Breaking Orbit + Gatherer + Black Sea of Trees
The Toff in Town, Melbourne
11 July 2015
Review by Rod Whitfield
It was a little unfortunate that this was the only good venue available in Melbourne for Breaking Orbit’s album launch tour this night. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great, classy venue, but it’s not cut out for loud, powerful rock music. I had been there on three or four previous occasions, and that was for more indie rock, pop and folk acts, all of which sounded great. But for powerhouse rock music, the mix in the room was both too loud and boomy but lacking punch at the same time, and the vibe in the room was a little staid for this style of music.
Also unfortunate was the original opening act, The Soulenikoes, whom I have seen and was very impressed with, had to pull out due to illness. However, their replacements Black Sea of Trees did an absolutely sterling job in their stead, especially after having got the call up to do the gig that morning. They play a very dark, moody style of alternative rock, with very Buckley, Muse and Clint Boge influenced vocals. Although occasionally the singer lurched into more of a bluesy rock howl to add some spice to the mix.
Their closer was a real highlight too, a hard hitting, epic shuffle.
Gatherer were up next. These Kiwi lads channel their countrymen Shihad, whilst infusing it with punk attitude, distorted bass lines and some big vocal harmonies. But they really shake things up at the same time, getting kinda zany and experimental at times. Their sound and stage presence was quite bombastic, and ultimately their set was loads of fun. They deservedly received a warm reaction from the crowd this frigid Melbourne winter’s evening. These guys are a band to keep an eye on.
Time for some monumental, world class prog rock. Breaking Orbit recently released their sophomore album, and it’s an absolute masterpiece. Their usually magnificent bombast was muted slightly by the aforementioned problems inherent in this venue, with regards to its hosting of loud rock. However, their set was still highly enjoyable, with their illustrious levels of musicianship and towering songs still coming to the fore, and the percussive mayhem they inject into their set is always a highlight.
Apparently they are touring again before the end of the year. Hopefully the choice of venue is more appropriate, the weather is better and this underrated band get the crowd and sound that they so richly deserve.