Posts Tagged ‘gig’

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle – June 26, 2019


18 Jul

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The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

I’m ashamed to admit it, but this was actually the first time I’d seen The Tea Party live. I’d been into their music since the 1990s and had seen one of Jeff Martin’s incredible solo shows way back in 2010 at Sydney’s The Basement. But I’d never been able to see The Tea Party.

Tonight, I was in for a real treat.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

The night was opened by local Newcastle ‘Alternative Punk’ four-piece Linear. What lucky little sods they were. While the crowd was still pretty thin for their performance, opening for such an established and respected international group is no small honour.

Linear’s songs were pretty solid and the musicianship was strong, too. However, the vocals let the band down and I’m sure that more than a few punters were left wondering why another of the countless hyper-talented local outfits weren’t chosen in their place.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

By the time The Tea Party took to the stage a little after 9pm, the NEX Theatre (still quite large despite the flanks being curtained off) had finally filled substantially. Opening with ‘The River’ from Splendor Solis, the band worked its way through a career-defining set that included tracks like ‘The Bazaar’, ‘Psychopomp’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Temptation’ and ‘Sister Awake’. They even managed to squeeze a faithful cover of U2’s ‘With or Without You’ right in the middle of ‘Heaven’s Coming Down’.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Despite the years, and Martin’s prodigious and prolific career, his rich baritone roar has lost none of its impact and intensity. He stalks the stage with the swagger of someone who’s been doing it all his life, part Jim Morrison, even larger part Jimmy Page. Yet (and despite the violin bow and double-neck Gibson SG usage) it never feels like pastiche. Martin has made it all part of his DNA and his performance is certainly a large part of the success of tonight’s show (and we’d bet, any Tea Party show).

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Bassist Stuart Chatwood is pretty restrained on stage. At times switching between bass and a few keyboards and pedals. Drummer Jeff Burrows, complete with Mod hairdo and endlessly chewing gum, is a dynamo on the kit and propels the Tea Party juggernaut ever onward.

The Tea Party @ NEX, Newcastle - June 26, 2019

Together, they make a hell of a racket for a three piece and tonight’s performance does nothing but cement their place in rock history and Australia’s heart. The Canadian band has always done well over here and if the new tracks they played tonight are anything to go by, they will continue to do so for some time to come.

Be sure to keep an eye out for tour dates in 2020 when the band tours on the back of its 30th anniversary.

Live Review: Heistfest 2019 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019


16 Apr

36CrazyFists + Superheist + From Crisis to Collapse + BLKLST + Take My Soul @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Another Sunday gig at the Cambridge Hotel and another early start. Not a huge issue in and of itself, when the venue fails to list the correct start time on its own website until late into the afternoon of the show and you aren’t surprised when the bands on show tonight are playing to far fewer people than they would normally.

Take My Soul @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Sadly, one of Newcastle’s brightest new bands Take My Soul only plays to a couple dozen punters just after 4pm. Despite the lack of bodies, the modern, down-tuned, 7-string-wielding five-piece brings all the riffs as well as some stupidly tasty, crystalline clean parts that provide the perfect balm to the brutality of the heavy stuff. Their new EP is definitely worth checking out.

BLKLST @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Melbourne’s BLKLST is on stage next and the crowd is still thin on the ground, but the four-piece make a huge racket for a single-guitar band. Self-proclaimed as a nu-metal/hardcore hybrid, they’re pretty on the money, with the band’s singer showcasing some moves and vocal influences very reminiscent of the late 1990s scene that spawned bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and so many more. Super tight, the bass player offers some sick backing vocals, too. Definitely worth a watch.

