It had been a big week. I’d shed blood, sweat and tears personally and professionally. Our daughter Sophie came with me as my partner in crime.
I didn’t see a medical professional, but if I did, a strong dose of metal was what the doctor would have ordered.
Void Matter started the shenanigans and they opened with intensity. Their style featured surprising shifts in vocals and sound showing that they aren’t a one trick pony – heavy as Hell one moment, melodic and uplifting the next. It seems that the roller coaster of their sound matched my week… The crowd really loved this band. They were pumped from the very beginning and for good reason. Void Matter used their two vocalists to great effect. Both had an exquisite range of styles, that shifted and morphed. It’s not that one growls and the other counters with melody – they both fulfilled those roles at different times. What’s resulted was me being sucked into seeing who was singing what and how. It was cleverly orchestrated, with many surprising harmonies resulting. Void Matter are 5 pieces of solidarity that obviously love what they do. Two guitars, one bass, a drummer and a vocalist that sounded like so much more. Their infectious enthusiasm had the punters singing to their anthems. As the set went on they become more and more dishevelled, a physical example of their desire to leave nothing behind. They head banged along with the crowd as we got lost in their music. Towards the end we were told, “This one’s fucking hard to play, but it’s FUN!” Amen to that! Sophie’s take? They made the tempo their bitch!
Piston Fist continued the metal medicine with their sound that defies belief. Raw and emotive, their thick sound penetrated the room. This band was tight – each instrument melded into each other and added to the collective sound to form a full sound. The engagement of Piston Fist with the crowd was obvious from the very beginning – they were pleased to be here, pleased to connect with the punters. As I watched the vocalist, sweat rolled down his face, a tangible reminder that he was here to give his all for his craft. We were sweating too – dancing and head banging along with abandon. Sweat… like my week… The vocals were strong and gravelled – like concrete, with gravel being the basis for something strong and significant that will stand the test of time. The lead guitar work was technically impressive and effortlessly sublime and the percussion was penetrating as always. Piston Fist’s narratives between between songs are always appreciated – it engenders a personal connection with the band and with the songs. The music is one thing – the connection another. At one point the band members all had their eyes closed, lost in the moment. You sensed their deep connection to their art. They closed with “Black Rain”, reminding us to check on your mate. This is metal with a social conscience. Sophie’s take? It’s good to see ZZTop and that guy from Metallica have found something to do in their spare time.
At this point, my week was washing away. I wandered over the bar, as keeping hydrated is important. On the way I bumped into two members of the next band, New Clear Vision, separately. Both spoke to me about having had a big week and looking forward to the gig to wash that all away.
Wait, what? Isn’t that why I’m here too?
New Clear Vision’s brand of post apocalyptic metal could withstand radiation and will outlive the cockroach. They opened with their usual sample of a news report warning of a nuclear event. This intensity set the tone for the shenanigans and they didn’t let up. They spoke of it being hot on the stage and that their sweat was sweating! Wait… Sweat again? Wait… there are blood stains on the Hazmat suits… All we need now is the tears… Their high energy metal soon created a vortex that sucked us in. The crowd were drawn towards the stage by the music and NCV’s stagecraft kept us there. Of late NCV have ramped up the number of gigs and their off stage efforts. It showed with a set that forceful and tight. When I see a band multiple times, I worry that they will trot out the same offering for each gig. Not NCV – they manage to take the same effects and spin them in new ways. They are not content to rest on their laurels. This was metal of the working class folks, with a broad-based appeal that also challenged the fabric of society – much as a nuclear holocaust would. Brad, the vocalist, was enigmatic and was exhausting to watch. I had a smile at the Jaws shirt that he was wearing, as he displayed predatory behaviour as he prowled the stage. Sophie’s take? I wish the set was as long as Brad’s dreads!
I spoke to Brad later and asked if he wanted to share anything. He encouraged us all to get along to Psycho Circus – in Brisbane and Sydney on the 23rd and 24th of November. Get on it!
Tai Sui closed out the evening. This was my first time seeing them and I was transfixed by their intricate sound and often syncopated resonance. The lead vocalist had a piercing stare that drew the crowd in and her sublime voice signalled that we were witnessing something special. She explained that she had the flu and that the Neurofen was just kicking in. This didn’t get in the way of her performance – it was emotional and transfixing, displaying undeniable professionalism. Their sound had a riveting musicality that moves parts of your body that previously had cobwebs. It was honest music performed with particular passion, strong and cogent, with occasional backing that added considerable depth. Their esprit de corps was infectious and we were lost in their sound. This is a band that is all at once robust, intricate, simple and sublime. Sophie’s take? This is rare metal – the more you engage, the more you get from it.
All too soon the evening was over. We were part of a crowd that was well behaved and were there to be enriched.
I’d like to think that we all had a big week and were there for some metallic medicine, band members included.
On the way out, my daughter and I embraced. I shed a tear. This was exactly what I needed.
Blood, sweat and tears…