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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Bad Religion / Social Distortion @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 19/02/2023

Punk. Punk Rock. A legendary device representing individuality and freedom, smiting inbreeds of hate and prejudice. What better way to celebrate punk rock than attending what was an unforgettable co-headline show delivered none other by the legendary Bad Religion and Social Distortion.

The mosh pits never wavered from the moment the quintessential logo of Bad Religion was raised to the final note of 21st Century Digital Boy, as a band who’s years couldn’t keep up with them blew the roof off an enclosed but packed arena. Opening surprisingly with none other than American Jesus, Greg Graffin and his posse of fellow LA misfits showed us demonstrated no intention of fooling around short of putting on an unforgettable show, to the extend where you would forget that this staple of punk rock have been delivering unforgettable shows for 43 years.

There was almost not time to relax between hit after hit of pure energy that could be felt throughout the entire crowd, with all of us belting the lyrics of You, Los Angeles is Burning, and the iconic Generator in which my voice could not last through the opening lyrics that deserve to be screamed, or not sung at all. The banter with the crowd was a fun experience, especially with Greg’s clever quips leading involving song titles which included boldly stating that both the bassist and the crowd had “No Control” over the night’s setlist. Even during a second viewing of this iconic group, my breath never failed to be ripped away by such a force, as I have never quite seen such finesse and precision amongst tunes so electric and fast in tempo. 

Social Distortion closely followed the first half of this incredible act, however they were certainly not least in their performance. Right after a pleasantly welcoming introduction with Muddy Water’s Mannish Boy howling through the speakers, Mike Ness made his godly presence known, rocking a beret, hunched over his Les Paul, and his wildly engaging eccentricity and poses. Bad Luck as one of the opening tracks set up the vibe of Social Distortions heavily electric set influenced by many punk greats such as The Clash, Ramones, and Iggy and the Stooges, as stated by Ness himself. 

Suddenly, my ears caught attention to the familiar introductory guitar lick of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, and relished in such an impressive cover of a legendary recognisable track mixed with a more heavier recital known to Distortion, which was in itself a set up for an incredible second half of their set built on the foundations of such powerful and touching stories and political messages, with Ball and Chain delivering a melancholic tale of heartbreak and addiction, and the clear hatred towards racism through Don’t Drag Me Down, and with this tune alone, Mike’s words leading into the track couldn’t ring truer even in today’s society:

White. White…..is not superior. It never has been, and never will be

The encore in itself was a highlight, opening with Born to Kill followed closely by Story of my Life, a touchingly nostalgic story about the old days, when times were simpler, when high school was a bore and when you always wished to court that one individual a few desks away from you, concluding with the hope of similar happiness and pursuit of success in the future of your life. The show concluded with a cover of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash, featured famously on Social Distortion’s self-titled 1990 album that, with of course an explosive link twist, still captured the essence of Cash’s legend that seeped through Mike’s vocals.

The unforgettably powerful aspect of this tour is not just a nostalgic trip back to Bad Religion’s early days touring with Social Distortion, but also the fact that both frontmen, Greg Graffin and Mike Ness, share such iconic individual vocals that never alter in any way throughout the years, whether they’re listened through records, or heard live. Such a gig will surely not be forgotten anytime soon, and seeing these two legendary bands once more would be, if I can put this explicitly, an absolute fucking delight.

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)

ARCH ENEMY are bigger and better than ever.

Delivering a maelstrom of diamond-hard riffing wrapped around cinematic melodies, thunderous drumming and towering vocals, ARCH ENEMY are unstoppable and sound incredibly energized and they are headed back to Australia and New Zealand in February 2023.

Here’s how Kerrang hailed the band’s new album Deceiver s “Deceivers slays from start to finish and is essential listening for metalheads yearning for a soundtrack to wring their necks to.”

With Alissa White-Gluz out front for nearly ten years now, the guitar wizardry of Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, and the thundering rhythm section of Daniel Erlandsson (drums) and Sharlee D’Angelo (bass), Arch Enemy sound fresh and hungry, continually proving they are masters of their craft.

