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[Review] Froth and Fury Festival, Adelaide 18/11/2023

Leading up to this third instalment of the Froth and Fury Festival, I was certainly getting excited about the day leading up to it. Due to all kinds of circumstances, it hadn’t been since the last touring Soundwave Festival that I had attended a full day festival purely dedicated to music of the heavy variety. Looking at the schedule for the day it was apparent to me that I was going to be very busy getting myself around to all three stages to check out the line-up of local, interstate, and international bands on offer.

Not only was I excited about the line-up, I was also pretty happy with the venue. It’s hard not to love the idea of bringing together the fury of metal music with the frothy goodness of a cold beer, especially at Pirate Life Brewery in Port Adelaide, one of my personal favourites!

Having been to Pirate Life on quite a few occasions, I was very interested to see how they would have it set up for such a big event. I knew there was a big outdoor area for socialising already but was sure this wouldn’t quite be enough for this event.

Entering the venue in the late morning after opening time, I could see that the usual set up of the brewery was still operational for the general public, with an additional entrance behind for ticket holders to access the live music stages. Not only was the usual Pirate Life bar and shop open (including the regular barbershop parlour), but there was also the addition of a tattoo studio inside for the day’s event!

Once inside the Froth and Fury entrance, it became clear how they would fit everyone in for the day. Not only was there the main brewery area to accommodate, it seemed that all of the adjoining streets were closed off and being utilised to good advantage. Directly behind the main brewery building was the main stage (the Froth Stage). Looking straight ahead down the street I could see the stage that would accommodate the majority of the local bands (the Explosive Stage). Right in the middle, down a side street running parallel with the main stage was the third stage, the Fury Stage! These three stages were all far away enough from each other to allow all three to be running simultaneously without the sound overlapping, yet they were all close enough to make it easy to access all three without long walks between them.

Throughout this set up, there were long, shaded tables for eating, drinking, and socialising, a large merch shed, eateries, and plenty of accessible toilets. It seemed apparent right from the start that this event was very well set up and that I was going to be reviewing the day more as an experience than picking apart the individual performances of the bands in detail.

Not long after arriving, more than one person had described this set up as being like the schützenfest of metal!

As soon as I had surveyed the scene of the event, I attempted to plan my day, using my printed timetable which I used constantly throughout the day to remind myself of where I wanted to be and which band I needed to see. This planning exercise, however, proved to be difficult at times, thanks to the beautiful nature of the metal community. I found that I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without running into somebody I knew who wanted to stop for a chat. I personally love that about this community, it is seriously like one big family and it made this event even more special.

First up for me, was the Froth stage to catch my first Adelaide band for the day, Emergency Rule. Their set was suitably rocking and as they certainly weren’t the heaviest band on the line-up, it seemed like a great way to ease into things. Despite a couple of technical sound issues which were quickly rectified, they had the growing crowd interested and were a great warm up for a long day ahead. From here I headed to the Fury stage for the first time. Here I caught my next local band Descend to Acheron and their much heavier death metal set. For much of the day, it appeared that this stage was the place to be for the heaviest of metal. Although it was barely past morning, it was obvious that the punters were keen for a whole day of hardcore music as the ever-growing crowd were lapping up this wall of sound right from the start. From here, it was back to the Froth stage for me to catch my first international band for the day. New Zealand’s Devilskin hit the stage with a lot of energy and had the crowd worked up in no time at all. Jennie Skulander’s vocals were fantastic as they went from powerful and clean to a growl and back again with ease while guitarist Tony ‘Nail’ Vincent stalked the stage and interacted well with the crowd. As soon as this set was over, it was time for me to rush off to the Explosive Stage for another Adelaide band Chainsaw Preachers. I spoke to members of the band not long before their set and they wondered if their set was not heavy enough for this event. They certainly had nothing to worry about. Their brand of punk n’ roll was well suited to the occasion. There were definitely heavier bands on the line-up but the variety of heavy music that was featured throughout the day was what made it great. There were certainly enough people at this stage enjoying the performance and this did seem to be the stage to feature more of a punk sound that any other throughout the day.

I did somehow manage during this time to grab some lunch and some merch without missing out on too much live music. Thanks to the aforementioned great set up of the show, it was easy enough to get in and out without having to suffer the long queues usually found at music festivals. Worth mentioning also (and huge praise to the organisers) there appeared to be great access to everything that was available on the day for the punters with mobility issues. Accessibility and inclusivity sure looked to be covered.

From here I really had to get organised to catch all the bands I wanted to as there were a few sets overlapping. The rest of my day seemed to be all about sampling all of the great bands in smaller doses than I usually would. Despite wanted to see the entire sets from all of the bands, I actually really enjoy this aspect of festivals in some ways. It certainly makes a twelve-hour day fly by, and I sure don’t get bored for a second! Within this next hour I managed to get to all three stages, seeing more local punk n’ roll from Cull-The Band, local thrash metal from Hidden Intent and some emo-metalcore from Melbourne’s Windwaker. It was fantastic being able to see such different sub-genres of metal so close to each other. Hidden Intent, having not long returned from playing the huge metal Wacken Open-Air Festival in Germany, had the crowd fired up, getting into circle pits and enthusiastically flashing their metal horns to the stage, while Windwaker had their crowd bouncing up and down in a less raucous manner.

