Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] All Time Low @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 4/11/2023

Saturday was an absolutely massive day for anyone who hated high school, made questionable Omegle calls, or had a Tumblr between 2009 and 2016. Pop Punk royalty All Time Low and Mayday Parade have arrived in Melbourne for a double act of debauchery, moshing, and one hell of a trip down memory lane.

I remember hearing my first Mayday Parade song on a So Fresh! Hits of Summer 2009 CD. So, I have to admit, I was a little nervous to hear them play live. I was sandwiched between some of the rowdiest concert goers of living memory, and we were hungry for a show. Were they going to be able to provide? It seems wrong to say a group of guys who haven’t yet hit 40 are in their ‘twilight years’, but Mayday Parade was formed in 2005, for God’s Sake. That’s nearly two decades of performing and touring. That is the twilight years! But I should’ve known better than to be nervous.

Oh Well, Oh Well, is quieter than I expected for an opening song. But the violin is beautiful, it’s haunting and delicate and washes over our expectant grins. And then Jake Bundrick comes in with those drums on the chorus. And I’m taken all the way back to 2011. I’m kicking rocks as I wait for the bus, I’m changing math class again, I’m at Margaret Court jostling as much as I can in my seat to keep rhythm with the women either side of me. Every word flows out of me, Mayday Parade have just unlocked something in me. Derek Sanders takes our hands, holds them lovingly, and guides us through the rest of their setlist. He is quiet, gentle, and absolutely Earth-shattering. His voice is so good, so good. Pain, love, loss all come out of him fully formed and I find myself grieving every song as soon as it’s finished. Sanders shows us how much of a master of his craft he is, in the acoustic version of Miserable At Best. Margaret Court is awash with phone torch light. This song was born to be played acoustic, born to be played live. I have never felt more lucky.

It’s clear the band have been a unit for so long. Bassist Jeremy Lenzo and guitarist Brooks Betts wind their way between each other without thinking. They’re two parts of the same whole. Everyone has this beautiful, innate understanding of the others. As individual players, their skill cannot be understated. They play to not only match the recorded version of the songs, but to destroy it. The Tallahassee natives absolutely blast their recordings out of the water. Driving, pounding, relentlessly rhythmic bass, shredding, treacle-sweet guitar licks and delicate, precise, endlessly engaging drumming keep my eyes glued to the stage for their whole set. And god, it’s too short. At only 10 songs long, I am positively gutted when it comes to an end all too soon.

But at least we get to finish on Jamie All Over. I watch GA shake off all of the emotions from the set. They’re grinning, bumping into each other, as the fellas onstage give it everything they’ve got. Guitars turned up to the max, Bundrick is slamming on the drumkit so hard I’m worried the skins will break. Everyone looks so alive.

And then it’s time for the illustrious return of Maryland emo-Rockers, All Time Low. This will be their first time in Australia since 2017, and to say it’s nostalgic – is the understatement of the fucking century. All Time Low are the high school anthem makers. In harsh contrast to Mayday Parade’s setlist – we’re in for 22 songs from a nearly 20-year career from this band of agents for chaos. If any band was going to be a parody of medieval travelling bands – these guys would be hit. They’re all energy, humour, and an endless stream of increasingly elaborate bits. They’re horny, nostalgic and angsty. They’re a delight in every sense of the word.

Nothing can describe the absolute tidal wave that is Lost in Stereo into Damned if I Do Ya (Damned if I Don’t). All Time Low sucker punch you to welcome you to the set. Unbelievably high energy, pumping lights and new takes on beloved riffs – this is an opening impossible to forget. Everyone is up. There are no seats, they’ve turned the whole fucking place into a moshpit. The control they have over us and the room is impossible to replicate.

“Holy fuck there’s a lot of people here”. Front man Alex Gaskarth is met with a tsunami of applause and cheers. “This is the biggest show we’ve ever played in Australia. And that’s all thanks to you. We’re four guys from Maryland who started this shit nearly 20 years ago – in high school, and we never, ever thought we’d be here.”

After several more songs punctuated by flashing purple lights, Rian Dawson’s inimitable drumming and Gaskarth’s unbelievable vocal power, our front man takes to the mic again. “This is a song about love.” And we launch into a mashup between, Modern Love / Stella and Tell Me I’m Alive.