“Arch Enemy were spectacular. Alissa is a ball of energy who never stops moving, jumping here and there, and headbanging her blue hair.” Metal Wani

“… the pure force that is Arch Enemy.” Heavy Mag

“Arch Enemy do PURE FU*KING METAL and they do it to the highest standard possible” Wall of Sound

ARCH ENEMY February 2023 Tour Dates

Sunday February 12th – AUCKLAND – Powerstation

Tuesday February 14th – Adelaide – Governor Hindmarsh

Wednesday February 15th – BRISBANE – Tivoli Theatre

Friday February 17th – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre

Saturday February 18th – MELBOURNE – Forum Theatre

Sundy February 19th – FREMANTLE – Metropolis

Presale: Wednesday 12 October at 9:30 AM AEDT

General public on sale: Thursday 12 October at 11:00AM AEDT

Tickets from: https://davidroywilliams.com/tours/arch-enemy-2023/ or https://metropolistouring.com/arch-enemy-2023/

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard @ Palais Foreshore, Melbourne 10/12/2022

There is something about outdoor gigs that really makes a live show shine to the max. May it be the atmosphere, the fresh air, the beautiful St Kilda scenery, or the inviting lack of condensation within crowds of people. These outdoor venues are certainly popular and drawing in the crowds time and time again. And what better way to enjoy such an event than with the legendary King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Upon entering the Palace Foreshore venue, the vibe of the crowd was exactly as I envisioned; the smoke in which you can’t differentiate between the smoke machine or vaping teenagers and the sight of breskies passed around between patrons and fans alike. Civic swiftly opened the event with a very electric demonstration of local Melbourne Punk, with a very fitting visual look of the band members especially one of the guitarists with an axe hanging at his knees and a cigarette out his mouth. You could tell the crowd got pumped up with this energy awaiting the main event, fuelled by a local ferocity of youth wanting to express emotion through music that fit.

As the foreshore packed tightly together, punk band Civic was followed ever so closely by Stella Donnelly, and what can I say, the wholesome indie vibe of her performance really brought us together collectively, resonating with our youthful feeling of liberation and happiness through music. We looked through her apologetic complaints about her hairstyle (which visually trumped this self-feedback as the sun made her kissed-by-fire locks shine as bright as her musical capabilities) and gazed ever so admirably at a different but graceful alternative set of tunes. This support really stood out and I will be paying close attention to her musical journey, as I’m even at the moment enjoying her track Lungs, which was a personal highlight.

We crammed together awaiting the main act for the night, and even with an ever so casual entrance to a roar of applause and screams, the boys of King Gizz after a long year of touring were ready to perform a monstrous set on their home soil….and oh boy did they deliver.

The first half of their set perfectly set up among us with Crumbling Castle, The  Fourth Colour, and Planet B, all explosive tracks that created chaotic mosh pits that even I found myself in, and my enthusiasm heightened as I returned to my colleagues dripping in sweat with a dangling untucked shirt. Every individual member of the legendary local band perfectly demonstrated their technologically heightened music skills, from robotic, wavy synths, to Michael Cavanagh’s mind-blowing drum fills and solos, and the ever so entertained theatrics of the lead singers and guitarists, flipping their guitars around behind their backs wowing all of us.

The rest of the set felt incredibly ethereal and psychedelic, as the group performed veteran length versions of most of their hits filled with guitar/synth solos and the unbreakable groove between bass and drums that kept our feet tapping tirelessly. Even while admittedly unfamiliar with a lot of these live tracks, I found myself belting the chorus of Iron Lung, a song they described as “being about vaping”, along with newcomers and fans alike. Even people who had not experience the magic of King Gizzard were absolutely drawn to this funky, prog experience. I found myself in various trances, completely losing myself in this positively manipulative style of music, as my appreciation and love for these local boys grew exponentially.

I left the foreshore among the crowds of patrons absolutely stunned, as even I, who had a general understanding of their vibe, did not expect the magical experience King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard gave me, and I will ‘Fore-SHORE’ (hah, see what I did there) be catching more and more of their live sets in the coming years.

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[Review] Offspring / Sum 41 @ John Cain Arena, Melbourne 7/12/2022

I don’t think there are many words that can capture the pure bliss and adrenaline of a double injection of pure punk nostalgia, and I’m sure that can be said for a lot of big rock shows, but Sum 41 and The Offspring delivered something truly out of this world and will keep my heart pumping for months on end.

The venue collectively packed with avid fans in anticipation for the big night, ready for Sum 41 to deliver their introduction. Obviously keeping the spirit of Australia, the lights dimmed and then reddened to the tune of TNT by AC/DC, right before the band followed by Deryck ran into the spotlight. His energy immediately screamed volumes to the upcoming performance he would deliver as a frontman. The skater punk icons wasted no time, immediately erupting into their intro as well as The Hell Song, and no expense was spared for the unexpected pyro technics that could melt your face off even in the side stands.