From Crisis to Collapse @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

From Crisis to Collapse is next to inflict their aural assault onto the growing crowd. Based in Byron Bay, the five-piece wasted no time laying waste to the audience with Technicolor bogan front man Angus Carter seemingly equal parts mental and brutal. While his on-the-edge-of-sanity persona is enough to grab your interest, the group’s riff-laden song list does the rest, with more meat on the bone than your local butcher. Sadly their fleet-fingered lead guitarist is lost in the mix during lead breaks.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

When Superheist reformed in 2016, fans were suitably stoked to see the beloved metal/nu-metal band back on stages around the country. Back in the early ’00s, their albums reached into the Top 20 thanks to some cunning pop-sensibilities and excellent song writing.

So while tonight’s crowd might be there in part due to a strong sense of nostalgia, it’s not all down to their back catalogue. The set list is peppered with new tracks that are every bit as catchy and crushing as the old stuff – perhaps even more so, given their use of 8-string guitars for an even more guttural approach.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

While guitarist and brainchild DW Norton might be the only mainstay in the band from its heyday, the current line up proves full of energy and presence – particularly singer Ezekiel Ox (Mammal) who spends most of the set out in the middle of the crowd.

We’re assured that this won’t be the last Heistfest and with a line up of bands like this, we can’t wait for the next tone.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Finally, Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists launch onto the darkened stage. Calling the Cambridge main room half full would be optimistic, but those present are all enthusiastic to see the veteran four-piece in action – at times a little moshing can be seen splitting the crowd into two halves.

Around since 1994, the band’s catalogue has been consistently strong and drummer Kyle Baltus (a member since 2012) absolutely pounds the skins tonight, providing the perfect basis for some tight, intense performances. They may have been the most mainstream-sounding of the line up tonight, but there are enough punishingly heavy moments to make everyone happy.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Singer Brock Lindow must have cooked himself tonight, wearing a Parka for at least the first half of the 13-song set. His voice sounded great in the more sung parts, but proved a little raspy in the heavier sections. Guitarist Steve Holt really shined there, providing a mean roar when required.

This reviewer thinks the Cambridge has some responsibility for this gig’s small audience. With a University-oriented weekly show called ‘Sunday School’ happening from around 8pm, the venue clearly wants to have its cake and eat it too. Only problem is that they haven’t done enough to inform everyone else.

The fact that their own website listed ‘Doors at 8pm’ until mere hours before the event had to impact attendance and the bands are the ones that suffered. Otherwise it was a great show full of strong performances and you should definitely pencil in the next Heistfest for 2020.

Live Review: Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle – October 27, 2018


01 Nov

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

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First a word of advice: It can really pay to check the opening times for a gig on more than one website! Thanks to an erroneous door time listing on one ticket website, this humbled reviewer ended up missing the brutal Thy Art is Murder.

Thankfully I didn’t miss the mighty Killswitch Engage, who tonight were playing the role of main support. For some, that might seem like an odd place for a renowned international act. However, when you look out across the sold out room at NEX in Newcastle (the old Worker’s Club), it seems like a pretty shrewd move and one that will no doubt win the Massachusetts band plenty of new fans off the back of a typically super strong performance.

Formed in 1999, the band are veterans of the metalcore scene they helped create and it isn’t until you watch their full set that you remember just how many big songs they’ve had. Singer Jesse Leach is a better live singer today than he was in the band’s early days and handles the material of former singer Howard Jones with ease – which is no mean feat.

The entire group bounce around the large NEX stage with the hunger of a band still in their twenties and their tight set and road-worn professionalism will see them return Stateside with some extra record sales and downloads, for sure.

After a short break, Parkway Drive makes one hell of an entrance thanks to six concussion bombs and all the smoke machine action you would ask for. It’s just a taste of what’s to come for the capacity crowd here tonight, with the band bringing over $5000 worth of pyro, according to the pyrotechnician that ushered us off to stage left before those aforementioned explosions took place.

Indeed, Parkway could never be accused of not putting on one hell of a show. I’m pretty sure all the stage hire places in town would have been drained of their lighting rigs by looking at the stage setup here tonight. Thankfully, the musicianship lived up to the theatrics.

