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[Review] Soulfly @ Manning Bar, Sydney 6/12/2022

The 6th of December marks the end of sideshows for this year’s Good Things Festival, and I’m spending it at the Manning Bar in Sydney seeing the mighty Soufly. They must be looking forwards to one last throwdown to cap off the Australian performances after appearing at 3 festivals in 3 days across 3 different states. 

The initial support, Melbourne’s Primitive pull-out of the show last-minute moving Sydney’s deathcore superstars To The Grave to the main and only support. To The Grave have been busy! Not only did they also appear at Good Things Festival (in Melbourne and Brisbane only), they supported Soulfly on their Melbourne sideshow and we’re lucky to have them here tonight.  

They open with Red Dot Sight as lead singer Dane Evans storms the stage in a balaclava under his hoodie. They may be a different brand of metal in comparison to tonight’s headliner, but the crowd bounce and headbang along as the Sydney squad play their hearts out. If you haven’t seen To The Grave perform before, I highly recommend it. Evans has a stage presence beyond his years and a voice that can compete with the likes of Phil Bozeman and Brooke Reeves. I can’t wait to see his evolution; I feel he will only get better!
Simon’s drum kit is positioned in front of Soulfly’s, leaving little room for movement up there, he nonetheless near destroys each drum with strength and accuracy. Just that morning, the film clip to Axe of Kindness was released, and we get to hear the heavy, gritty assault live!
The single is out now and will be on their new album Directors Cuts coming February 24th
Closing the set with Wastage, they call for a wall of death. Metalheads pour down to the floor from the outskirts as Evans counts down to carnage.  

The venue’s capacity fills very quickly as the time draws near for metal legends Soulfly to take the stage. I make a very silly decision to buy merch as I hear the intro to Back To the Primitive stream out of the speakers behind me. I tap my card, grab my shirt and sprint to the front. The venue claps along as the band appears one by one.
It may be a Tuesday but that does not stop the pit from going ballistic! The album Primitive, in which Back to the Primitive is from, was released in 2000 and looking around, everyone sure knows the words. Max and co take no prisoners ripping through tracks such as Prophecy, Downstroy and Filth Upon Filth from their latest album Totem. 

As most know, Dino Cazares, guitarist from Fear Factory is along for the ride. The two guitar legends share a moment on stage, axes facing each other – shredding like it’s child’s play, the crowd lap it up. Ritual is one of the strongest songs of the night, a loud chanting chorus that everyone can join in and a chugging slower outro to bang our heads.
Soulfly was born in 1998, but they were made when they arrived in Australia in 1999, according to metal god himself Max Cavalera. Tonight, the admiration is mutual!
Multiple sound problems at Good Things made me glad I went to tonight’s event because the sound is excellent! One punter rips his top off and twirls it around his head, giving Bleed one of the finest receptions of the night. 

Max asks us if we want some Chaos AD, to roars of excitement! Max’s son Zyon (who it’s playing drums for Soulfly) counts down to the Sepultura classic, Refuse Resist and the venue lose their minds. Brazilian football chants work very well in a metal setting, with a few lyrical alteration we are singing “ole ole ole ole Soulflyyyy Soulfyyyy’.
As an enormous Fear Factory fan, I am beyond excited to hear the intro to Body Hammer, it’s cut short to make way for the huge single, Replica. The intro to Demanufacture also teased as Soulfly gets back to business.  

Tonight’s fantastic show is rounded up with Eye For An Eye and the ever-amazing Jumpdafuckup. As metalheads we are used to artists asking us to sit down, only to jump to the sky as the beat kicks in. I could not wipe the smile off my face watching the entire venue takes part, not just the moshpit! The energy is electric as we yell the chorus knowing the show is coming to an end.  

Soulfly was a highlight of the Good Things line up and I was so fortunate to see them perform twice. With his contagious grooves, persistent worldwide touring, and love for metal, Max Cavalera has established himself as a true symbol of our scene. The current Soulfly line up, Dino Cazares, Mike Leon and Zyon Cavalera is outrageously talented, I hope it stays this way for some time.
The world is opening back up, and the shows keep on coming. I can’t wait to see what 2023 has instore for music lovers across Australia.  

