The Living End
Author: Danielle O’Donohue
THE LIVING END
THE HI-FI: 21/11/12
Almost halfway through their epic Retrospective Tour, The Living End began the Sydney leg looking match-fit and ready to set the Hi-Fi ablaze.
Openers Even were happy to acknowledge their role as the “support band” and were aware most punters had little interest in their set, but they made sure to pick songs that contained a lot of stomp and some pretty impressive guitar licks. With a history that stretches back even further than The Living End’s own 15-year career, the Melbourne guitar-pop trio delivered their tight rock and sweet harmonies and then got out of the way. A video montage put the 2008 release of White Noise into some historical context before The Living End launched straight into the opening moments of How Do We Know?. Considering how ubiquitous White Noise’s singles became it’s easy to dismiss this album as the band’s most commercial and therefore least fiery, but played back-to-back these songs highlight the ferocity that made the record so appealing in the first place.
Raise The Alarm and White Noise may have been the hit singles, but Make The Call and Loaded Gun (surely the band’s AC/DC moment) lit the crowd up with their savage riffs and Scott Owen’s powerful bass playing. At times the mix seemed to smother frontman Chris Cheney’s vocals, normally a strong part of the live show, but there was very little to fault otherwise.
The trio – Cheney, Owen and drummer Andy Strachan – were joined by Melbourne icon Adrian Lombardi to provide additional guitar at the back and were more subdued than usual in their stage antics. Owen’s feet stayed firmly planted on the stage and there was only one Cheney scissor kick, but this tour is a mammoth undertaking for any band let alone one whose entire catalogue is played at breakneck speed. Cheney did confess to drinking a chai latte onstage when a cheeky punter suggested he scull. But even without its normally showier aspects, The Living End live experience remains one of the best Australian rock’n’roll can produce.