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Devildriver, Whitechapel Live @ 170 Russell, Melbourne

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They say Sunday is the day of rest.

But try telling that to Devildriver, Whitechapel and the hundreds of fans who most likely snubbed a Father’s Day dinner and packed in to the place formerly known as Billboard (what’s up with the street address name change?) for two and half hours of ferocious American metal last night. With Melbourne the final stop of the tour after back to-back shows in Brisbane and Sydney, you could maybe forgive the bands if they were slightly tired. Did they show it? Hell no.

Guitarist Alex Wade told us that Whitechapel were keen to “make up a few of those shows for the fans” after their last-minute cancellation for Soundwave this year – and boy did the punters lap it up. Kicking into gear with the title track from their latest album Our Endless War – there were metalheads throwing themselves all over the dancefloor until closing track ‘Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence’. Despite looking like angrier splitting image of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, frontman Phil Bozeman shuffled around the stage with serious intent, whilst the remaining band members also belted out their parts with force.

It would take a brave act to follow the might of Whitechapel, but try telling that to a titan of the metal scene like Devildriver. Led by the charisma and passion of Dez Fafara, the much-loved Californian rockers piled out a fine assortment of tracks across their six studio albums. They also filled their crowd interaction quota comfortably, with Fafara giving plenty of high fives to fans on the barrier (and the crowdsurfers) when he wasn’t screaming into his flashing microphone. Guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Jeff Kendrick and bassist Chris Towning didn’t disappoint either, constantly posing, headbanging and shouting the lyrics to the crowd.

Aside from all the fight circles and brilliant stage presence, a standout moment of the night was Fafara retracing his time “living under bridges” as a teenage runaway, and how music got him through. Cue plenty of roars and hometown anthem ‘Clouds Over California’ to send the place nuts, before they closed things out in style with ‘Ruthless’ and ‘Meet The Wretched’.

There was no encore from the band as Fafara declared: “we’re not rockstars, we don’t do that shit”. Well Dez, you might wanna re-think your stance soon – cause you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the room who would agree that you’re not worthy of that status after such a polished display.

Photos By Michelle Bateman

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