Deryck’s involvement with the crowd is the type of interaction I’m inspired by as a musician/frontman myself, hyping up the crowd to the max and encouraging them to lose their mind like, as Deryck called them, “crazy motherfuckers”. The audience did not brush this off, as the circle pits and jumping ensued for the entire first set, even to the point of Whibley questioning their exhaustion. With chants to screaming competitions to call and responses, this group always knew how to keep a room alive, especially with the violent giant balloon popping

I think my leather pants were strong enough to contain my punk excitement when Deryck mentioned the name of Sum 41’s classic album, All Killer No Filler, right before Dave Baksh began the riff to In Too Deep which caused a temporary earthquake with the amount of feet jumping up and down, including my very own. Deryck proceeded to talk about how special it is to perform all these tunes that the boys wrote while they were teenagers, right before treating the OG Sum 41 fans by taking us all the way back to a track from their very first 2000 album, Makes No difference.

Sum 41 neither spared any humor as Deryck acquire his guitar, claiming we shouldn’t get excited as he had no idea how to play it, all before intentionally awfully playing Smoke on the Water and Seven Nation Army, even surprisingly roping in the band to perform a pop punk cove of We Will Rock You. But I’m sure many of us knew why the guitar was in his hands, as there were two hits they were yet to play. I couldn’t even finish my thought process before the iconic opening riff to Fat Lip amplified through John Cain Arena followed by the conclusion of Still Waiting already damaging my vocal chords for the night. As they disbanded, I sat their in awe wondering how on earth that performance could be topped…..oh boy was I wrong.

The 30 minute interval between sets are always the prime time at any show to get some booze and grub, but regardless of this there was instead a plethora of antics as entertaining as the shows themselves. At first, a giant blimp bearing the iconic Offspring logo flown by a drone circled over the packed arena like a hawk over its prey, followed by a mysterious crew member coming onto stage donning a gorilla mask who proceeded to slingshot shirts into the crowds of thousands. This was all followed by quintessential American stadium games, like kiss cams, headbang cams, twerk cams, and as essential as always in our blessed country, mullet cams. Laughs turned into a loud countdown from 10 as the boys were ready to put on a show.

I could not contain my aching grin as The Offspring already proceeded to performing hit after hit back to back, opening with the classic Come Out And Play, followed by the iconic “AY YA YA YA YA YA” to All I Want, and then a song I never thought would be performed live, Want You Bad, taking me back to a time I’d have this on repeat in class to escape my most punk worthy oppression at the time…general mathematics. Dexter and Noodles did what they do best next to putting on a killer show, delivering a gut busting crowd interaction really showing the brotherhood between the two.

After performing a few of their latest hits including Let the Bad Times Roll, Original Prankster sent all of us as a collective into a frenzy, as if we were listening to their greatest hits record being played live on stage. The ending of this track ended with a few second of silence, before the crunchy bass riff introducing the SMASH hit, Bad Habit, which in itself transformed the mosh pit into a zombie horde straight out of World War Z, all before Dexter swiftly halted the song unsurprisingly at this point. Dexter and Noodles continued to share more banter before cussing like sailors and getting everyone involved with expletives flying from every direction.  

Noodles proceeded to continue his own standalone comedic standup, expressing his love for playing guitar and demonstrated this with covers of Security by Amyl and The Sniffers, Back In Black, Thunderstruck, The Trooper, concluded with possibly the greatest cover of In the Hall of the Mountain King I’ve ever witnessed, right before Dexter returned to join the band with an explosive cover of Blitzkrieg Bop by none other than the Ramones.

At this point in the night, I was sweating, my neck ached, my legs shivering, and my grin was ever so plastered across my face, which I didn’t think could grow any wider until Dex whipped out the acoustic to smash of Spare Me The Details, as I’m sure we all have a shitty ex to dedicate that belter to.

Now we get into a solid 10 minutes of pure, authentic emotional beauty, as the lights dimmed, a grand piano was rolled onto stage. Sat behind the grand was Dexter, who delivered an emotional speech about cancelled tours and trials throughout the pandemic, all before introducing the new and improved mellow alteration of the Ixnay On The Hombre tear-jerker, Gone Away. And oh, my friends there were waterworks all around me behind our flashlights that lit up the entire stadium, a purely magical moment.

