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.