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.