The Living End – Festival Hall

Author: Jesse Shrock

The Living End, how much does thee rock? With the opening songs, we could count the ways; There’s the rapid-fire punk of Second Solution, the Reggae-infused I Can’t Give You What I Haven’t Got, and the pop-rock perfection of Who’s Gonna Save Us?

There’s no mistaking how much this city loves TLE, and in a venue the size of Festival Hall, the home-crowd vibe is a very tangible thing. For Save The Day, Chris had only just finished asking for his fellow Melbournians’ vocal support, (because of his sore throat) when, about five seconds into the song, the PA cut out. Sure enough, in a beautifully symbolic gesture, the crowd swelled in over the band’s monitors with vocals that, if they didn’t literally save the day, certainly saved the song!

The instant punk classics of TLE;s debut album are still, and will probably always be, their biggest crowd-shakers. But the latest string the band has added to its bow – the ability to write politically charged slow-burners – has really added a depth of passion to their live set, making it more than just a mosh-fest.

The addition of the Hunters & Collectors horn section for One Step Behind and No Way Out generated enough intensity to at least temporarily stop any pining for the loss of Midnight Oil.

Though their set was entirely bereft of weak points, the band can actually take more pride in what was left out – One Said To The Other, Pictures In The Mirror and others – than what was included. For it means there are now so many hits in TLE’s catalogue that even a 100-minute set cannot accommodate them all!

Even putting aside their astounding musicianship, (showcased tonight with an awesome rockabilly jam) there are few bands more on the pulse of the common punter – their humour, hopes and frustrations – than TLE. After pounding to a close with blue-collar anthems old and new (Long Live The Weekend and Roll On), with a little segue into gleefully vulgar ockerism (Uncle Harry), it was revealed they finally had a lighters-in-the-air number in their repertoire with the smouldering encore of Wake Up.

For this song, the projector screen displayed the words; “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth is an act of revolution – George Orwell” Well, the truth as I see it is that The Living End are Melbourne’s finest rock export, bar none.

The Living End

Author: Dave Hayes

The Living End
Hordern Pavillion, Entertainment Precinct

Guitars played above heads; a punchy barrage of noise and a sea of jostling, swirling bodies, Perth four-piece Gyroscope united a few thousand individuals into a cohesive crowd with moody and often raucus guitar-driven rock. Whilst singer and guitarist Daniel Saunders apparently suffered with a broken hand, he lead the band with a tight and aggressive set including a riff-heavy version of Fast Girl. It’s understandably loud and full of energy, an irresistible invitation to pay attention.

For over 10 years Melbourne three-piece The Living End has rocked stages around the country armed with only a guitar, double bass, drum-kit and noggins crammed with rockabilly party tunes. Their shows are legendary. This reviewer remembers his first-ever live show – a Living End concert at the Enmore in the mid-nineties. Afraid that we’d end up squashed like gum to the floor in the mosh pit, a schoolmate’s parents booked tickets for the Enmore balcony. Although feeling a little cheated by being able to see the action but not actually participate, the gig still remains one of my most memorable live experiences.

And tonight, a new generation of young fans melded with the old inside a toasty Hordern Pavilion. Many things haven’t changed. Scott Owen still pulls off his trick of simultaneously playing the double bass whilst precariously balancing off the side of it. And Chris Cheney is simply an amazing guitarist as he cockily struts across the stage, dropping infinite solos.

Members of the three-piece horn section from Hunters and Collectors joined the Living End on a number of occasions through the set. At times the horns are masked behind Andy Strachan’s hard-hitting percussion. Yet when the band’s volume drops and the horns are allowed their own solo – such in One Step Behind – they offer a poignant contrast to the Living End’s normal forceful sound.

All Torn Down, dedicated to live music venues that have closed their doors over the years, insights and immaculate guitar and bass battle between Cheney and Owen. They stand face-to-face and take turns playing solos, eventually increasing the tempo and uniting in a convoluted wall of bass and guitar noise. Then there’s moody bass and a percussive thump of Wake Up off the band’s album of this year, State Of Emergency. As on the album, the song grows with volume and energy, with voices from the room eventually chanting the chorus behind Cheney’s own voice.

Naturally, hits such as Prisoner Of Society and Second Solution appear in the set. It hardly would have mattered if they didn’t. With or without the hits, The Living End is simply an addictive live band.


Author: Kate Sweeney

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre: 13.05.06

There is a definite rock’n’roll vibe in the air at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight – and not just on stage, either. A steady stream of all-ages punters – showing definite signs of a recent raid on their older siblings’ punk accessories collections – are gradually filling the Great Hall in anticipation of the first support act, Melbourne’s Kisschasy.

Sporting a very striking head of hot pink hair, vocalist Darren Cordeaux dives headfirst into a set dedicated entirely to rock. From ‘Face Without A Name’ to ‘United Paper People’, there is hardly a moment for the enthusiastic mosh pit to catch their breath. By the time they have reached their last track – crowd favourite ‘Do-Do’s and Whoa-Oh’s’ – Cordeaux is so overtaken by it all that he launches his guitar across the stage and leaps forward into the mosh pit. His pink head bobbing above the crowd is a sight to behold.

For many other bands this would have been a hard act to follow, but Perth band Gyroscope take it all in their stride and maintain the momentum. From their opener ‘Doctor Doctor’ onwards, the crowd is completely absorbed, and ‘Beware Wolf’, ‘Take This For Granted’ and ‘Dream Vs. Scream’ are set highlights. When they remind the crowd that the main act is still to come, it probably comes as a shock to the die-hard Living End fans to realize they need that reminder – such is the caliber of performance that Gyroscope have provided.