God these guys are a unit. The amount of stage guitarists Jack Barakat and Zack Merrick can cover while getting these intricate runs note-perfect, is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. All Time Low do high-energy better than anyone else in the business. They are proving, with every sensational second they’re onstage, why they’re pop-punk heavy-weights. The musicianship, the effortless banter, the charisma – all of it is what puts All Time Low on top. And they’re dishing everything out for us at Margaret Court.

New touring member to the band, Dan Swank, is having a birthday! “Not only is it his first time in Australia, it’s also Dan’s birthday! Let’s all sing Happy Birthday 3 or 4 times.” Gaskarth chirps happily into the mic. We’re having none of it. There’s only one thing we want him to do.

Starting as a dull drone, and growing to a yell, the room is full of;

Shooey! Shooey! Shooey!

“You guys are fucked. You know that right? This is so completely depraved. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea?” Gaskarth might be appauled, but Barakat has already whipped off his shoe (suspiciously fast), and Swank has filled it with beer. Down the hatch. The applause is next-level.

And then we are thrown back into it. Winding our way through bagner, old and new, I have to stop us at Fake As Hell. As he absolutely tears up his vocal chords delivering us spine-tingling belts, Gaskarth takes a minute to thank the queen of pop-punk. The one. The only. My first musical hero. The other-half of the poppy, sardonic tune; Avril Lavigne. “Make some noise for Avril Lavigne. Here in spirit. She’s eternal.” Fuck! Yes! As the punchy, tongue-in-cheek tribute comes to a close. Gaskarth takes a minute to address us, after a heckle from the front row.

“I’m 15!”

“Oh fuck yeah dude! No, seriously, that’s great. Who here saw us when they were 15?” A bunch of twenty-somethings hiding purple hair in the corporate world cheer. “Thanks for growing up with us guys.”

It’s a very sweet moment and reminds me of why I loved bands like All Time Low in high school. They’re messy, they make mistakes, they’re human. They understood what growing up was like.

“Alright now for something less sappy. This is the horniest song All Time Low have ever written. And I won’t apologise.” The song in question is, of course, New Religion. The stage is bathed in purple and red light. It’s just sensational. Gaskarth purrs into the mic, accompanied by the hypnotic drum work of Dawson. The song is extra hot, and extra heavy.

The set goes by in a dream. It’s alive, it’s electric. Each song is punchier than the last. And I’m not entirely sure how we ended up with the band stopping, Barakat taking the mic and asking Gaskarth; “Hey, have you ever? Ever felt like this?” Zack Merrick chimes in, “Where strange things happen?!” And suddenly, they’re playing Round The Twist. They’re dancing to Round The Twist. All Time Low, are playing Round The Twist. What the fuck is going on. We’re losing it. Some people are trying to film it, but laughing too hard, others are headbanging. Barakat was absolutely right when he said; “Glad to know you all still stand for your national anthem.” All Time Low casually pulling out maybe the most iconic live music moment of 2023. Go off boys. Their commitment to the bit is second-to-none.

And as teenage Nikki favourites like Weightless play out, I get a little teary as we hit the last song of the encore. “Take us home everyone!” And in perfect unision, fuelled by patriotism and teen angst, we sing out the end of Dear Maria, Count Me In. And it’s over. The lights come up and it doesn’t feel real. We were somewhere else. A delightful time capsule of a bygone age of hairspray, shitty bangles and musical perfection. And god do I want to go back.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] BABYMETAL @ Margaret Court Arena, Melborune 11/06/2023

Review By Kynan Arden

What do you get when you blend Japanese kawaii culture with brutally heavy metal?

Many people would think that’s out of the question, but that is of course absurd as these two areas manifest the oh so adorable power trio along with their monstrous mask-clad backing band: Babymetal. I was lucky enough to head down and witness the incredible stamp on Melbourne shores, joining fellow LGBTQIA+ metalheads whose numbers and energy would make old Maggie Court herself explode.

Warming us up prior to to the metal babies was the angelic vocals and filthy breakdowns of the amazing Reliqa. Having not being aware of those group prior to the show, I was, to put it lightly, blown away by the sheer energy that the group brought as well a deliciously hot dose of power metal ballads. Monique Pym’s vocals were powerful, backed by the vocalist thrashing herself across the stage joined by the equally hyperactive band mates. As well as the beautiful vocal performance, the instrumental arrangement gave the rest of the power to the music. The guitar shredded and wailed, the bass was lower than hell, and the drums were as always stellar. This Aussie group certainly should remain on the radar. 