While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the band, I still found the whole experience too far removed from how I remember them when I last reviewed a Parkway gig in 2010. It felt like a different band to me. Despite Winston’s filthy screaming, newer material is more accessible (not a bad thing on its own), the band were all clad politely in matching black and it all seemed a little staid.

Now, I understand that a band needs to grow and evolve. These dudes aren’t the kids that took Australian (and indeed international) stages by storm over a decade ago. But that sense of danger and aggression wasn’t there. It sure as hell was in the crowd. In fact, the performance came to an abrupt halt after the fourth song in their set (‘Vice’) when an audience member was injured to the point of being stretchered out of the venue by paramedics.

After a 20 minute breather, the band launched into ‘Dedicated’ and the crowd went suitably apeshit. Realistically, if there are any grumblings in the Parkway fanbase over the group becoming the Aussie equivalent of Bring Me the Horizon or the ‘Nickelback of Deathcore’, you wouldn’t know it here tonight. It’s admittedly a tight performance, but one that felt a lot more one dimensional, with the exception of Winston himself, who clearly gave the show every ounce of strength he had.

Accuse me of resisting progress, call me stuck in the mud. I don’t mind. I just like my metal a little more dangerous. 10 points for being, by far, the biggest metal act in Australia right now, though. There isn’t another band on this continent hauling such a large production around – and you have to respect that!

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Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

LIVE MUSIC: Make Them Suffer @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – August 15, 2018


22 Aug

Make Them Suffer

Live Review: Make Them Suffer + Silent Planet + Oceans Ate Alaska + Thornhill @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Wed, August 15, 2018

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Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel has been playing host to a run of great metal shows of late. The latest gig to warm up the cold winter nights is Perth’s Make Them Suffer and despite being a mid-week show, Hunter punters turned out in their masses to witness a strong international line up of modern heaviness.

First on stage was Melbourne’s Thornhill who brought their own blend of contemporary metal styles to the proceedings. While they seemed a little self-conscious in front of the crowd, they brought with them some solid, dramatic progressions and some great, if well-worn riffage.

The UK’s Oceans Ate Alaska took to the stage in front of a half-filled room and proceeded to rampage like they were in front of a full house. Showing much more polish and cohesiveness, the five-piece boasted a great frontman in Jake Noakes, who stalked the stage with a brutal combination of screams, growls and hardcore shouts. From the blast beats, skittering riffs and finger tapping through to the breakdowns and sing-along choruses, Oceans had something for every modern metal fan and put on a very solid performance.

Perhaps the highlight of the night, LA’s Silent Planet made a big impact with their metal with a message. From themes of war and refugee welfare to mental illness, the band tore through a set that boasted metalcore at its core, but also included progressive traits for a sound that was at once mature and brutal. Singer Garrett Russell was clearly a bit of an eccentric, but that just added to the tension and sense of drama. Some fans up front looked as though they were having a religious experience.

After a short wait, headliners Make Them Suffer enjoyed a hero’s welcome to a darkened stage before they erupted into a powerful set of tracks from across their catalogue. The band were self-assured (coming straight from a sold-out show in Brisbane) and emitting a bruising energy that spilled into the crowd, where bodied flowed over the mosh barrier for the duration. At one point, singer Sean Harmanis instigated a Wall of Death, with half the audience politely obliging, no doubt causing more than a few bruises.

Currently touring on the back of their latest album Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer were taut, tight and left the Cambo audience wasted, sweaty and just a little damaged.

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Oceans Ate Alaska

Silent Planet

Thornhill

LIVE GALLERY: Polaris @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – July 21, 2018


07 Aug

POLARIS LIVE AT THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL – JULY 21, 2018
(Originally published on Lifemusicmedia.com)

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I pity any metal head in the hunter region that missed out on tonight’s show at the Cambridge Hotel. Between the four acts on show, just about any genre-loyal fanatic would have been well catered to.

