Blunt - - Live! -

The Bald Faced Stag, Syd­ney 13/06/2014

Two shows from the end of the all but sold out Earth­walker tour (in sup­port of the head­liner’s re­cent third al­bum of the same name), it was no sur­prise to find the mad­ness of this five-band bill well trod­den and es­tab­lished by now.

Mount Gam­bier’s Sierra made the most of their open­ing slot, with large thanks to a truly amaz­ing front­man who had dropped the mic be­fore say­ing a word into it, and pro­ceeded to use the lead more as a leash for the rest of the set as he prowled the floor. The band dished up post-hard­core with enough ring­ing chords to al­low gui­tarist-pumped fists over the work­horse drum­ming.

A se­ries of tech screw-ups meant that for all their en­ergy, End­less Heights were only patchily au­di­ble for the first few songs of their set. By the time “Mo­saic” rolled around the kinks were ironed out and the band took flight – the tim­ing could not have been bet­ter, the fruitier dual gui­tar work of the bridge hit­ting par­tic­u­larly hard as all pieces of the puzzle fi­nally fell in place. These fruitier and slower mo­ments show them mak­ing steps to­wards de­con­struct­ing the genre on show on the night and mak­ing it very much their own.

The sole in­ter­na­tion­als on the tour, Cal­i­for­nia’s Be­ing As An Ocean opened with a po­lite in­tro­duc­tion and rapidly fol­lowed with a break­down. De­liv­er­ing an em­pow­er­ing brand of hard­core, a manic Joel Quar­tuc­cio turned the stage into a soap­box with his talk-singing tee­ter­ing. While new drum­mer Con­nor Den­nis shined, an­other re­cent re­cruit, Michael McGough, seems to have a lit­tle too much on his plate, un­able to sing clean while play­ing his in­stru­ment; ev­ery cho­rus dropped to a sin­gle gui­tar.

Kick­ing off with “The World In Front Of Me” from last year’s Love­less al­bum, Dream On Dreamer an­nounced their ar­rival to the stage by, seem­ingly, turn­ing ev­ery­thing in reach up to 11. While the deaf­en­ing lev­els came at the cost of nearly any subtlety, the wash of in­dis­crim­i­nate noise un­de­ni­ably heaved the crowd into ac­tion. It is a nice change for the oblig­a­tory clean singing to now be in tune, and Zachary Britt even man­ages to do so while play­ing gui­tar no less. Also sport­ing a new drum­mer (a last minute fill in was re­quired as Dream On Dreamer drum­mer Aaron Fiocca was hos­pi­talised a week out from tour due to cancer, tonight’s ren­di­tion of “Hope” par­tic­u­larly rous­ing as a re­sult), de­spite the short no­tice he dom­i­nated tonight’s set – a bril­liant sound­ing kit of­ten all that was dis­cernible aside from vo­cals in a set that drew heav­ily on Love­less, but also fea­tured a new song pre­miered on this tour. “Hear Me Out”, with its R’n’B cho­rus, made the Stag feel more like a club than a gig, but one that was go­ing off, and per­haps best cap­tures the rhyth­mic con­trol Dream On Dreamer dis­play over their au­di­ence.

The night’s head­lin­ers In Hearts Wake did an even bet­ter job than Dream On Dreamer of com­bin­ing the two in­con­gru­ent el­e­ments, turn­ing the Stag in turns into a dance club and a hard­core gig. Echo­ing many of the pol­i­tics es­poused by Quar­tuc­cio – the power we pos­sess, the im­por­tance of the scene, of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, of pos­i­tive change – front­man Jake Tay­lor had an al­most seam­less per­for­mance, the dif­fer­ence be­ing no one had ac­cess to his per­sonal wire­less mi­cro­phone – he cer­tainly wasn’t about to of­fer it up for crowd par­tic­i­pa­tion – and things shouldn’t be that “Sa­cred” at a show with­out a bar­rier, should they?

in hearts wake




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