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Electric Callboy @ Factory Theatre, Sydney 1/12/2022

German electronicore party monsters Electric Callboy have arrived on our shores, ahead of appearances at 2022’s Good Things Festival. Before the festival cylinders fire up, Electric Callboy are warming up with 2 sold-out headline shows; at Melbourne’s Max Watts, and Sydney’s Factory Theatre. Along for the party are Clay J Gladstone and Paledusk from Japan, the latter also appearing at the Good Things Festival

Tonight’s venue may be half the size of the night priors Melbourne show, but the excitement and smiles sure are doubled! The Factory Theatre has had a facelift since I last attended a show here and it has a fantastic atmosphere with multiple rooms, hosting metal shows and comedy nights simultaneously. Scattered mullets, activewear and outfits are in full swing in hopes tonight’s headliner reciprocates the wardrobes. 

Clay J Gladstone begin the madness with a high-energy set. The Blue Mountains Emo Punk boys, fill the stage in kilts, overalls – sans shirts of course! They get the crowd dancing and singing early on, which isn’t the easiest feat for a local band supporting international acts. I sure hope to see Clay J Gladstone on more line ups, with a longer set. Their personalities pour out of their songs and dance moves, they’re a lot of fun! 

Japan’s Paledusk are up next, the first of 2 international headliners tonight. A Japanese, and a German band on the same night? I love festival season!

It feels as though they only just departed Aussie shores, as they appeared on the Metalcore Snitches tour alongside Alpha Wolf, Fit for a King and Great American Ghost in June. Paledusk’s music is unique and tight. The combination of metalcore, industrial, nu-metal, and EDM is exciting and impossible to look away from. We are even treated to an Eminem cover of Lose Yourself, Paledusk style. The guitarist never stands still, complete with spin kicks and windmills. Vocalist Katio jumps in the crowd for a sing along with their new friends, before closing out the set with Lights.
The pit is well and truly warmed up!

After their appearance at Good Things, they are darting across the east coast for a run of shows with Starve. Head to Destroy All Lines for more details on this tour.

Right at 9:10pm, the lights descend, and pink party ambience covers the stage. Intense dance music and intro, “In a world of desolation and sadness, six ultra-attractive men arose to bring back the joy. So, prepare yourself for the time of your lives. This is Electric Callboy. Are you ready?” Electric Callboy bound onto the stage straight into one of their biggest hits, Pump It. Each member kitted out in matching tracksuits, mullets and sweatbands the crowd erupts. Their mix of party tunes and heavy beats is the perfect combination. Before the crowd can catch their breath, we’re hurled into Arrow of Love as band members and crowd members alike make love hearts with their hands. This really is one of the happiest, most positive shows I’ve been to in a long time.  

The lights darken and members exit the stage, returning in normal stage clothes asking if we know how to ‘Jump the Fuck up’, why yes Electric Callboy, we sure do! The Scene begins with a marching beat and chant before the crowd jumps the fuck up to the ridiculously intoxicating beat. One of two lead singers, Nico points out that the huge headphones he is wearing aren’t just for fashion. He’s been battling an ear infection and can’t wear in ears, so big over-ear headphones are the next best option. While feeling a little vulnerable, the second vocalist Kevin says he looks cute and asks the crowd to join in to make him feel better. Kevin and Nico share a kiss during Supernova, the love is flowing through the venue tonight! 

MC Thunder 2 (Dancing Like a Ninja) shows the full extent of the vocal talent Kevin possesses. He conjures gutturals from the belly of hell, as crowd-goers look to their friends with pure delight in the form of a stank face. While the two singers cover most areas of the stage, the band members are giving just as much. Their music is tight, and they don’t miss a beat. The sound guy needs a raise because tonight is flawless. 

