modern metalcore, took the stage with an explosive presence. From the moment the first riff resonated through the venue, it was evident that this was going to be a night. A night due to how cranked the bass mix was that my wobbly bits were going to wobble. Lead vocalist Anders Fridén commanded the stage with ferocious intensity, his vocals soaring over the intricate guitar melodies and thunderous drumming. Tracks like Deliver Us and The Quiet Place captivated the crowd with a frenzy of screaming guitars and a sea of fans screaming into the night.

As the stage was bathed in an eerie red glow, Kreator emerged with a sonic assault that was nothing short of relentless. With their blistering thrash metal sound, the German titans delivered a performance that commanded your attention. Frontman Mille Petrozza’s guttural vocals cut through the air like a razor, while the precision of Sami Yli-Sirniö’s guitar solos left jaws dropping in amazement. From tracks like Hate Uber Alles to tracks like Enemy of God, Kreator’s set was a masterclass in thrash metal excellence.

In Flames and Kreator proved once again why they are two of the most revered bands in the metal scene. With their unparalleled musicianship, commanding stage presence, and unwavering dedication to their craft, they delivered a performance that will be remembered for years to come. As the final notes faded into the night, it was awesome to be amidst the sea of raised devil horns, there’s a sense of camaraderie, a shared bond forged through a mutual love for the music. Strangers become friends in the pit, united by the primal energy coursing through the air.

Read More