We swiftly moved on from the topic of loss, back to the ballads for shitty partners, and what other song could portray that than a personal favourite, Why Don’t You Get A Job?; joined by a wonderful backdrop of the iconic cartoonish album cover of Americana…safe to say my voice was non-existent by this point. Then the USA hailing punks concluded the show with Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and The Kids Aren’t Alright, which provided such a blast for us all.

As they exited the stage, it’s almost idiotic to not assume there would be an encore with the hits they were yet to play, and this confirmation came to light as the blimp reentered the arena, now donning a banner announcing the words none other than:


The band returned to the stage to bust out, of course, You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid, which sent the crowd berserk (as if they stopped being such a way at all). We in the stands finally ignored the signs and stood for the remainder for the show, because why the fuck wouldn’t we. Dexter and Noodles between finales exchanged one last demonstration of brotherhood after introducing the incredible band, with Noodles praising his best friend Dex with his song writing and even the completion of a PHD in biology, then after a count in and seeing all vocalist collectively approached the mics, we heard it:

La la LA LA LA La La la la la!

The ever so recognizable vocal introduction to a rock n’ roll anthem, Self Esteem, that was answered with the screams or the existential lyrics, neck-shattering head banging and ground shaking jumps, for the final time turning up the energy to 11.  Adding to this the inclusion of confetti and beach balls, as the band embraced to a rapturous crowd as they said their good byes.

Even as I exited the arena through the hordes of tireless fans screaming the lyrics to Sweet Caroline, I don’t think I could shake the lingering buzz that I received from this prodigious show, a truly phenomenal experience that I will never forget. Safe to say that upon The Offspring, or Sum 41’s return, I will be throwing myself into the pit. It’s exhausting and painful for a skinny beanpole like myself, but what can I say…..I’ve Got A Bad Habit.

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Gig ReviewsReviews

Jacob Collier @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 4/12/2022

The packed Forum venue was already breezy with excitement and anticipation for the return of one of the most accomplished, one of a kind rising star acts of this century, Jacob Collier, who finally returned to Australian soil for his 82nd show of the Djesse world tour. And even after so many shows, oh boy did he deliver.


If there’s two words I can use to describe the quintessential Jacob Collier extravaganza, they would be ethereal and idiosyncratic. This was not an ordinary show in the slightest, but more-so a journey and collective insight to the mind of Jacob. From Collier enthusiastically running barefoot onto the stage jumping around and hyping the crowd, to swiftly sitting at his grand piano accompanying slower but funkier/soulful tunes lead by his band whose talents know no bounds.


Never before have I seen such a brilliant display of musical versatility brought out on stage. Jacob never ceased the flaunt of his multi-instrumentalism and extensive improvisation, as he’d  tirelessly jump between multiple instruments in one song,  like faster than a broke uni student catching money in a cash machine.


And whilst on the topic of things, I’ve never seen the kind of audience interaction/participation at a live gig than what was at a Collier gig and it is quite boldly unmatched. For Jacob managed to turn the entirety of a packed, sold out Forum into a harmonic and angelic choir for around 10 minutes straight, with such precise conducting of an ethereal, orchestral beauty that I never thought I would be amongst in my lifetime. The combination of this, non stop banter, and the occasional chat with the audience really made this whole experience personal and brought a togetherness among us


Now don’t get it twisted, our boogie boots were strapped on once Collier picked up the electric bass, and lead his incredibly talented band for back to back tracks Time Alone With You and All I Need. With his hit song Hideaway being amongst the set. Let me tell you that there was not on idle pair of legs amongst the crowd, as everyone moved like Bootsy himself.


We all thought it was over, and were waiting for the house lights to come on, as it had been set up with Jacob introducing his band and crew and smashing it one last time before triumphantly leaving the stage, but the audience were hungry for more. What started off as the quintessential “ONE MORE SONG” chant eventually became the iconic “Boom Boom Clap” rhythm of We Will Rock You, enticing the young Londoner to grace us with one last encore…..and oh boy did he do such a thing as he stormed the stage to the roar of hundreds of fans, right before delivering an incredible solo rendition of Somebody To Love by Queen. He even once again transformed the audience into a choir for the operatic sections of the iconic track, permanently leaving an incredible mark on us.