Among the next few bands I caught were Sydney’s Red Hook, Melbourne’s Mannequin Death Squad and Germany’s Beyond the Black…all three female-fronted bands with powerful vocals clearly demonstrating that heavy music is not as male-dominated as it once was. All three bands put on an entertaining high-energy show with memorable songs that will stick with you for days. I was especially impressed with how big Mannequin Death Squad’s sound was despite being a two-piece act. It sure sounded bigger than one guitar and drums!

New Zealand’s Alien Weaponry were up shortly after and were one of the highlights of the day. Their thrash metal with lyrics in the native indigenous language, te reo Māori seems to really set them apart from many other bands on the scene. They had the huge crowd enthralled for the duration of their set.

Following them on this stage was the Gold Coast’s Sunk Loto, performing their album Between Birth and Death in its entirety for its 20th anniversary. They were yet another band today performing a high-energy set and they had the crowd singing along to the majority of it. Everything Everywhere was one song in particular that had everybody in full voice.

Since this event was held at Pirate Life Brewery, it only seemed fitting to have two pirate themed bands on the line up. On the Explosive Stage was Adelaide’s Captain Hellfire and the Wretched Brethren while on the Fury stage was Queensland’s Lagerstein. Both bands brought the party atmosphere to their sets and added some light-hearted entertainment to a fairly serious day of metal.  Not long after the sun had set, it was time for California’s Suicidal Tendencies to hit the stage. This was one of the bands that I was really looking forward to seeing. They certainly did not disappoint! Right from the start, they were manic on stage! Front-man Mike Muir may be in his 60s now, but he still moves non-stop like he always has, like an angry teenager. The entire band, including Metallica’s (and ex-ST bassist) Robert Trujillo’s teenage son Ty on bass, all spent a lot of the set running the length of the stage, jumping on and off amp cabinets, rarely slowing down to take a breath. When they closed the set with their hit song Institutionalised, Mike Muir jumped into the packed crowd and sang the entire thing as he worked his way throughout the enthusiastic punters before the set was over.

Closing out the show was Brisbane’s The Butterfly Effect on the Froth Stage while Sweden’s The Halo Effect took care of the heavier end of things on the Fury Stage.
I started with the lighter side of things with The Butterfly Effect before I moved over to check out The Halo Effect. My plan was to return to The Butterfly Effect for the remainder of the night but although the band sounded tight and had the crowd singing along and enjoying the show, after Suicidal Tendencies, I needed my night to finish off with something heavier so returned to the Fury Stage to end my night with the melodic death metal on offer. The Halo Effect, despite having a very heavy sound with Mikael Stanne’s vocals being typically angry sounding, the band seemed to be having fun and had the crowd at this stage also in good spirits. It seemed to sum up the day really. Heavy but happy and great fun!

To sum up such a huge outdoor gig…the team from Disruptive Productions who have presented Froth and Fury, describe themselves as ‘three crazy music fans who never really grew up who want to being music to Adelaide. To give young Adelaide bands a chance to play alongside big acts to show promotors that Adelaide is worth the effort!’

This is clearly an event made by people with a massive passion for heavy music who have done a phenomenal job! I get the impression that this event will continue to grow and could truly become a destination gig for heavy music fans all over the world! Regardless of which bands may be on the line-up for future Froth and Fury Festivals, if you love heavy music, I highly recommend attending just for the great experience and for the love of metal!

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[Review] Steve Vai @Hindley St Music Hall, Adelaide 8/11/2023

As a serious music fan, I became obsessed with rock music as a kid, thanks to the likes of Kiss and Alice Cooper and their theatrical brand of rock and roll. This, in turn led to my love of Van Halen and the ‘hair bands’ that followed, so, of course I first discovered Steve Vai through his work with David Lee Roth. The way Steve’s guitar ‘talked’ in DLR’s Yankee Rose to open 1986’s Eat ‘em and Smile album, his flamboyant style and moves, his triple-necked heart shaped guitar in DLR’s Just Like Paradise video…clearly my tastes were more about the entertainment factor rather than the technical wizardry of a guitar virtuoso.

Despite me never seeking out instrumental technical music to add to my music collection, one of the first CDs I owned was Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare. After attending an information session at a high-end hi-fi store in Adelaide many years ago, to promote the latest trend in audio (the CD), I got to choose a bonus CD with the purchase of my first player. I randomly chose that particular CD. It’s the only instrumental rock album I’ve ever owned, and I loved the way the guitar was able to take care of the melodies you would usually expect from the vocals.

Heading to Adelaide’s Hindley Street Music Hall, I had no idea what to expect from this gig and I suspected it could be challenging to write a review for such a show without being overly well-versed in all things technical. If you’re here to read a report on Steve Vai’s techniques and musical hardware, you have come to the wrong place!

As there was no support act, I arrived shortly before the headliner’s two-and-a-half-hour set began. Straight away, I noticed that the crowd was predominantly male and seemed to be lacking the usual drunken rowdiness before a typical rock show. I suspected many were here to see a master at work and wanted to focus, rather than to stage-dive and sing along.  

