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