One of the forefathers of nu-metal, HED PE have been steamrolling across Australia once more. The tour hosted by Silverback Touring began in Perth, stopping at Adelaide, Brisbane, tonight in Sydney, and Melbourne as the final destination tomorrow night.
HED PE have been consistently good to Australian fans, visiting most years with new material and great friends such as Nonpoint on their last run in 2019. Since their last visit, they’ve released 3 albums, 2 EP’s and released a cover of the Ramones classic I Wanna Be Sedated just last week.
The Bloods kick off tonights proceedings to a decent sized crowd for the first of 2 local supports. The post hardcore outfit from Newcastle leave nothing in the tanks performing with passion as though they are the headliners. The crowd nod along, unable to resist the heavy beats and energy at their biggest show to date. If they don’t have a local following already, it was lifted tonight. The Bloods did a great job starting tonights show.
Leading up to the show Silverback and HED PE’s social pages were calling for more supports in Sydney. The second support act making up tonight’s bill is The Weight of Silence.
A trap metal / rap core outfit from San Remo, Philip Island storm the stage wasting no time to begin the show. Their energy is incredible, front man J Figure covered face to toe in tattoos switches between screaming and rapping, never standing still for more than a second.
After blasting through multiple songs, J Figure says his band, guitarist Benny and drummer Lil Gerbz are doing all the hard work, so he is giving them a break to perform a solo rap song. The more he performs, another layer of clothing comes off until he’s shirtless although with how many tattoos he has, he still appears clothed. The band return to surprise us all with a cover of Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit. The crowd has been opening the pit consistently through their set, but this cover really sets it off!
The Weight of Silence are incredibly appreciative of not only the promotor and venue, but Hed PE and their influence. I had an absolute blast during their set, they were a perfect choice for tonights show and they’ve presented a rabid crowd for the Southern Cali greats up next.
The are no egos, smoke covered entrance or gimmicks when Hed PE enter the stage albeit full of smiles waving to the crowd to the sounds of Low Rider over the speakers. A few technical difficulties delay the beginning of the show, giving the packed crowd time to wedge in like sardines. R.T.R opens the show, taken from their 2021 EP and the first chance Aussie crowds get to hear the track. The crowd groove and dance along to frontman Jared Gomes wailing on the melodica during vocal breaks creating a jam like atmosphere.
After a quick smile and hello, Hed PE waste no time launching into Killing Time from 2000’s Broke. The crowd open, the pit widens and doesn’t close for the remainder of the night. I get the impression tonight is a somewhat greatest hits setlist with the exception of a small few. Iconic Hed PE tracks such as Waiting to Die, Swan Dive and Crazy Legs receive an enormous response. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of their formation and they’re as tight as ever. Drummer Trauma towers over the kit, his emotive face amplifying every crash. It’s no wonder he breaks a stick early on!
The smiles, dances and pits keep coming as Hed PE relentlessly throw hits our way. Raise Hell and Blackout garner roars from the crowd, while the slippery diehards in the pit push back the edges to unleash at Jared’s bellow! The heat that is rising from the crowd is blamed for the amps going out, to which we all cheer. The issues only last a few seconds before we’re back grooving to Let Me Know from their Sandmine EP.
Gomes takes centre stage thankful, grinning ear to ear to ask the crowd to sing along to the next one if we know it. The melodica makes a return counting in an instrumental rendition of The Meadow (Special Like You), yet another track from the brilliant Broke which makes up the most of any album tracks, 6 in total. The Meadow is a slower track with a different lyrical approach, Gomes sings much more cleanly in this track which is the crowd’s turn tonight. Punters are arm in arm with one another, serenading each other and having the time of their life. When the band asks the crowd to sing along we usually get a verse, or a chorus but Gomes wants the whole song performaed and we are more than prepared. High fives and cheers are exchanged at the conclusion of the punk rock/nu metal sing along.
If The Meadow sing along weren’t the highlight of the night, we’re treated to arguably their biggest track, Bartender. As a heavy metal DJ, I listened to this song every single Saturday night since I was 18 and hearing the live version will never get old and transport me back to a wonderful time on the dark dancefloors of Sydney night clubs. This fabulous track is bittersweet, as we are all aware the night is winding down.
As mentioned earlier, Hed PE released a cover of the Ramones classic I Wanna Be Sedated a week ago to the day and we are given one of the first live performances. They do a great job, although the crowd are hungry for more Hed tracks. Jared grins and asks if we want one more, of course we do! The opening riff of Renegade fills the room for our final dance together. Renegade is the perfect combination of sing along chorus to heavy verses to mosh to. Our final moment arrives as the guitar chugs along, beckoning the pit to open wide as Jared builds the anticipation with the words, ‘Push me, so I’ll push you right back’.
With one final bow, the show concludes the crowd thirsty for more but thankful for a breath of air. The Crowbar band room resembles a sauna by the end of the show. Trauma stays behind to shake hands and throw out drum sticks, with his trademark smile in tow.
Hed PE played a near perfect set list tonight, full of crowd favourites, you’d be hard pressed to find a single punter disappointed in that set. My only grievance was that the show ended at all! I had a smile on my face from start to finish, forever in awe of this fantastic band. Jared did let the crowd in on a secret that they would return in 2024, make sure you are there!