The set started with Avalancha from Steve’s latest album Inviolate. This was a great groove-driven tune that showed off the famous Steve Vai signature sound perfectly. Joining Steve on stage was his new side-guitarist Dante Frisiello. Initially Dante appeared to be here to simply lay down some basic rhythm guitar behind Steve’s dynamic leads, but as the night went on, Dante was given more space and time to showcase his own incredible lead playing (‘Dante Unchained’ as Steve put it). On bass was Philip Bynoe. Like Dante, Philip was a solid backing for Steve’s leadwork but was also given plenty of opportunity to showcase his own incredible bass skills with solo stage time later in the set. Completing the rhythm section, and the band, was drummer Jeremy Colson, proving that every member of Steve Vai’s band is a top shelf musician. Jeremy’s double-kick drum solo during the set was as incredible as the guitar work shown throughout the show by the other members of the band.

I did notice when the band started the set that there were no mic stands to be seen. There were obviously no singing vocals to be heard tonight but I hoped to hear some interaction between Steve and the crowd. Thankfully, after a few songs Steve was handed a microphone and was able to converse with the crowd. This continued every now and again. He mentioned how long the tour had been and told everyone that when they played the Brisbane show before this one, Steve had been mixed up and greeted the Queensland crowd by saying ‘Hello Adelaide!’ (at the end of this set Steve finished the show by jokingly saying, ‘Goodnight Melbourne!’).

Following the opening number was the heavier Giant Balls of Gold which really brought the whole band in to create a bigger sound and get the crowd moving. Having said that, for most of the night I noticed a difference between this gig and a regular rock show with vocals. The crowd watched the stage intently and nodded their heads along in appreciation rather than really moving in time to the music. Nobody seemed to want to miss their view of Steve Vai’s fingers on his fretboard.

The set went on with a mix of tunes from Steve’s solo albums, all with accompanying visuals on the big screen behind the band, to compliment the audio. There were psychedelic images, dramatic images…whatever suited the song at the time. My personal favourite was the very detailed and mesmerising video of the conception of a child from the wiggling sperm, to the growing foetus, to childbirth, ending hilariously with the close-up image of a very young Steve Vai’s face. Another highlight of the use of the screen was when some of the film Crossroads was shown before Steve launched into some of his music from his appearance in the film.

Later in the set, Steve revealed his 3 neck Ibanez guitar on which he played his track Teeth of the Hydra from his latest album. This involved Steve playing twelve-string, six-string AND bass guitar, all in the one song! This is just one of the reasons to see Steve Vai live!

As the set drew to an end, there were a couple of tracks from Passion and Warfare covered. For the Love of God covered more laid back and soulful territory, while Liberty was more Epic in vibe. As Steve launched into these closing tracks, he said, ‘If you know the melodies, sing along!’ Despite this show being instrumental in nature, it was this comment that sums up Steve Vai for me. He plays the guitar as though he is singing through his instrument. Not only is it possible to sing along to his guitar melodies as though they were vocals, but watching Steve’s face and his mouth move, as he plays guitar, it’s clear that his very expressive playing is his way of singing. 

 Despite playing for over two hours, when the band left the stage they were recalled loudly for an encore, which they quickly returned for before the house lights came on and everybody filed out of the venue onto Hindley Street again.

I’m certain a lot of the crowd at this gig were aspiring guitar heroes who wanted to see one of the world’s best rock guitarists in action but even for those who weren’t, Steve Vai and his band certainly had enough charisma and talent to keep the entire room entertained for the duration of this show.

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[Review] The Superjesus @ The Gov, Adelaide 17/02/2023

The last time I saw The SuperJesus live was when they were given the fantastic opportunity to open for Kiss at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre last year. Although they did nail that performance and were a great warm-up act on that particular night, any band going on before a huge Kiss show are going to be somewhat dwarfed by what was to follow on the stage.

I was certainly keen to see The SuperJesus again but was looking forward to seeing them in a more intimate hometown setting, in a room full of people who were specifically there to see them.

Not only was this gig at The Gov the perfect sized venue for the band, but I was very happy to see that Melbourne’s Dallas Crane were opening the show as I’ve always found them to be a great live act in a rock club setting.

When I arrived at the venue, The Gov’s beer garden at the back of the big room was already full of people out enjoying the warm summer night and looking like they were ready for the perfect way to start the weekend.

When Dallas Crane made their appearance not long before the sun went down, they very quickly had the crowd moving from the back of the space to the front of the stage. Right from the opening number, the band blasted through a very upbeat list of songs that kicked off the night perfectly. Front-man Dave Larkin did a great job of interacting with the crowd and keeping everyone pumped up during their performance. His vocals sounded spot-on and between his trading of lead guitar- work with other founding member Pete Satchell, there wasn’t a dull moment during their slot. Throughout the set, the band sounded very tight, with bassist Chris Brodie and drummer Steve Pinkerton providing a very solid rhythm section.

The band covered a good mix of songs from their repertoire including Ladybird, Curiosity and two of their biggest hits Dirty Hearts, and of course, Sit on my Knee, which finished off the set.

Despite having plenty of their own songs to include in this one-hour set, Dallas Crane also managed to play a couple of classic rock covers which slotted in nicely and had the busy room singing along loudly. Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll and AC/DC’s Let There be Rock were both fun additions. By the time this opening set was over, the room had really filled up and Dallas Crane had warmed the Friday night crowd up for a big night.

After a thirty minute beer break, it was time for The SuperJesus to make their headlining appearance. As soon as they began their set, the squeeze at the front of the stage was complete as everyone jostled to the front of the room. It was great to see that this Adelaide band can still play to such an enthusiastic hometown crowd after so many years of success around the country, despite not having released a new album of original songs in twenty years. This was in stark contrast to the first SuperJesus gig I attended around 1994, at The Crown and Anchor Hotel, with a crowd of about twenty or thirty people at best.

