Gaelic Theatre, Sydney
November 5, 2010
Supports: Trial Kennedy, Black Devil Yard Boss, Arts Martial
Review by Sam Radojcin
Opening the evening were Perth indie rockers Arts Martial. They were a late addition and many of the punters had still not filed inside. It may have been a bit discouraging, but being the professionals they are, Arts Martial plugged away with material that sounded reminiscent to Bloc Party. As more people came in, they started to get a warmer response which would have no doubt made the trip worth it.
Next up were Melbournian power trio Black Devil Yard Boss. For those who don’t know, BDYB was formed out of the ashes of popular Australian band Mammal and features two members of said band so I was not sure what to expect. What we got was a “half hour of raw power” courtesy of some dirty blues rock delivered with power and intensity. Tracks like "One Dead Letter" and "Black Devils Rising" really come alive in the live setting. Overall, BDYB were pretty damn tight. Frontman Pete Williamson (sporting a Dave Grohlesque look) sang while pulling off some sweet guitar licks and even soloed away behind his back, bassist Big D kept the groove going and drummer Zane Rosanoski amazed with his insane drum skills. Expect bigger things from BDYB down the road.
Following a band like Black Devil Yard Boss would not be an easy feat and Melbourne alternative rockers Trial Kennedy had that honour. These guys seemed like the dark horse of the bill and having seen them before, I was not sure how they would go down with this crowd. Well, their musical stylings and their enthusiastic stage performance (mostly from guitarist Stacey Gray) got the crowd going and incited an healthy moshpit. Sure, they weren’t the heaviest band on the bill, but they did their job very well – getting the crowd ready for the headliner.
By this time, The Gaelic was considerably packed from wall to wall and everyone seemed excited for what was to come. After a bit of a lengthy delay, the lights dimmed and Shihad hit the stage and opened with "The Final Year of the Universe", the first track from their latest release Ignite. Throughout the next 70+ minutes, the band stormed through with more energy and passion than most of their contemporaries can do nowadays. Frontman Jon Toogood was everywhere, despite being sick. He still gave the crowd a hell of a show: going up to the balcony, playing on the roof above the sounddesk and scaling the PA stack. Needless to say, the venue's security looked a bit worried. Bassist Karl Kippenburger was all smiles while thumping away, guitarist Phil Larkin provided the riffs (and the odd keyboard parts) and drummer Tom Larkin kept the machine running precisely.
As this was the Ignite tour, the bulk of the set covered the new album and the new stuff goes down pretty well live. Ignite was represented by "Lead or Follow", the ominous electronically tinged "Sleepeater", "Ignite", "I'm a Void", "This Lonely Fire" and anthemic rocker "Engage". Not being ones to ignore their past, Shihad also delivered plenty from their back catalogue - "My Mind's Sedate", "Comfort Me", "Run", "The General Electric", "Envy", "Semi-Normal", "Pacifier" and "Rule the World". The crowd were more than happy to provide vocals whenever prompted and the band seemed genuinely happy from the response.
Shihad proved once again why they are one of the best live touring acts from Australia / New Zealand and I am sure if you asked the majority of people in attendance as they were filing out the door they would gladly agree.