Thank you Jacob for a fantastic performance, well worthy of 2 sold out shows in Melbourne alone. 

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Gig ReviewsReviews

The Darkness @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 11/10/2022

Finally, after such a long wait since the Easter is Cancelled Tour was…well… canceled, our wait for The Darkness is over.   With COVID claiming so much from each of our lives, it is such a special moment to welcome back Justin, Dan, Frankie, and Rufus.

Now before welcoming The Darkness back to Melbourne in their opening show of the 2022 Motor-heart tour of Australia and New Zealand, the packed Forum, Tuesday night audience is in for a homegrown and very special treat indeed.  None other than the lads from Thornlie themselves, hard-rocking The Southern River Band. The pre-show stage darkness is broken by the unmistakable silhouette of the mullet from hell, marking the entrance of the brilliant Aussie Cal Kramer and the lads from the banks of the Canning River.

As The Southern River Band crank into their immediately thrilling set, one can’t help but wonder how much of the Aussie hard rock spirit that emanates from the Bon Scott statue at Fisherman’s Wharf in Fremantle has found its way into the music, the moves, the look and the feel of The Southern River Band.  Of course, everywhere TSRB plays, they leave with far more fans than they had when they arrived, but with the first song, it becomes abundantly clear that there were more than just a few fans of Rumour & Innuendo in this Melbourne crowd.

With the irreverent and unapologetic comical skills of Cal at the fore, the brilliant pounding and thrilling music of TSRB is always accompanied by a hilarious spattering of humorous intermissions that never fail to tickle the ocker in us all.

Every time this band takes to the stage, they seem to challenge themselves to do better than ever before. The remarkable thing is that they achieve it…always. This is the kind of support tour opportunity where a screaming Forum crowd, should by all rights guarantee a sold-out Watch Yourself Tour opener at the Corner on November 11th and a kick-arse national tour.

With stories from meth-ridden workmates when plastering worksites, to stealing the band intro thunder from the bass-wielding bandmates, to feeling like a sheep on a hobby farm, or the more malevolent edge to track about drug dealers where one can genuinely feel the drug-ridden underbelly of Gutterland, Australia oozing from their music into the daylight, the Southern River Band are never to be missed. Tonight, they gave Melbourne a small taste as to why.  Huge thanks to our hard-rockin’ heroes from the west.

But with a little tickling up of the stage and the affectionate coddling of instruments that musty surely be necessary to ready them for a thorough pounding courtesy of The Darkness, the wait is over. 

After a dramatic cinematic score introduces the atmosphere along with a fitting purple haze, the quartet enters the stage to an eruption of roars from the crowd as they open up with ‘Motor Heart’ and ‘Black Shuck’, Justin already delivering his quintessential high whilst flaunting his playful charm.

Accompanied by the equally talented ensemble, Justin Hawkins put on a stellar performance from beginning to end, amplifying his charm and wit, even donning a punky leather pest given by a fan in the audience. Movement and rock n’ roll presence like no other

Partway through the show, Justin broke into a famous Freddy Mercury-inspired call and response with the sold-out theatre of The Forum, even hilariously breaking into an operatic/jazz vocal performance which left every living thing in the room with a grin on their faces

After a rendition of Happy Birthday for an ambitious fan in the crowd, Justin playfully teases arguably the most awaited number of the night, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, right before erupting into the classic tune. Not to mention Justin abruptly halts the track right before the first chorus getting everyone to put away their phones and savor what was usurpingly a magical moment, before completing the song and walking off-stage

Closely following the amplified chants of the crowd demanding an encore, the ensemble breaks onto the stage once again, this time with Justin in a funky, country-like outfit while the rest of the band is damn near stripped down to boxers. The lights turn green and red as the group starts performing their festive tune ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’, joined by Cal of The Southern River Band accompanied by sleigh bells.

When we all thought it couldn’t get any better, Justin climbs onto the back of a security guard and surfs him through the packed Forum crowd shredding a long extended solo to their finale, ‘Love On The Rocks With No Ice

The Darkness can still be seen at the following dates: You wont regret it

Friday, Oct 14: Astor, Perth
Saturday, Oct 15: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Sunday, Oct 16:  Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday, Oct 18: Kambri, Canberra
Wednesday Oct 19: Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday, Oct 21: Hunter Lounge, Wellington
Saturday, Oct 22: Powerstation, Auckland 

General Tickets On Sale Now From

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