The set opened with the song Ashes from their debut album, 1998’s Sumo, and with singer/guitarist Sarah McLeod hobbling out onto the stage in a moon-boot as a result of having a broken foot. This initially seemed to slow down her stage movements but as the show went on and the crowd got more responsive, Sarah seemed to get more and more fearless and even ended getting up on the drum-riser a few times throughout the show.

There were some big changes in the band’s line-up this time around. Not long after the Kiss support slot, a new guitarist and drummer were brought into the fold to join Sarah McLeod and original bassist Stuart Rudd. Cam Blokland was now on lead guitar and on drums, Murray Sheridan, who is also the band’s producer as they have begun work on a new album set for release later in the year. Next up was Secret Agent Man from the band’s second album Jet Age. After a couple more songs from earlier albums, the band then launched into their first of the new songs that will soon be featured on their aforementioned new album. Money (We’re Only in it for Love) is the latest SuperJesus single and this one went down very well. Not only is the song super catchy, but Sarah had the crowd singing along to it without too much effort at all. Another new track Lights Out was also instantly memorable, making me think this new album might actually do alright.

As the band ploughed through some of biggest songs from their catalogue including Gravity (complete with a huge audience-participation singalong), and Down Again, it was apparent that Sarah’s voice is stronger than ever, and the band were gelling together perfectly. You wouldn’t have known that half of the band were new additions.

After the set closer Saturation, it was clear that the band would be back onstage for an encore. The crowd demanded it! Also, the fact that the band members walked off stage without a big announcement that it was the end of the set…made it obvious that they had more to go.

When they did return to the stage, they kicked off the remaining songs with the beautifully mellow Second Sun. This, to me, was more proof that Sarah’s voice has become stronger over the years. There’s nothing wrong with the original recording at all but this live performance certainly seemed to have more feeling and grit to my ears.

After this momentary chill-out in proceedings, it was time for the band to crank it back up again  to finish the night off. Stick Together from the Rock Music album was next, before the band said their final farewells, thanked the hometown crowd, and ended the set with a cover of The Gin Blossoms’ Hey Jealousy.

Dallas Crane and The SuperJesus both seemed to be genuinely enjoying playing in Adelaide on this stop on the tour and thanked the crowd on numerous occasions during their sets. This appreciation most definitely went both ways as both bands left a lot of smiles on faces in the venue. When the lights came on, it looked like there were a lot of people who were very pleased with this start to the weekend and looked to be in no hurry to go home at all.

Your last chance to see them on their MONEY tour. 

March 3rd 2023 @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Tickets Here

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[Review] GLAMFEST@ Bridgeway, Adelaide 27/01/2023

This was one tour that I had been anticipating for quite a while, more so than many others that have travelled through Adelaide over the last few years. As a big fan of glam rock/hair metal of the 80s and early 90s, I was surprised to see this line-up coming to town. While many bands from the US rock scene of the era went on to have huge success internationally (Guns N Roses, Poison, Bon Jovi …just to name a few), there were so many other artists who released fantastic material at the time that didn’t fare so well longer term, or commercially in Australia. This is why I would certainly call the inaugural Glamfest a niche-genre show. Four of the bands included on the line-up (Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd, Enuff Z’Nuff, and Faster Pussycat all had debut albums that I bought back in the day and absolutely loved! Hence my excitement!

The Adelaide gig was held on a very warm 37 degree day so by the time the doors opened after 4:30pm, the line-up of punters in leather pants, bandannas and cowboy boots were very hot, sweaty, and eager to get inside to enjoy the air-conditioned darkness of the Bridgeway Hotel’s main room.

As soon as the crowd began to file in, the first band, Sydney’s Crosson opened the show. With their catchy hard rock tunes and theatrical show which included two dancing girls and front-man Jason Crosson’s LED light up guitar, they were a suitable opening act for such a gig and they did a good job of capturing the crowd’s attention as they filed in.

The second Aussie band to feature at Glamfest were next up.  Melbourne’s Sister’s Doll have played  the Bridgeway a couple of times in the past and are a popular band already with the glam rock crowds around the country. They instantly worked the stage well as they always do, getting more of a crowd up to the front of the stage as they worked their way through songs from their first two albums as well as some from their forthcoming third. It’s always a blast seeing the three Mileto brothers proudly flying the glam rock flag and living the dream on stage.

After this, came the first international band of the night, Tuff. When their debut album What Comes Around Goes Around was released way back in 1991, I gave it a glowing review in Adelaide’s biggest street-press newspaper at the time and have continued to keep the band in my hair-metal playlists ever since. As I had yet to see Tuff perform live, their inclusion in the tour was one that I was very pleased about and they did not disappoint! Front-man Stevie Rachelle proved to still be a very entertaining performer whose onstage banter between songs was awesomely comical. Their set contained quite a few songs from their aforementioned debut album, including their power ballad I Hate Kissing you Goodbye, their tribute to rock n’ roll history The All-New Generation, and one of my favourites of the set Good Guys Wear Black. Tuff went down very well with the crowd and they ended their set with the perfect song for the occasion, their 2008 track American Hair Band which pays tribute to the scene we were celebrating at this gig.