September saw the release of their latest album Tekkno, which holds many gems. One of those gems is Tekkno Train, which begins with a fun dance beat beginning the united clap. Interrupted by a heavy breakdown before a big singalong chorus, it’s impossible to stand still! Drummer, David-Karl Friedrich is beating the drums so hard, I can feel it in my chest. Do you want to know what happiness looks like? Its friends dancing around singing the words ‘choo, choo choo, choo choo choo we’re riding on the Tekkno train’

The band exit the stage once more before the intro of favourite Hypa Hypa seeps through the speakers. We all thought we had to wait until the end of the set to hear this one! Hands are in the air clapping to accompany the vocalists, who have returned in yet another costume change. Its contagious ‘do do do do’ sing along ignites the crowd as the circle pit opens to madness.

The banter on stage is just as entertaining as the performance, the German accent only makes it more wonderful. Kevin speaks of a tradition of dancing with friends to a type of music in Germany called Schlager. It’s overused, dance-pop-infused music that is scoffed at. Luckily, they wrote their own Schlager song which transitions quite abruptly into deathcore. Hurrikan is a major hit of the night, coming in at only 1 minute and 39 seconds the crowd is left in awe at what they’ve just witnessed. 

One fake encore later, we’re treated to the latest single Mindreader, the film clip, not even a fortnight old. An incredible aspect of the evening is not only that it is Electric Callboys very first Australian tour and they’ve sold out 2 shows, but the crowd knows songs so well, even when performed entirely in German! The members are incredibly moved and thankful for the support, interacting with the crowd at every opportunity. Spaceman may receive one of the most enthusiastic receptions.

Another fake encore reveals the German madmen decked out in bowl cuts and matching white vests. This can only mean one thing, it’s time for We Got The Moves. I’m not sure if it’s predominately laughter or cheers, perhaps both but the crowd is pumped! The song kicks off with the signature head bop, as the band and crowd leave nothing in the reserve tanks. 

Tonight, was a fantastic showcase of top tier musicians. We were captivated by our international guests and what a treat it was. Electric Callboy is such a strong band and if you look beyond the funny lyrics and ridiculous film clips for a moment, you will find talent in truckloads. They have unquestionably swept the globe, and I am ready for the takeover! Their recorded music is only going from strength to strength with imaginative film clips and now Australian audiences know how great they are live.  

If you are heading to the Good Things Festival this weekend, do yourself a favour and get in the gates early to catch their set. 

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Sleeping With Sirens @ Max Watts, Melbourne 1/12/2022

It was a delightfully cool evening that heralded the start of summer as I arrived at Max Watts, 30 mins before the doors were to be opened. A long queue had already formed and snaked it’s way around the corner and down the alley like a magnificent, black veiled, rainbow serpent.

Emo, Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, none of these labels mattered tonight. All that mattered was that Sleeping With Sirens were in Melbourne and had sold out the venue.

 First up were Melbourne’s very own, Bad/Love. Having just completed a tour in October supporting Stepson, the boys were in fine form and delivered a killer, high energy set from start to finish. Their guitarist appeared to have had some technical issues early in the set but the band smoothly continued while it was sorted out and didn’t miss a beat. The crowd responded enthusiastically towards the band and even got a circle pit going mid set.

After some initial delays due to technical issues, The Beautiful Monument took to the stage and delivered a set that was like a soundtrack to an emotional roller coaster. Songs akin to a cocktail of heartbreak and angst resonated with the audience as vocalist Lizi Blanco managed to simultaneously capture both joy and sorrow in her performance.

While we waited for Sleeping With Sirens to take the stage several ABBA songs were played over the sound system much to the crowds delight. They gleefully sang along, loud and proud to know all the lyrics. I guess no matter what genre of music you are into, we can safely assume everybody loves ABBA.

At 9:40pm the lights dimmed and the crowd screamed as Matty Best took to the drums and gradually built upon the tension in the room with a series of well executed drum fills. As he reached a crescendo the whole band ran out on stage. Kellin Quinn acknowledged the crowd and was rewarded with a raucous reception as the band began playing, Break me down.