Credit: Cam Brown Visuals

After a lengthy intermission, the lights dimmed as the tall monitor played a colourful animation detailing the birth of Babymetal in the most creative way, all before the trio marched into position and chanted the alphabet making up their name for the opening track, BABYMETAL DEATH. The energy of the metal triforce was immediately known, and I could not tell who was having the most fun between us and the girls. Knowing full well it is a staple for the group, watching the incredibly fun and creative choreography to such earth shattering, behemoth death metal accompanying them. The interactions between the trio and the crowd whilst keeping true to the layout of the performance showed their love and passion for the craft that they have been showing worldwide.

Credit: Cam Brown Visuals

Su-metal, Moametal, and Momometal, the talented trio, showcased flawlessly synchronized dance routines that mesmerized the eyes of the audience, creating a captivating visual spectacle brimming with infectious energy. From the very first note, they had the crowd under their spell, transforming them into willing captives, eagerly embracing every second of the performance. The audience became putty in their hands, singing along with pure adoration, and their passion for the music was so profound that they generated more circle pits in a single show than I had ever witnessed before. The band's sheer talent and stage presence were a force to be reckoned with, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of witnessing their extraordinary performance.

Credit: Cam Brown Visuals

The energy coming from the stage was met with an equally fervent response from the crowd, as they devoured the metal performance with a voracious appetite, as if it were their last indulgence. The collective screams reverberated through the venue, while legs bounced incessantly, horns were triumphantly raised, and mosh pits spun wildly throughout the entire set. Amidst the noise, one particular standout was the band's beloved hit track from their discography, Gimme Chocolate!, which ignited the atmosphere, causing the very roof of the Margaret Court Arena to tremble. Another shining moment, quite literally, occurred when the arena transformed into a sea of illuminating lights as it seemed every phone torch was raised high upon the band's request during a softer, more introspective segment of the night.

Credit: Cam Brown Visuals

Despite the show lasting for a little over an hour, it felt like a fleeting moment, leaving me with an uncontrollable grin plastered across my face and my eyes fixated on the stage. There was never a dull moment throughout the night. Just when it seemed like the end was near, a dark intermission signalled the beginning of a two-track encore, preceded by a short motivational film clip emphasizing the significance of triumphing over darkness and heeding the words of the Metal Gods.

Credit: Cam Brown Visuals

And then came the epic finale—the Wall of Death. As METAL KINGDOM commenced, the pits opened once more, prompting excited screams from the fans as they charged headlong into one another. Babymetal returned to the stage, presenting one final mesmerizing dance number, Ijime, Dame, Zettai, holding aloft flags adorned with their iconic logo. The blessed and appreciative voice of Suzuka Nakamoto, renowned as Su-metal, resonated throughout the arena, expressing heartfelt gratitude, and thus bringing the exhilarating show to a close. Babymetal, the embodiment of the Fox God's Triforce, delivered an unforgettable and visually stunning experience that should be witnessed by all at least once in a lifetime.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Papa Roach / The Used @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 24/04/2023

Review By Lynda Buchanan

It was a warm Monday night in Melbourne, and while most people may have been preparing for a quiet evening at home, the music lovers of the city had other plans. They were flocking to Margaret Court Arena to witness a double headline show with two of the most influential bands in the emo/punk rock genre – The Used and Papa Roach.  

The Used and Papa Roach are veteran names in the industry and have amassed a devoted fan base that has been with them for over twenty years. The fact that they are sharing the stage for a double headline show is a testament to their lasting popularity and remarkable musical talent. As the venue filled up with eager fans, the excitement in the air was thick. 

Taking the stage to kick off the night were the energetic Japanese rockers, coldrain. Making their long-awaited return to Australia after an eight-year hiatus. Having never witnessed coldrain before, I was immediately drawn to lead singer Masato Hayakawa, his vocal range is truly amazing. The band treated the audience to an energetic setlist, showcasing tracks from their latest album, Nonnegative, as well as fan favourites from The Side Effects and The Revelation.  

coldrain’s performance set the perfect tone for the evening, effectively warming up the crowd and leaving a lasting impression. Proving why they were the ideal choice to open the show. Here is hoping we don’t have to wait another 8 years to see these musicians again.  

After a brief intermission, the excitement in the room heightened as The Used, took to the stage. They opened their set with Take It Away, a crowd favourite from their album In Love and Death, and the band was met with an outpouring of cheers. 