The second LA band to make it to the stage were Pretty Boy Floyd. Despite their debut album Leather Boys with Electric Toys being released closer to the days of the grunge era, towards the end of the Hollywood glam hey-day, they had an over-the-top glam look complete with huge hair and lipstick, and thankfully, they have never strayed too far from their original influences and image. PBF were due to appear in Australia a couple of years ago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this album but due to covid, this was one of many gigs to never happen. For tonight’s Glam Fest set however, we finally got to hear this tribute to that debut album as most of the songs from the set came from it. Pretty Boy Floyd seemed to get even more of the crowd down to the front of the stage as they opened with the crowd pleasing song Electric Boys with Electric Toys before getting through other classics including Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire), 48 Hours, their big power ballad I Wanna be with You and their cover of Motley Crue’s Toast of the Town. Steve Summers proved that he was still a very entertaining and energetic front-man despite having to deal with technical stage issues throughout the set as his microphone fell out of it’s cable on multiple occasions. When their set ended with one of their later songs Saturday Nite, Steve let the crowd know that he would be heading out right away to meet everyone when he left the stage. True to his word, Steve was very gracious, spending quite a bit of time by the merch stand, signing autographs and having his photo taken with fans.

Next was Enuff Z’Nuff. When they initially released their debut self-titled album back in 1989, they weren’t happy with being lumped into the glam-metal genre by their record company as they felt they were more of a power-pop band. They definitely had the look of a brightly coloured, psychedelic, long-haired rock n’ roll band though, plus they seem to still be a popular addition to any glam-metal line-up such as Glamfest!

The current line-up of Enuff Z’Nuff features founding member and bassist Chip Z’Nuff on lead vocals and bass, covering the absence of original vocalist Donnie Vie. Despite Chip not being the original vocalist on the classic recordings, it was amazing how similar his vocals sounded to the original releases. They opened their set with a cover of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour due to the band releasing a Beatles/Paul McCartney tribute album in 2021. Tonight’s set included another two songs from this album, but the songs that appeared to be the most popular with the crowd were Enuff Z’Nuff’s early original songs including their hit ballad Fly High Michelle and their closing song New Thing (causing members of Pretty Boy Floyd to jump back up onstage to help with backing vocals).

The band featured on the line-up that seemed the most out of place to me initially was Eclipse. I was the least familiar with them compared to the other bands, plus they were the only international band not from the US, but from Sweden. Also, they didn’t seem to fit the glam metal mould as much as the other bands, being more melodic hard rock/AOR. Leading up to the tour, I did notice that there was quite a bit of support for Eclipse on social media so I was certainly excited to see their live show.

From their opening track Roses on Your Grave, they had the crowd on-board and showed that they had a very energetic and rocking set, particularly the way front-man Erik Mårtensson and bassist Victor Crusner used the large Bridgeway stage and interacted with each other and the crowd. By this point in the day, my ears had started ringing already and I was considering moving further from the stage for an ear-break but Eclipse were too entertaining not to remain where I was near the front. I just hoped that my ear-plugs could withhold the day!

Set highlights for me included their songs The Downfall of Eden and the set closer Viva La Victoria, which seemed to come around too quickly.

Right after Eclipse had vacated the stage, I was definitely in need of visiting the beer garden for an ear break. Not only had every band been REALLY loud, but with a DJ playing between the sets, there was no chance to reset or have a conversation break with any of the people I knew at the gig.

After this short rest, it was time to re-enter the main room for the set from Wednesday 13. A few minutes into this set, it was apparent that a lot of the punters were here for this. Wednesday 13 had everyone down the front of the stage and seemed to get the best crowd response of the day. Of course the band were all in typical horror glam/punk style with their ghoulish make up and a set list of songs that always make for a fantastic Halloween party playlist. The set contained classic Wednesday 13 songs including I walked with a Zombie and I Want you…Dead, new songs including the very catchy Good Day to be a Bad Guy, and some popular songs from Wednesday 13’s previous band Murderdolls  including Nowhere and the set-closer I Love to Say Fuck, which had everyone singing along at full voice, featuring Wednesday 13 brandishing an umbrella with a giant middle finger emblazoned on it!

To finish off the day’s festivities, at close to midnight, Faster Pussycat hit the stage! This was the band featured in the line-up that I have been the biggest fan of for the longest time. In fact, my own band Trash City initially started as a FP tribute as we managed to include 8 songs from their debut album in our own set list! Their set started with the heavy groove of Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way from their second album Wake me When it’s Over. From there, the band worked their way through songs from various points in their career including Cathouse, Don’t Change that Song and Bathroom Wall from their self-titled debut, a cover of INXSDon’t Change and their latest single Like a Ghost. Some technical issues unfortunately caused the band to have to stop the set on a couple of occasions and front-man Taime Downe was certainly showing his frustration at he seemed to be having trouble hearing the mix from the stage at times. Thankfully this didn’t stop the band from powering through to the end of the set. Before they were done, their hit ballad House of Pain went down very well with the room as did their set-closer Babylon, also from their first album. Despite Taime being the last remaining original member of the band, the current line-up has been together for longer than the originals ever were and played the songs perfectly. Drummer Chad Stewart kept the groove perfectly with bassist Danny Nordahl, while guitarists Sam Koltun and Australia’s own Ronnie Simmons owned the stage and weaved together seamlessly.