But when The Living End arrive on stage, enveloped in atmospheric lights and sounds, the mood in the hall reaches a new high. The stage is transformed into a theatre for a production that takes all elements of showmanship into account. After a surprisingly early appearance of current radio hit ‘What’s On Your Radio’ as their stunning opener, the threesome wind their way through an impressive back-catalogue of punkabilly anthems. From ‘Who’s Gonna Save Us?’, to ‘All Torn Down’, to ‘Uncle Harry’, there is not a solitary tune that doesn’t make every face light up with recognition.

With a guest horn section provided by members of Hunters & Collectors, the show is an instrumental delight also – and during ‘We Want More’ there is a revelatory moment: you haven’t seen a rock gig until you’ve seen Scott Owen standing on the side of his double bass while playing it like an absolute madman. This is musical mastery.

The standout moment, predictably, is the performance of ‘Prisoner of Society’ – but there are so many standout moments that it is an injustice to focus on any one. This truly is a show to tell the grandchildren about one day – rock’n’roll for the new millennium. Smart rock, with a punk heart.

The Living End/Gyroscope/Kisschasy

Author: Matt Vesely

Thebarton Theatre
Wed 17 May

You know what’s bizarre? The fact that some people find those hairless cats cute. You know what else’s bizarre? The feeling I got when watching Kisschasy open up the show tonight. Despite the fact I really like their Weezer-influenced form of pop-punk, and despite the fact that their set tonight was tight and energetically performed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was back at my year 5 disco. Maybe it was frontman Darren Cordeux’s pink hair; maybe it was the fact that tonight’s set lacked the edginess of previous Kisschasy shows; or maybe, maybe, it was the fact that I was surrounded by screaming teenage girls going “do-do and whoa-oh!” Go figure.

Then things changed. Things got edgier, things got more crowded. It doesn’t matter how many times I see them – every time I catch a Gyroscope show, I love them just that little bit more. Despite Daniel Sanders’ broken arm, the Perth punk-rockers put on a hell of a show, yet again. If you haven’t seen Gyroscope play live before, go as soon as you can. And if you have seen Gyroscope play…then go again. Tonight their frenetic set was book-ended by classics Doctor Doctor and Safe Forever, but focused mainly on latest record ‘Are You Involved?’ – and with good reason; the longer the record’s been out, the tighter the new, more complex songs become – Dream Vs Scream being the highlight of the ‘Scope’s set tonight.

If you’re trying to impress this reviewer (which I’m sure was all that was on Chris Cheney’s mind tonight), then you’re automatically in trouble when you’re following Gyroscope. But The Living End succeeded. The floorboards trembled as the sold out crowd gave it all they had, from the barrier to the stands. Opening with What’s On Your Radio and backed by a frenetic animated backdrop, Melbourne’s finest blasted their way through an epic two-hour set. Nobody can accuse this punk band of lacking musical talent – Cheney’s guitar playing is mesmerising, and the rhythm section of double-bass player Scott Owen and drummer Andy Strachan drove every song straight into the back of every punter’s skull. It was oldies like Prisoner Of Society and a thumping medley of first CD-EP ‘Hellbound’ that really got the crowd moving, but songs from this year’s ‘State Of Emergency’, given a touch of class by the presence of the horn section from Hunters & Collectors, were equally impressive. Obscure and sprawling The Room seemed an odd choice for the encore – the crowd was just too exhausted by then to take the long-player in. But, by rounding things off with West End Riot, The Living End ensured that every all-ages concert-goer in the room left with a smile on their face.

The Living End / Gyroscope / Kisschasy

Author: Bianca Valentino

BCC Sat May 13

Victoria’s Kisschasy and Western Australia’s Gyroscope supported tonight. Kisschasy won over the crowd with their pop rock sensibilities playing songs from United Paper People while Gyroscope, who are no stranger to supporting The Living End – the band playing nationwide on TLE’s Modern Artillery tour in 2003 – ripped it up with their experimental yet catchy rock. Singles Fast Girl and Safe Forever were highlights of their set.

The Living End are a force to be reckoned with, and tonight’s sold out show testament to the fact that they are one of Australia’s finest. They opened with the first single from their latest album, State Of Emergency, What’s On your Radio? The crowd bouncing from word go!

Next up was Second Solution featuring a slightly loungey breakdown which had the crowd clapping along while guitar hero Chris Cheney involved the audience in a spot of call and response for the chorus. Cheney then informed the crowd “There won’t be much talking tonight just lots of rock & roll” which they delivered with next song I Can’t Give You What I Haven’t Got, followed by Who’s Going To Save Us, Save The Day and the stomping We Want More. Don’t Stop What You’re Doing (No Way Out) bought the tempo and intensity down a notch enough for everyone to catch a breather, then Monday had everyone bouncing again. One Step Behind saw two thirds of Hunters & Collectors join TLE in the form of a horn section. Black Cat was played for all the rockabilly cats in the audience – which aren’t too many these days. All Torn Down keep the energy going followed by a medley of songs off their Hellbound, For Your Own good and first EP – a nice surprise that worked well. Prisoner Of Society, Till The End, Wake Up, Long Live The Weekends, Uncle Harry and Roll On finishing up the set with the band returning for an encore which included the jewel in their punk rock crown, West End Riot. The Living End still one of Australia’s best punk rock bands ever!