McCracken reminded the audience that at a Used emo show, they were allowed to be themselves, and nobody would judge them. He then launched into Blow Me, which had the crowd dancing and singing along. The circle pits were in full swing as the band played their music, and the crowd was more than willing to participate. When the familiar sounds of The Used new single from their upcoming album, Toxic Positivity, called F**k You rang out across the venue, the audience joined Bret and stuck their middle fingers in the air. 

Taste Of Ink was followed by the slower All That I’ve Got, which had the crowd singing along with full vigour. The band took a moment to celebrate the birthday of their lighting guy, Jeff, with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, which included a humorous ending with McCracken claiming it was his birthday too! 

The audience was treated to The Used’s latest single, Numb, with Bert giving them an unusual request – to boo instead of cheer at the end of the song. The crowd found it amusing and gladly complied. 

Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach took the stage by surprise to perform Blood On My Hands alongside Bert, and you could see all the phones go up throughout the audience to capture this surprise appearance forever. The band’s guitarist, Joey Bradford, showcased his skills with an incredible solo during the performance of Pretty Handsome Awkward. A request from the audience that McCracken, do a shoey. To which of course he obliged, catching the shoe that was thrown on stage and filling it with Red Bull before chugging it down. The crowd cheered and laughed in approval, adding to the overall high energy of the night. 

As the set drew to a close, the band rocked out to A Box Full Of Sharp Objects, giving drummer Dan Whitesides the opportunity to show off his drumming expertise. The set culminated in a mashup with Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, leaving the audience pumped and energized. 

McCracken finished the show with a bang, hurling himself into the crowd and ending the epic performance on a high note. The audience was now nice and warmed up, ready for the Papa Roach

Excited yells rang though the air as the lights dimmed, and Jacoby Shaddix led Papa Roach onto the stage. A giant white cockroach loomed over the black backdrop behind them, and without missing a beat, the band launched into Kill the Noise from their newest release EGO TRIP, and it was crystal clear that Melbourne had missed Papa Roach dearly. 

As Jacoby launched into Getting Away With Murder, he asked the audience, “Melbourne, how the f**k are you feeling tonight?” and the crowd erupted in cheers. As Jerry Horton shredded out his solo, Jacoby continued, “Let me see those horns in the f**king sky!” Shaddix declared how rock n roll saved him, and it was clear from the crowd’s reaction that many of them felt the same way. 

Another new song Cut The Line from the new album EGO TRIP was next. Jacoby explained that he wrote the song with the mosh pit in mind. “F**k yeah, it feels amazing to play that new shit,” Jacoby exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear as the crowd cheered and began to headbang in unison. 

In  nod to their musical influences, the band played The Prodigy’s Firestarter and the Ramones’ Hey Ho Let’s Go intro before launching into I Wanna Be Loved as Jacoby took the chance to connect with the crowd and ventured out into the seated section of the audience, managing to navigate the entire venue while singing to and along with the crowd.  

Upon returning to the stage, Jacoby took a moment to deliver an uplifting message of hope and resilience, telling the crowd. “Show up for yourselves every day, you are worth it, no matter what your head says to you, no matter what the world says to you. That’s a fact, y’all!” and that pain is only temporary. The audience were clearly moved as the band played Scars while everyone lit up Margaret Court Arena with a sea of phone lights.  

The stage was ignited with energy as Bert McCracken made a surprise appearance during No Apologies. His unique vocal style and vibrant stage presence complemented Jacoby’s seamlessly. However, the collaborations didn’t stop there. Recently, Papa Roach concluded their much-anticipated Amazing Things tour in the UK, where they shared the stage with fellow rockers, Don Broco. As luck would have it, Don Broco will also be touring Australia very soon and had arrived early. So, to the delight of the Melbourne crowd, Rob Damiani joined Papa Roach for Between Angels & Insects. This was an amazing opportunity for Rob to give the audience a taste of what they will be seeing next week, and I have no doubt there were a few ticket sales as “Bobby Damage” left it all on the stage and earnt Don Broco new fans across Melbourne. 

As the sounds of Last Resort echo across the arena, the crowd becomes even more frenzied, if that was even possible. The audience screams the lyrics of the chorus back in unison and Jacoby stands back and takes it all in, basking in the moment. This is the magic of live music, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness. 