While the overarching theme of the night was of a decidedly modern take on the style, from opener Junkhead‘s spasmodic Dillinger-esque riffage and Diamond Construct‘s more progressive tendencies (these guys have really matured and improved over the last few years), you’d have been smiling from ear to ear by the half way point.

By the time Sydney band Justice for the Damned took to the stage, the Cambo was completely full with an obviously friendly crowd and the five-piece wasted no time in laying waste to each and every one of them. Despite the toy dinosaurs on the stage and some members looking decidedly ‘late ’80s thrash’ in white high-tops and tucked in tees, Justice for the Damned’s blend of ridiculously heavy down-tuned grooving riffs, mixed with equal parts death and hardcore means that while they may not take themselves too seriously, their tunes aren’t to be messed with.

By the time Polaris take to the stage, the audience one big sweaty mess – despite it only being about three degrees outside. One punter has even managed to dislocate his knee in the pit – his only consolation being granted the ability to watch the remainder of the set from side stage.

For the uninformed, Sydney’s Polaris are a highly polished, modern, crushing blend of metal styles, from metalcore to deathcore with hints of progressive elements thrown in for good measure. The band’s mix of growls, screams and clean vocals really adds to the dynamic.

Bodies start falling over the barrier right from the start of the set and continue throughout the show – and anyone not breathless from the full body contact is singing every word at the top of their lungs. It’s really inspiring to see such support and enthusiasm for local music. I’ve born witness to plenty of international touring acts fail to fill the Cambo main room like this.

It was a truly amazing night of Aussie metal.

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Live Gallery and Review – Red Fang @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – May 11, 2018


30 May

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

Red Fang + Drunk Mums + Black Rheno @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Friday, May 11, 2018
Words and Pics: www.hoskingindustries.com.au

CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.Newcastle has always played host to international bands. It’s just that it has never been with the same kind of frequency of our neighbours south to Sydney. In fact, my very first proper concert experience was Pantera when they played the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on their Far Beyond Driven tour.

Still, it’s always exciting when a good international band gets booked into one of our remaining live venues. So when Red Fang announced a show at the Cambridge Hotel, you can bet this scribe had his hand up waving wildly like an excited kid at the front of the classroom with the answer to a geography question.

There is, however, always some level of trepidation when said international act is below the tier of, say, a band used to playing the big sheds and arenas. I’ve personally seen some amazing bands play to less than half full rooms and so it was that opening act Black Rheno performed to a handful of eager punters soon after the doors opened.Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

That’s a shame, too. Because the Sydney three piece (with the guitarist running a split rig that also acted as a bass, a-la White Stripes and Local H) rocked out hard with a manic set of high energy rock that was tight, but loose in all the right ways. Apparently the band has just started recording an album, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Next, the Drunk Mums looked like they’d stepped off a plane direct from the 1960s, complete with requisite ’60s axes and well-worn chord progressions. Despite the familiarity, the band brought a certain raucous sense of humour to the sound that helped make it unique. Loose, noisy and plenty of amusing between-song banter.

After a short intermission, no doubt thanks to their stripped down rigs not requiring too much setup, Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang took to the stage in front of a half-full, but very appreciative room of fans. They launched into a sweet rendition of Blood Like Cream and didn’t say too much for about three songs, when they’d clearly started to warm up a bit.

The mix tonight was nice and clear, with plenty of definition in the low end where singer/bassist Aaron Beam’s chord work could really shine. He really wields that thing like a baritone guitar and it works perfectly for Red Fang’s Sabbathian, stoner vibe.

