For years, this was a night I had been waiting for, and judging by the massive grins on every other face in the line outside The Metro, they too had been anticipating the first August Burns Red headlining tour of Australia. I’ve previously described them as the band we’ve grown to love from afar, having only played Sydney two times previously in the space of 4 albums. Though tonight they were going to be right in front of us for the first time since No Sleep Til Festival with fellow scene legends Blessthefall and with local support repped awesomely by Shinto Katana and Northlane.
It feels as though I’ve been seeing Shinto Katana live since I was yay high. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but my point is that they are still awesome, and brought the crowd in early. It was great to see how well the audience received Shinto’s mosh metal; these kids just totally love it. You could tell from this point that it was going to be a good night. Next up was Northlane, who are becoming a very difficult band not to notice. Having seen them totally nail it with their support slot for Parkway, I witnessed again the relatively young band totally dominate. While their music draws from a number of influences (Djent, metalcore, etc) it just sounds totally brutal live. If I haven’t said it already, I’ll say it now: these guys are totally a band to keep your eye on.
With the crowd chanting their name, Blessthefall came out with total style. With drummer Matt Traynor smashing out the beat to their intro track, the rest of the band followed suit — entering in time with the music, instruments in hand — and shit just got wild. With their latest album Awakening, the setlist was well laid out with tracks both new and old. They rarely seemed to slow down the pace of their set, which was rad; the kids in the pit were having a total blast. Their guitarist has to be one of the toughest guys with red hair I’ve ever seen. What had already been a dynamic live performance was taken to new levels with the introduction of the never-before-seen Sprinkler Of Death, which comprised 100 bottles of water distributed through the crowd, held in the air with the bottle caps off and spun around madly in time with the song. The result of which was insane; before tonight I had no idea what it would look like to be indoors and in torrential rain at the same time — now I do. That was simply one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen live.
It was now that I started to worry: hopefully none of these bands would outclass August Burns Red. Sure, I’d never admit it, but deep down, if it happened, I would have noticed; though about 6 seconds into their opening track Empires, it was obvious why these guys are one of the best in the world. The setlist was full of crowd favourites: Internal Cannon, which went down a treat with their salsa cross throwdown that was going on in the pit; White Washed; and Indonesia — they played a massive set. If they didn’t play at least one of your favourite August Burns Red songs, then you need to go back and do some more research. Your Little Suburbia In Ruins was the only reference to their much older material, choosing tracks predominately of Constellations and Leveler. Though Truth Of A Liar, Backburner and Composure (which featured a very, very….very, lucky kid named Chris – I think it was Chris – who was pulled out of the crowd seemingly at random and got the opportunity to play the whole of Composure on bass on stage) represented the missing link, Messengers, very nicely. Oh, and not to mention the orchestrated crowd surf involving two dudes from each side of the venue crowd surfing from one wall to the other, high-fiving in the middle ‘like it ain’t no thing’.
This was more than just a live show, this was a total performance. A hefty dose of natural showmanship, running around, onstage antics and some strangely mesmerising dance moves — mixed with plenty of crowd banter — created an amazing atmosphere to watch live music. Though, sorry to be ‘that guy,’ but holding up a sign which read ‘Kony 2012’ seemed to hit a really bad key with the majority of the crowd. Those sorts of things don’t go down well in Australia, but they handled the ‘booing’ well, with frontman Jake Luhrs explaining he ‘just wanted to see how we would react”. C’mon man, it’s not the time or place.
The set was interluded with a drum solo from Matt Griener, which was so amazing it deserves a paragraph all on its own. The double kick was fast to begin with but only seemed to get faster and faster. If you’ve seen Griener’s solos before, you would have recognised some of the fills. He sure is very stiff, but the dude knows drums.
What an amazing show! It was full of talent, style and awesome music. Anyone who missed this show truly missed out and has no one to blame but themselves. We never get shows like this; get on this shit while we can! Given August Burns Red’s track record with touring here, it’s going to be a while before those who missed out get another chance. Sorry!