At the end of Faster Pussycat’s set, as everyone filed out of the venue, there was a lot of talk between everyone about how great this event’s line-up was, and it seemed that a lot of people were hoping this could become an annual event, bringing a collection of relatively obscure glam metal acts to the country who may not be able to tour here on their own.

Silverback Touring have certainly been doing a great job of bringing a range of bands to the country that we haven’t had the chance to see here before. I would absolutely be one of the people who would love to see this particular event become an annual event. I can think of a lot of bands from this genre that I would love to see in Australia in the future!

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H.E.A.T. @ Jive, Adelaide 11/09/2022

This is one gig I was quite excited to get to. Initially a double bill of Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T and Crazy Lixx, these were two bands I wasn’t sure I would ever get to see live in Australia. Thankfully we have promotors in this country who have survived the last couple of years and are still willing and able to take some risks and bring out some bands that don’t necessarily have a large commercial following here in Australia. Thank you, Silverback Touring, for this one!

Unfortunately Crazy Lixx dropped out of the tour quite late in the game but after initially being disappointed, my excitement grew quickly again as I continued to read so many glowing reviews of H.E.A.T’s live performances leading up to this night.

There was a lot of buzz about the band coming from social media, particularly once the tour progressed through the other states, before they finished their run here in Adelaide.

The gig in Adelaide was held at Jive, which is a great but somewhat intimate rock venue. There was most certainly a great vibe in the venue as everyone here seemed to be very keen to see out the weekend with a rock gig, before heading back to reality on the Monday. There was a lot of talk amongst the crowd about the great show they were expecting from H.E.A.T.

The beauty of getting to catch some of these tours in Adelaide, rather than a larger city, is that as a punter, you get to see the band in a more intimate setting, up nice and close. I would recommend more people from Melbourne and Sydney get tickets to Adelaide gigs! Who knows which bands you may never get to see in these smaller settings again! Despite this being a more intimate gig, it wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm from the crowd or in atmosphere at all.

Opening the show was Melbourne’s Wicked Smile, fronted by ex-Pegasus vocalist Danny Cecati. With big powerful vocals, riffing guitars, and a super melodic rock style, they sure suited opening for H.E.A.T and went down very well with the crowd.

The second support act was Cassidy Paris. As soon as Wicked Smile finished their set, half the band left the stage while the other half stayed on as Cassidy’s backing band (including her dad Steve on guitar), without a break between sets. Cassidy’s set showed her give a great high-energy youthful rock performance which showcased her songs nicely and further amped the crowd up for the main event. It’s great to see younger rock artists still coming through the music scene.

H.E.A.T kicked off their set at full speed with One by One from their 2020 album H.E.A.T II. Almost right away singer Kenny Leckremo had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he was a ball of energy from start to finish. Despite H.E.A.T being a melodic rock band, often known for the odd power ballad, their set did not contain one mellow tune or a single moment to catch your breath, they just ripped through a great set of big anthems with huge choruses and tons of energy. The next couple of songs also came from their 2020 album with Rock your Body and Dangerous Ground. The first song from new album Force Majeure was Hollywood which seemed to go down just as well as the material from their earlier albums. A definite highlight from the set for me was 1000 Miles from their self-titled 2008 debut album, although the set as a whole, which contained a good mix of songs from their career so far, didn’t have a low point to contrast this with.

By the time the band had worked their way through their set of 17 or so songs, they must have been exhausted. Not only had Kenny managed to keep his energy at 110% for the full set but Jimmy Jay on bass and guitarist Dave Dalone kept up the pace with him at the front of the stage. Rounding out the line-up was keyboardist Jona Tee, whose big synth chords were certainly a major part of the signature melodic H.E.A.T sound and Don Crash on the drums, who looked to be a sweaty mess by the time A Shot at Redemption closed out the set.

From the look of the big smiles on the faces of the band members and also on the faces of the crowd, I think it’s safe to say everybody in attendance had a great night at this gig and it would not surprise me at all if H.E.A.T returned to Australia for a second time within the next few years and played to even bigger audiences here.

To the rock fans who considered catching H.E.A.T but ultimately decided not to go, I hope you do get another chance because this is one band that really puts on a killer show that you don’t want to miss twice.

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[Review] KISS @ Adelaide Entertainment Center, Adelaide 30/8/2022

Without a doubt, KISS was THE band that started it all for me. My obsession with rock music, the way that I dress, even the majority of my friends today…pretty much everything in my life can be traced back to KISS.

As a very young kid when KISS were at their peak of popularity in Australia, they were impossible to miss. They were everywhere! Everyone seemed to be listening to KISS as they were all over the TV, radio, and on the covers of so many magazines! At school, we were all trading KISS cards, eating Kiss ice-blocks and had their posters on our walls at home.

When KISS first toured here in 1980, I still recall being devastated that I was too young to go see them and nobody would take me.

Despite Kiss-mania being a relatively short-lived phenomenon in Australia (they were pretty uncool to most people about a year after their first visit here), I remained a fan for life.

Even though I’ve since seen KISS many times over the years, since missing that first visit here, I was very excited to see that they would be returning to the country for their End of The Road Tour. Initially, Australia wasn’t included on the band’s farewell tour schedule, but thanks to that pesky virus you may have heard about, the whole tour was postponed and then rescheduled with Aussie tour dates added! Thanks Covid 19!