Over what would be a 14-song set with no encore, the band wowed the enthusiastic crowd with tunes from all its previous releases, including latest disc, 2016’s Only Ghosts. They were super tight, despite the inherent fuzziness and ageless scunge that lies between all the grooves in their riffs. Oh, and how sweet their grooves and riffs are! They were certainly inspiration for all the middle-aged rockers in the audience and the DIYers out there.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018. Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

 

CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

Live Gallery: Dead Letter Circus + sleepmakeswaves @ Metro Theatre – Sydney, Dec 19, 2014


06 Jan

Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014     Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014

Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014     Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our live review and image gallery from Dead Letter Circus‘ headlining show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, supported by sleepmakeswaves on December 19, 2014. Read our review below and CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails above to see the full image gallery:

What a way to close out the gigging year: a headlining shot from Dead Letter Circus at Sydney’s venerable Metro Theatre, supported by sleepmakeswaves. Sydney’s 4-piece instrumental act sleepmakeswaves are an interesting proposition, given the lack of a front person. Yet despite the unconventional post-rock style, in the vein of recent acts like Scale the Summit and Russian Circles, the band is keeping the audience’s attention easily – not doubt via their combination of soaring crescendos and delicate, intricate twin-guitar interplay. Tonight is certainly the perfect Aussie prog’ tonic for a hard, working year.

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Live Gallery: Anathema @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – 22 August, 2014


03 Sep

Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014     Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014

Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014     Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our photo gallery and live review of UK band Anathema‘s recent Sydney show at the Metro Theatre on August 22, 2014. It was the band’s first tour to our shores in their 25-year history. You can now see both here! CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails above to see the gallery.

Spiritual. Transcendental. Spellbinding. Miraculous. That’s the best way to describe Anathema‘s first Sydney concert in their 25-year history. There’s electricity in the air and from the first bars of Untouchable Part 1, everyone can feel it – including the band themselves who are visibly stoked at the reception. (more…)

Live Gallery: Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – June 14, 2014


24 Jun

Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014     Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014

Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014     Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014

UK death metal legends Carcass returned to Australian shores in June to lay waste to Aussie audiences. Supported by Canberra’s Tortured, Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our full review and photo gallery from the show, which we can bring you here now. CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails to view the entire gallery and read the review below:

Since their formation in the mid 1980s, the UK’s Carcass has been at the forefront of the death metal movement. Even during the years of their break up in the mid-’90s through to their reformation in 2007, no other bands in the genre came close to matching the forward thinking, cutting edge metal they created on classic albums like Heartwork and Swansong.

So, it was no surprise that Sydney’s Metro Theatre should be near capacity for the band’s first tour here in over five years. Even Canberra’s Tortured played a punishing barrage of brutal death riffs to a significant crowd – although many were waiting patiently in the line up for the merch stand, with the line stretching out past the bar!

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Live Gallery: Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney – April 12, 2014


24 Apr

Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104     Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104

Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104     Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104

Lifemusicmedia.com got us into Killswitch Engage‘s headlining show at Sydney’s UNSW Roundhouse on Aparil 21, supported by Kill Devil Hill. We can now bring you our gallery of 24 images from the gig, as well as our review of the performance. CLICK HERE or on the images above to jump to the gallery:

Last time this reviewer was lucky enough to see Killswitch Engage was at what was then called the Forum at Moore Park (now the HiFi). It was a sideshow to another festival and the bill included Divine Heresy and Shadows Fall. It was a remarkable show housed within a diminutive venue when the band was fronted by the mighty Howard Jones – who, at one point in the show climbed the speaker stack and proceeded to fall into the crowd below. The anticipation level was high for tonight’s show.

Opening things up was Kill Devil Hill. The not-really-supergroup (featuring Rex Brown from Pantera and Down on bass, Johnny Kelly from Type o Negative on drums and ex-Pissing Razors singer Dewey Bragg) have some fine pedigree behind them, but veer away from their collective reference points with a driving rock and roll style dissimilar to anything from any of those three bands.

Sadly – and despite some excellent stage craft – the songs largely lack the magnetism and dynamic movement found in their former brands’ song writing. Bragg’s repeated reference to Pantera seemed a little unnecessary as well, with the band going so far as to covering ‘Mouth for War’ to close out what was an entertaining set, but one that left us wanting.

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