In that fleeting moment, as the band took their final bow, the appreciation was thick in the air, both from the performers and crowd. It was an unspoken agreement that each had given their all, leaving nothing behind. The audience departed with hearts brimming with happiness, their souls nourished by the events that they had just witnessed. 

It’s not uncommon for artists who have been around for a while, particularly those who have made their mark in the emo and pop-punk scenes, to be written off as being past their prime. But the performances by The Used and Papa Roach proved beyond any doubt that they still have what it takes to captivate a crowd and leave them wanting more. 

Their new music is just as powerful and relevant as their past hits, proving that these bands are far from being mere nostalgia acts. It was an amazing night that showcased the lasting appeal and talent of these two incredible bands, leaving the Melbourne crowd begging for more. 

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Pentatonix @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 26/03/2023

Review By Emily White

The beauty of traditional a cappella bands is something so rarely seen in the modern music landscape, so to have the world renowned, Grammy Award winning quintet, Pentatonix grace Aussie shores this week was an absolute treat. Pentatonix: The World Tour gives fans of the band a chance to hear their favourite pop style arrangements and vocal harmonies live – and they did not disappoint.

Warming up the crowd, a gorgeous young woman made her way to a standalone mic. The breakout artist Bella Taylor Smith, winner of the 10th season of the Voice Australia, is a pop-folk singer-songwriter whose vocals can only be described as angelic. Bella is so beautifully humble in her performance style – directly asking permission of the crowd for her to ‘sing (you) a few songs’. Typically, pop singers will hold back their highest, most impressive notes for the peak of a song, but when Bella came out with her first track belting out a range not far from the vocals of Beyoncé – we could tell we were in for a treat.

Accompanied by her husband Josh on acoustic guitar, Bella took the audience on a journey, from her time on The Voice, to her strong faith, and recent marriage. Bella is a familiar character, whose stories are told so passionately on stage particularly through her natural movement and comfortable stage presence.

Performing her winner’s single from The Voice, Higher, Bella stood self-harmonising under a single spotlight. Although simplistic in its design, this set could be mistaken for a fully-produced album – with the acoustic guitar feeling as well rounded as an entire band. A sure highlight of the performance was an exquisite cover of Ave Maria by Beyoncé; the singer’s blind audition track which changed her life in an instant. Spine tingling and pure magic, this song truly showcases all that Bella has to offer – hitting whistle tones that felt as though they stopped time for a second.

Bella’s set boasted so many highlights for a thirty-minute act. Covering songs by the great Elton John and Cyndi Lauper, as well as introducing her new single A Long Time Coming, the audience was left clapping and cheering in unison, the perfect way to lead into welcoming the world’s most famous a cappella band.

The stage went dark as the word ‘Music’ flickered on and off. Going into this show, my only real exposure to a cappella extended to the 2012 film Pitch Perfect, and for anyone else in the same boat as me, we were about to have our minds blown by the pure magic of Pentatonix.

Reimagining and redefining a cappella… it was impossible not to feel full body shivers listening to the angelic hums and melodic choir as the group burst onto the stage with their original pop single Sing. The band consisting of members Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoving, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee has a way of being so individually unique and diverse, whilst also perfectly complimenting each other both visually and vocally.

It was impossible to look away from the stage, with the two-hour set being so high energy, brightly coloured, and almost childlike in the best way. The beautifully designed, clean geometric lines of the stage complimenting the bold colours of the costuming, then paired with tight choreography gives the band an early 2000’s feel. The glossy, Vegas-style showmanship is such a unique way of breathing new life into already established pop hits – steering Pentatonix away from simply being a cover band.

Na Na Na is another of the group’s hits, which had the audience becoming a part of the band so seamlessly, just as if the songs had been written for the stage. Showcasing the full range of tight harmonies and crystal-clear beats, the instrumentation of their voices could easily be mistaken for a five-piece band.

A recurring item in the show was the connection of light with movement. Having such high-production value was hypnotic for the crowd, whose eyes were glued to the stage. The same could be said for what was arguably the highlight of the show – the group’s cover of The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. There are no words to describe how beautiful this song is, which was only taken to a new high by the deeply layered vocals. The lyrics could be felt by all who were present; the arena so silent you could hear a pin drop.

The balanced mix between covers and originals was a great way of keeping the show fresh. The band’s original song Love Me When I Don’t was one of these moments where we were able to hear music so refreshing – filled with gorgeous uplifting lyrics about love and friendship, ‘you always know how to love me when I don’t’. This part of the night also made the stadium into a choir of its own, with different sections of the seating bank being directed to sing a particular note. After this, I’m sure anyone who hasn’t heard the band’s original music will be desperate to hear their albums from start to end.

