The Living End

Author: Chloe Papas

The Growl / Gryoscope DJs
Rosemount Hotel
Sunday, November 4, 2012

Despite the awful weather, The Rosemount was packed out from the get-go on Sunday night, gig-goers abuzz with anticipation, huddling near the heaters with a brew before the doors opened. A passer-by would hear snippets of excited conversation: punters sharing their favourite songs, albums, and live moments from one of the bands that defined a generation of rockers.

Gryoscope DJs kicked things off and got the crowd’s blood pumping with a set – an odd choice for DJs, but it worked. They pulled out all the Aussie rock classics, from Chisel to ACDC to more Chisel, and the crowd loved it.

The Growl fronted up next, taking to the stage with little ado. Though the six-piece have the ability to pull a massive crowd at their headline shows, it wasn’t exactly their kind of crowd on Sunday night, and it took a while to get everyone warmed up. Nonetheless, the group put on a stellar set, showing off their new material as well as the old dirty blues songs that put them on the radar.

The main event began a little differently than anticipated, with a short video depicting some of the main events in Australia in the early 2000s, some footage of The Living End recording and performing Roll On, plus the story of Cheney’s car accident in 2001, and their consequent break. It was a perfect opener, a reminder of what we were all there for – an album that, while sometimes overlooked, can hold its own in the back catalogue of The Living End.

The band bounded on stage to the roars of what sounded like thousands of people (but in reality, was a few hundred), and launched straight into Roll On, the crowd echoing the chorus, the band in fine form. The trio kicked off their Retrospective Tour in Perth, so this gig was their first time playing the Roll On album live all the way through – and they absolutely smashed it. Each and every song was tight, Chris Cheney killing the solos, Scott Owen making sweet musical love to the bass, and Andy Strachan gettin’ all sweaty behind the kit – they may have aged a little since they first wrote the record, and according to Cheney they “don’t smoke anymore,” but they still rock, hard. Carry Me Home and Silent Victory were particular standouts.

The camaraderie amongst those on the ground and onstage was magnificent. It’s tough to find a crowd where every single person is there for the band, no dickheads or haters allowed – but this was it, and the band knew it. Cheney and Owen bantered with the rowdy crowd like they were trading insults at a bar with old mates, and that’s part of The Living End appeal – no wanky-ness allowed. The trio finished on a song that, as Cheney shouted: “We never ever play,” – Uncle Harry – and the crowd completely lost it. It’s quite an experience to be part of a few-hundred-people strong crowd screaming ‘pissing in the bath’ with such fervour. To the guys and gals who dyed their hair red, to the dudes in the flat caps, to those who gelled their hair into Cheney-spikes and mohawks, to the punters dedicated enough to wear the signature studded armband, to those who bought four t-shirts and wore them proudly – you fucking rule. Roll on.