Arriving at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on the night, it was impossible not to feel the sense of occasion! Of course, there were fans dressed up as their favourite member of Kiss, complete with make-up and elaborate costumes, and plenty of fans just sporting the make-up with their casual jeans and rock T-shirts on.

As is often the case, a KISS concert evokes a vibe that’s like a cross between a rock show and a visit to the circus. It’s fantastic!

By the time the doors to the venue were opened, the gig was completely sold out! There were even quite a few people outside the box office holding up signs to let people know they were after tickets. It was good to see KISS were getting a proper send-off in Adelaide.

Inside the lobby everyone seemed to be buzzing with excitement. By the time I got down to the front of the stage with beer in hand, I was really feeling it myself.

Opening the show was Adelaide’s own The SuperJesus. I was very excited for them (and maybe slightly jealous) as I’ve known these guys for years and know how thrilled they were to be playing on the same stage as KISS. Obviously playing to a room full of KISS fans waiting to see their larger-than-life idols on stage could potentially be a tough gig, the band were up for the challenge for sure. They sounded tight and had a big enough sound to win over the crowd early on in their set. They blitzed their way through some of their best-known songs including Down Again, Secret Agent Man, and ending their set with Gravity, with frontwoman Sarah Mc Leod doing a great job of encouraging audience participation and making the most of the large stage. They did a great job of warming up the crowd for KISS.

Not long after this support set, the giant KISS banner was erected in front of the stage, adding to the anticipation in the room. Anyone who’s been to a KISS gig knows that when that curtain drops…a whole new world is revealed.

As time ticked down to the appearance of KISS, classic rock anthems blasted out from the P.A. getting the full room pumped up for the main event. Through AC/DCs Thunderstruck and Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll…the anticipation grew, until…those famous words echoed out loudly across the Entertainment Centre…’You wanted the best…you GOT the best…the hottest band in the world…KISS!!!!!!’

The curtain dropped right on queue and BANG!!! It was on! Lights, smoke, giant flames, fireworks…the larger-than-life band members dropping from the ceiling on giant robotic platforms…THIS is why KISS is synonymous with over-the-top rock n roll theatrics! Within the first thirty seconds of the show, you’re bombarded with everything you could expect from a big rock concert and more. 

To be honest, despite being a big KISS fan, before the gig I wasn’t 100% excited knowing what their set list would likely look like. KISS tend to stick to a fairly similar set of their best known hits, songs which I often skip when listening to Kiss as I’ve heard them all a million times over the years.

However, as soon as that curtain dropped and the opening to Detroit Rock City kicked off the show, all thoughts of issues with the set were instantly forgotten. Right after the big opening it was full steam ahead with the massive KISS anthem Shout it Out Loud. This one seemed to have everyone singing along at the top of their voice. From here it was early KISS with Deuce from their first album. During this song, the big screens were showing vintage footage of the band from the early 70s which got me thinking about the beauty of KISS being in full make-up and costumes again. Even though the core band members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are in their 70s now, being in character, they still look exactly the same as they did when I worshipped them as a kid! With the face paint on, they are still the star child and the demon, the rock gods they were to me back then! War Machine from the Creatures of the Night album was next, which has become a KISS live staple and fan favourite, despite this coming from a turbulent period in the band’s early 80s history. After this was the first song from the band’s non-make up days, Heaven’s on Fire which has always slotted perfectly into the set as though it was an early year’s classic.

Another song from the Creatures of the Night album that has become a KISS classic was next. I Love it Loud is one of the best rock crowd singalongs ever and did not disappoint, this one had the whole arena joining the call-and-response war-cry in unison, even those who weren’t familiar with this era of KISS seemed to be singing along loudly.

The one song that I was surprised was in the set was next. From the 2009 album Sonic Boom, came Say Yeah. This would have easily been the least known song from the KISS catalogue on the night but once again, being a typical Kiss anthem, it had everyone singing along by the end of the song. After this, it was back to classic KISS with Cold Gin, followed by an impressive guitar solo by guitarist Tommy Thayer, complete with fireworks shooting from his guitar!

The set continued on with popular songs from the band’s history, featuring all the KISS trademark moves, including bassist Gene Simmons breathing fire and then spitting blood while rising up on a platform to sing God of Thunder while  looking down from the top of the arena, a drum solo from Eric Singer while his drum riser lifted him up above the stage with smoke billowing from below, and then front-man Paul Stanley being carried from the front of the stage on a zip-line where he performed Love Gun up close and personal to those in the back of the room. From here, the band then launched into I was Made for Lovin’ You while Paul flew back over everyone’s heads to the main stage again.

The last song of the main set was Black Diamond, featuring drummer Eric Singer on vocals, with the band then vacating the stage behind a huge display of smoke and fireworks.

Within just a few minutes, the encore began with Eric once again on vocals, this time sitting behind a glittery grand piano for a rendition of Beth, the ballad originally sang by KISS’ original drummer. Peter Criss

As the show drew to a close, it was time for a song that was a huge hit in Australia for KISS but nowhere else in the world, Shandi, from the Unmasked album. As the opening chords rang out, dozens of huge KISS balloons dropped from the ceiling and it became a fun spectacle to watch as they were thrown around the Entertainment Centre, seemingly in time with the music.