A very special moment of the night was when the band decided to film a video for their TikTok, rehearsing the crowd’s harmonies and phone light choreography to Beyoncé’s Ave Maria, which saw Bella Taylor Smith return to the stage. The fourth wall is truly non-existent at a Pentatonix concert – with everyone present being just as integral to the show as the core band members.

Taking a short break from the a capella, the group’s beatboxer Kevin graced the crowd with a solo act, showcasing his unbelievable ‘Celloboxing’. Rearranging classical pieces of music including Beethoven's fifth and Bach’s Cello Suite no.1 in G major, the music was stunning and unlike anything I’d heard before – which the crowd obviously agreed with as the short set was met with a standing ovation.

When you’d think the best had past, Pentatonix was the gift that kept on giving. Changing into more mellow, monochrome costumes, the cello stayed put as the band moved into an a capella cover of Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Matched with angelic harmonies and sweeping golden spotlights, this was an absolute masterpiece. On a similar note, the band’s cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen silenced the venue. This kind of music is something that would be expected at the gates of heaven, but we were lucky enough to witness on a Sunday night in Melbourne.

The final seven minutes of the show were filled as any seven-minute finale should be – with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. One final reminder of the pure talent of the band, and their ability to imitate any instrument at all. The music of Pentatonix is so sublime, it transcends age, race and religion – pulling in mixed crowds from all over the world. The last twelve years has been so unbelievably successful, but I would be willing to place a bet that this is just the beginning.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Megadeth / In Flames @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 22/03/2023

As musicians, there are some bands that reached out from the speakers, grabbed us by the souls and inspired us in more ways than they will ever know. On this Wednesday evening, I was humbled and blessed to be in the presence of not one, but two bands who are legends in their individual genres, and whose hold on me has only tightened as the years have gone by. So, without further ado, join me as we lose ourselves in the majesty of In Flames and Megadeth.

In the darkness the sounds of an acoustic guitar and strings played over the sound system, the unmistakable Swedish melodies that In Flames have become renowned for echoed in the stadium in harmony with the roars of the crowd. This was The Beginning of All Things That Will End, and it heralded the appearance of the band that was the soundtrack to my childhood.

They strode out on stage and went straight into The Great Deceiver from their new album, Foregone. Frontman Anders Fridén told us to expect a set list that he called a 10 out of 10 – and my God, did they deliver.

My mind raced with the possibilities of what material from their impressive catalogue they might perform and I was answered with the iconic track, Pinball Map, which was followed by arguably one of their biggest hits, Cloud Connected.

What they played next would have pleased the most devoted of In Flames fans. Taking us all the way back to the very beginning, the song and the album that inspired a whole generation of bands – Behind Space from their debut album, Lunar Strain.

What proceeded was akin to being placed in a time machine as we navigated our way through their discography. Graveland from The Jester Race, The Hive from Whoracle, Only For The Weak from Clayman and My Sweet Shadow from Soundtrack To Your Escape.

I don’t usually go into such intricate detail with regards to the set list but in this case, it was so spectacular that I felt it would be remiss of me not to mention it for all the Jesterheads out there.

We were then returned to the present  with Foregone Pt. 1 and State of Slow Decay.

The current band line up of –

Anders Fridén – Vocals
Björn Gelotte – Guitars
Chris Broderick– Guitars
Bryce Paul – Bass
Tanner Wayne – Drums

– sound incredible together. Tanner and Bryce lock in really well with each other and deliver truckloads of groove to the rhythm section. Chris Broderick adds his decades of experience and finesse as a guitarist to the band and elevates their sound to new heights. Playing complex passages with ease while rocking quite possibly the most impressive set of guns in the industry.

Anders Fridén and Björn Gelotte are without a doubt the beating heart of In Flames and they sound better than ever. Time has aged them like a fine wine, bringing about maturity and complexity, but losing none of the youthful joie de vivre.

The set concluded with Alias, I Am Above and Take This Life. As a man I can only imagine that this is what the fabled multiple orgasm must feel like.

But be still my beating heart, for this is only the beginning. As the Kings depart the stage we braced ourselves for the Gods. Megadeth were about to appear.