Sleeping with Sirens performed with a frenetic energy as Kellin swung his microphone from his neck and bassist Justin Hills ran around giving high fives to members of the audience. By their 3rd song, Leave it all behind, the crowd had transformed into a sea of undulating bodies creating a marriage of synchronicity and chaos.

Circle pits and mosh pits spontaneously erupted and we even got to see the infamous wall of death as they performed Complete Collapse and Crosses off their new album. Aggressive, groove driven verses gave bloom to anthemic choruses that the fans were all too eager to sing along to. From their reaction it seems the fans not only approve but absolutely adore the new material.

Despite all the moshing the crowd seemed respectful of each other at all times and there was a sense of camaraderie among the fans. This sentiment was further reinforced when Kellin made a heartfelt speech about self worth and being there for each other. We were even treated to a little acoustic set performed by Kellin Quinn and guitarist, Tony Pizzuti which included a tasteful cover of Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls.

Ending on a high note they played Bloody knuckles off the new record and the fan favourite If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn. Sleeping with Sirens definitely have some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever seen and it seems to me that to them these aren’t just songs, but Anthems for those who don’t belong. And for them Kellin Quinn isn’t just a vocalist, but the voice of their generation.

If tonight’s performance was anything to go by then I can confidently say that we’re in for one hell of a day at Good Things Festival.

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Deftones @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 30/11/2022

Wednesday night saw Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre packed to the rafters as the Deftones came to town. Fans lined up for hours prior to doors opening to get the much sought-after barrier position. In Australia for Good Things Festival, which starts in Melbourne tomorrow, Adelaide scored their only sideshow which was sold out impressively quickly.

Getting our night underway was Australian ‘Death-pop’ duo Vowws. Standing on opposite ends of the stage and shrouded in smoke Matt James (vocalist/guitarist) and Rizz (vocalist/keyboards) radiated an aura of mystery which was only amplified by their music. Chaotically beautiful comes to mind when trying to describe the performance that followed. Weighty guitar riffs, haunting synth notes and some extraordinary time signatures wrapped around us. Vowws live are a sonic experience to immerse yourself in and I am sure they scored some new followers from this set. The Season, Prague, One by One and Symbol System reverberated around the room as we watched in awe. If you get the chance, I highly recommend checking out a Vowws live show.

The anticipation in the air was palpable as we waited for the Deftones to grace the stage. Tightly wound bodies of all ages swayed then erupted as the band appeared. Frontman Chino Mareno made his way centre of the stage to the opening notes of Genesis from their 2020 album Ohms.  Chino’s alluring vocals wash over us. “We’re climbing out of the ashes” sums up the feeling as live music and international acts return.

Moving swiftly into Diamond Eyes, the melodic beat of the drums instinctively sees the crowd pendulate. An impressive discography provides magical moments but the opening riff for My Own Summer (Shove It) sends the crowd into a frenzy. Airborne bodies floated across the crowd, horned hands raised into the air and the crowd became a choir.

Digital Bath allows us to take a moment to appreciate the musicianship Deftones have in spades and the punters turn the notch back up to eleven as bodies crash and bounce against each other.

Sextape grants a reprieve as we catch our breath albeit for a moment. Rosemary, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Awa) and Change, Chino and the boys didn’t let up with providing something for every fan. Closing with Headup the crowd took the lyrics ‘Fly high, So fly, Fly free’ literally and once again the air was filled with flailing bodies.

Complimenting the night’s performance, an intricate and perfectly orchestrated light show surrounded the band. Beams of light crisscrossed the stage in perfect time whilst shapes faded in and out around the band as the stage backdrop continually changed.

Two hours of music heaven draw to a close as the fans make it known that we do want the night to end. Silhouettes returned to the stage to cheers, as guitars grind the opening riff to Ohms. The words ‘This is our time’ ring true as we forget the world and let ourselves get lost to the moment. Fittingly, for a school night, the band take us home with Back To School. A wall of grinning people, moving to the sounds of one of the best bands around, was a sight to see and an amazing way to end the evening. This was not just a gig but a Deftones experience

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