Finally, it was time for the show-closing anthem that has ended many KISS shows over the years, and would likely be the last song the band would ever play in Adelaide…Rock and Roll All Nite. With this, the band certainly went out with a bang! As soon as the band said their goodbyes and launched into the opening chords of the song, they threw everything they had at the crowd. There was confetti pumped out into the air, smoke, fireworks, flames…all of the theatrics they had left in the bank were pumped out onto the stage for their final farewell and it was a spectacular finale for sure!

I seriously doubt that anybody who was in attendance for this gig had a bad time. KISS had lived up to the hype that they put on the best rock n’ roll show in the world and this seemed like a very fitting way to say goodbye to Adelaide on this final tour. To me, this gig more than reminded me of what got me into rock music in the first place, and I suspect it may have even inspired some younger audience members to discover it for the first time!

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[Review] The Hu @ The Bridgeway Hotel, Pooraka 6/8/2022

A lot has happened since the last time Mongolian band The HU was in the country. Their first visit to Australia coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to some very uncertain times (to put it mildly) with a lot of restrictions suddenly popping up which had huge implications for the music industry. The HU was first in Australia as part of the 2020 Download Music Festival, which was canceled due to COVID at the very last minute, leaving them in the country to only perform a couple of their sideshow gigs. I attended one of these gigs at The Gov in Adelaide and little did I know at the time, that it would be the last proper gig I would see for quite some time. The venue capacity was reduced due to restrictions on the very day of the gig, leaving many ticketholders unable to attend the sold-out show, and one of the few phrases we heard the band speak in English that night was ‘fuck coronavirus!’

Two and a half years later, The HU is finally back in Australia, and under much less uneasy conditions.

For those not familiar with The HU, they certainly are a unique band. The band itself calls its genre ‘Hunnu Rock’, which is a mix of traditional Mongolian music and western metal. The band uses a combination of their traditional instruments including the morin khuur (or horsehead fiddle) and more typical rock instruments like the electric guitar, giving them a very distinctive sound.

This Adelaide gig was originally booked for the new Hindley Street Music Hall but with construction still underway, the show was moved to The Bridgeway Hotel.

Opening up the show was Brisbane’s The Blackwater Fever. I can’t imagine how you might find a suitable band to open up for The HU in Australia, given their unique genre, however, The Blackwater Fever supplied some tight bluesy garage rock which sat well with the packed venue’s crowd. Their set served as a fairly laid-back warm-up for the main act to come.

As the headliner’s set start time was approaching, I found my way down to the front of the stage. Despite the room being at capacity, there was a very relaxed vibe in the room. There didn’t seem to be the usual push and shove down at the front of the stage and it was quite easy to get a good spot without getting in anyone’s way. Looking around at the punters before the lights went down, there didn’t seem to be any clear demographic in attendance either. There wasn’t a ‘crowd type’ to be seen at all and it had me wondering how this large crowd had discovered The HU. 

Right on schedule, the lights dimmed, and the band entered the stage to rapturous applause, kicking off with a track called Shihi Hutu from their forthcoming new album Rumble of Thunder. This song showcased everything that the band is known for, sounding like an epic battle-cry anthem. Their traditional throat singing and morin khuur’s were used to great effect. In contrast, the second song of the set Shoog Shoog would have to be The HU’s most upbeat-sounding song with its almost danceable beat. Next up was the title track from the band’s debut The Gereg album, which showcased some of vocalist Jaya’s playing of the tumur hhuur (jaw harp).

As the band worked their way through their set of songs mostly from their debut and also from their album coming next month, I noticed how transfixed the crowd was by the band, despite the lyrics being in Mongolian and not being easy songs to sing along to. A lot of The HU’s songs have a hypnotic rhythm to them, and the appearance of the band is visually striking. On stage, the core members of the band are at the front of the stage. Gala, Enkush, Jaya and Temka all dressed in intricate leather, with their beautiful traditional Mongolian instruments are the focal point of the show. Seeing such different instruments being played is part of the appeal of The HU for me, and I’m sure for many others who have seen the band perform.

Behind the core members of the band are the members of the band who play the more typical western instruments and are considered the touring members of the band. Ono, Jamba, Davaa and Odko are all set back from the front of stage, playing guitar, bass, drums and percussion in the semi-darkness for a lot of the performance. With eight band members on stage, it’s this combined mix of traditions that gives The HU such a rich and distinctive sound.

Later in the set came the two songs that introduced the world to the band. Both Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf Totem, when released, garnered millions of views on YouTube. It was the later re-recording of the latter song with Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix that was my introduction to the band. These two songs got a huge response from the crowd.

Rounding out the set were a couple of new songs, Black Thunder and This is Mongol both of which were released this year, preceding the rest of the new album.

After almost ninety minutes, the band took a bow and exited the stage. The crowd most certainly still wanted more so the band returned for the obligatory but well-deserved encore.

As the band arrived back on the stage, the now familiar sounds of the morin khuurs rang out before the electric guitar kicked in with the instantly recognisable riff of Metallica’s Sad But True. The Hu’s version of this song has got to be the perfect blend of western metal and traditional Mongolian folk instruments for sure and was a brilliant way for the band to bring the set to a close.

Although I was initially disappointed that this gig had been moved from a new city venue to an older suburban hotel, The Bridgeway did turn out to be a great place to relocate to. With the big stage and impressive light set-up, the sound and visuals of The HU were well showcased, and when it was all over and the house lights came on, there was a definite buzz in the room and there were a lot of smiling faces from punters who looked really happy to be back at big gigs once again.

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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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