Two massive screens flanked the stage with the drum kit set in the middle like a jewel in a crown. Images of flames, death and destruction flashed across the screens as Prince of Darkness played. Megadeth strode out on to the stage with the presence and subtlety of a supernova, and exploded into Hanger 18. The crowd had greatly enjoyed In Flames but this was undoubtedly Megadeth’s family. Any energy that they might have withheld before now detonated through a series of convulsions.

The call and response solo trade-off between Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro simultaneously inspired and discouraged every guitarist in attendance. It seems otherworldly to witness such a combination of technical brilliance and showmanship before your eyes.

They followed this up with Dread and The Fugitive Mind and The Threat Is Real. Dave Mustaine then took some time to regale us with the tale of how the next song came into being.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had wanted a song written for the movie, The Last Action Hero. Dave wrote the lyrics inspired by a dream he had, where ex-drummer Nick Menza had accidentally kicked over one of his beloved guitars and that is how we were blessed with the track, Angry Again. As the band began playing Sweating Bullets the crowd’s reaction can be eloquently described as – going ape-shit crazy. They practically sang the song on Dave’s behalf and made sure that the security worked hard for their pay-checks last night.

To the casual observer these scenes might look chaotic and violent but at a Megadeth show, this is a unique marriage of brutality juxtaposed against brotherhood; a special kind of bonding on an intangible level that is enjoyed and appreciated by the fans.

Another benefit of this environment was that there were a lot less phones out filming in the pit and the audience were able to lose themselves in the music with total abandon.

The freight train of a set continued ploughing through us with She-Wolf, Conquer or Die, Dystopia, Tornado of Souls and Trust. At this stage Dave spoke about getting diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and how when friends heard about this they replied by saying: “ I feel sorry for cancer.”

I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment, for Dave Mustaine is genuinely a force to be reckoned with. Nothing stops this man and his unrelenting will and vision. Through one of life’s most painful and cruel trials he wrote and recorded the phenomenal album, The Sick, The Dying & The Dead, and then he blew us away with the performance of We’ll Be Back.

Megadeth’s current lineup boasts some of Metal’s biggest names.

Kiko Loureiro, who made his name as a part of the Brazilian Power Metal behemoth, Angra, awed us with his fretboard wizardry and firmly cemented his seat alongside the legendary guitarists who have stood in his place. James Lomenzo on bass has a staggeringly impressive resume, having been an integral part of influential bands such as White Lion, Black Label Society and Slash’s Snakepit. Completing the all-star team, is the hard-hitting master of the skins, Dirk Verbeuren – formerly of Soilwork. Each of them are obviously virtuosos at their individual instruments, but together they are a force to be reckoned with. Spell-binding in their performances but always serving the song and Dave’s unique artistic vision.

The set concluded with the epochal, Symphony of Destruction and the thought-provoking, Peace Sells – a song whose lyrics are perhaps more relevant today than when they were first put to paper.

We were physically and emotionally spent by this stage. However, Megadeth weren’t done with us just yet. Dave Mustaine thanked the crowd in a speech that I’ve heard a million times before yet there was a palpable earnestness in the way he said it that I’ve seldom felt.

For an encore they played,

Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.

The audience reaction was a testament to the human spirit and its propensity for endurance as they moshed the hardest they had done all night.

The show ended after two massive hours, but Megadeth will live on eternally in our hearts and minds. Seeing the vast number of young fans who were probably seeing Megadeth live for the first time filled me with a sense of hope that I haven’t felt in a long time.

It’s easy to despair when we look at where music is now and reflect upon the lofty heights from which it fell. Do we push forward with optimism or calculate with pessimism? Perhaps the answer to that is a healthy dose of both and nobody has summed it up better than Dave Mustaine.

“If there's a new way
I'll be the first in line
But it better work this time.”

Megadeth & In Flames will be back on stage at the very first KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA kicking off tomorrow in Melbourne!

Slipknot | Parkway Drive | Megadeth | Trivium | Northlane | Amon Amarth
 In Flames Knocked Loose | Spiritbox | Story Of The Year | Alpha Wolf
 Void Of Vision | Bad Omens | Malevolence

Friday 24 March 2023 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne SOLD OUT
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Centennial Park, Sydney
Sunday 26 March 2023 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane 

Information available at destroyalllines.com

March 24th, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

Saturday 25 March 2023 – Centennial Park, Sydney

Sunday 26 March 2023 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane 

Read More
Post Image
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.

Read More