Forum Theatre is packed to the brim with anticipation for Australia’s punk rock masters, The Living End. Kicking things off for tonight’s sold out show is Melbourne punk outfit 131’s who do a great job of warming up the staunch crowd. Lead singer Luke Yeoward looks like he’s straight out of London’s Camden Town: bright red mohawk, tatts and chains. It’s an explosive mix of pop melodies and punk rock riffs and the heavy influence of the headliners is apparent throughout this opening band’s set.
Garage-punk quartet Bad//Dreems stumble onto the stage with their loose antics and pub-rocker attitude, which proves a sharp contrast to their tight instrumental work. Even though lead singer Ben Marwe’s harsh diction is unclear at times, he makes up for it with the way his vocals bend around the alternative riffs. They sound like a rough version of The Clash with some ‘90s Seattle rock elements blended in.
The lights dim and we hear a guitar lick from the shadows, which sets off frantic cheers and flailing limbs. Through the haze of smoke, Chris Cheney jumps out and runs straight to the mic, busting out recent single Monkey as we jump around like we’re back in high school. The Living End are explosive in their performance and it’s easy to see why this band has attracted a deafening buzz around them for decades. New songs from their latest album Shift are interwoven through a thunderous set of classic, road-hardened hits. You don’t need to be a fan to know which songs are the new ones; they stick out not only in sound but also in crowd participation. New track Staring Down The Barrel is a modern and evolved take on their signature sound. We soak up the new stompin’ tunes and rock out to the enormous hit catalogue in full nostalgic singalong mode. All the favourites such as All Torn Down, Pictures In The Mirror, White Noise are thrown in and Cheney’s non-stop riffage mesmerises. The powerhouse trio rips out Second Solution and the crowd turns into a frenzied singalong, while Scott Owen jumps up onto the ridge of his double bass, mid-song, and strums from this new angle with ease. We go mental for Prisoner Of Society and sing a whole chorus without Cheney having to chime in.
All good things must come to an end and we lap up the two song encore, How Do We Know and West End Riot. Cheney leaps onto Owen’s bass and belts out a guitar solo while balancing up on the instrument. Back behind the mic, Cheney teases the crowd with a version of Born To Be Wild before cutting it at the chorus. “No, we’re not doing it!” he says and finishes the set with one more chorus of West End Riot. We’re blown away, not for the first time and hopefully not for the last.
Even the coldest day of year, snowing in some non alpine regions of the state, couldn’t put a dampener on The Living End’s last show on the Melbourne leg of The Shift Tour. Luckily, the sold out Forum was heated and the beer was flowing.
The 131s are a newly formed Melbourne punk group. Seeming chuffed to be there, the sleeve disliking boys arrived on stage, ready to warm up the frostbite riddled crowd. Lead singer Luke Yeoward has a near perfect voice for this level of punk, gritty enough that you believe he’s lived through some shit, yet also melodic enough to give the songs real emotional power. By the end of the set the guys had the crowd chanting along, well and truly won over.
Adelaide boys Bad//Dreems took to the stage and, after letting table 54 know their chips were ready, the familiar sounds of new single Hiding To Nothing started up. Not really knowing what to expect from these guys really made them all the more impressive to see. With the audience decidedly warmed up by now, it was time to welcome the reason everyone had braved the cold in the first place.
On tour to promote their latest album Shift, The Living End kicked things off with their new single Monkey, quickly followed by the much older hit Second Solution. “It’s been nearly 20 years, don’t pretend you don’t know the words,” joked lead singer and guitarist Chris Cheney.
Through the course of the set the boys pulled out a widespread mix of tunes from their vast discography. There were lesser known tracks like Hold Up and all time classics like West End Riot and Uncle Harry. No matter if you’re a diehard fan or a casual one, The Living End always deliver incredible high-energy shows.
LOVED: The almost riot that broke out in the pit during Prisoner of Society. HATED: Lack of VB related guitar antics. DRANK: and drank and drank.
One of Australia’s greatest living rock bands, The Living End, proved they’ve still got it Saturday night as they tore up the Enmore Theatre stage to launch their latest album Shift.
Ahead of the headliners were tattooed Melbournian punk rockers 131’s. A band still in its infancy, it’s clear that these guys are starting to build some real momentum, with hits like This Ain’t Culture. Adelaide rockers Bad//Dreems followed and brought a bevy of groupies with them.
But, it wasn’t until Chris Cheney, Scott Owen, and Andy Strachan took the stage that shit really got loose. There was a significant shift in atmosphere as soon as the boys struck their first chord, surrounded by a dramatic smoke and lights display, sending the crowd into a state of mayhem.
Cheney riled up the crowd, saying: “It’s time for the people on the floor to put on a little show for the people upstairs. You’ve only got one life so make it count — you’re at a fucking rock’n’roll show so go nuts.”
And the crowd obeyed as an aggressive mosh pit broke out in the centre of the floor and didn’t let up until the boys struck their final chord.
As bodies were flying and people were crowd surfing to the sounds of Second Solution, a man in a black hoodie managed to get his way up onto the stage to dance beside Strachan, completely unbeknownst to the securiy guard directly in front of him.
While there was no denying the crowds enthusiasm for the classic The Living End songs from their youth, songs from new album Shift had darkness and a rawness that had the crowd going wild.
The guys finished the night with an encore of How Do We Know, West End Riot and Carry Me Home, with Cheney delivering an impressive guitar rift while balancing on Owen’s double bass.