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Gig Review: Cancer Bats + supports, Melbourne

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Cancer Bats + High Tension + Jack the Stripper
The Bendigo Hotel
24 September 2015
Review by Callum Doig

Canada’s very own hardcore punk enthusiasts Cancer Bats are no strangers to the Australian shores. Having made many appearances in the country since 2007 from supporting Bullet For My Valentine to being part of Soundwave, the hard-quartet returned for a number of headlining shows with the support of Melbournian punk metal group High Tension.

Joining the line-up for the evening were Melbournian locals Jack the Stripper who recently supported The Dillinger Escape Plan in August. This being my second time seeing them, it was another killer 30-minute show I saw of the band. Jack the Stripper deserved their opening slot for the headlining act, for their enthralling onstage frenzy performance. Frontman Luke Frizon had moments of getting right into other people’s faces during the show, throwing himself into the pit and encourage the peerage of the venue to come closer and mosh, and even had his mic pulled out of the speakers once during the set.

High Tension were the only band I knew the most about at that gig. And man, whenever I reviewed these guys, they always put on an intense half hour set. This was also the first time I ever got to see the band perform with their new guitarist Mike Deslandes, so I was keen to see how he would go to be in the shoes as the newest member for High Tension. As always, the punk metal quartet put on a great show, with a number of new songs off their sophomore Bully, including Lapindo, Iceman, Killed By Life as well as starting the set with Guillotine. Vocalist Karina, like Luke of Jack the Stripper, performed a lot in the crowd, giving off a stare at random attendees, and let them have their way with mic when they knew the lyrics to the songs they performed.

But man, when Cancer Bats came on, the crowd were overpowering the pit and the heat and tension built up so fast in such a diminutive room. Being a new fan, even though I had heard the name for a while, I had nothing in mind to expect, and just let the band orchestrate themselves and the fans, to see what was to be witnessed for my first ever Cancer Bats experience. True Zero was seen as the opening track for the evening, and wow… in such a small venue, they had their crowd tearing it up in there! With a set consisting of favourites such as Hail Destroyer, Pneumonia Hawk, Fake Gold, Shillelagh and the Beastie Boys cover of Sabotage, Cancer Bats and the crowd were as rowdy as a stampede of wild bulls throughout the whole night. Liam and the rest of the band took a moment every now and then to thank the crowd for their support and making their ongoing tour an extremely overwhelming one.

Even though it was a sold out show, I felt that the band deserved a bigger venue like the Northcote Social Club or the Tote. Nothing wrong with the Bendigo Hotel, but I felt that Cancer Bats deserved a room with a bigger pit. But, other than the size of the room, Cancer Bats pulled off a very staggering seventy-five minute set, as did their support acts that filled in their half hour of thrashy hits. With this being my first time seeing a full Cancer Bats show, I have to say that they were one hell of a crazy live punk group to catch. Hopefully, someday down the line, I’ll try and get another opportunity to see them perform down under again! And to everyone else seeing them this week – prepare yourselves, cos you’re in for a hectic evening with Cancer Bats!

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Callum Doig

Growing up around tracks at the young age of eight from Rage Against the Machine to Queens of the Stone Age and At the Drive-In, I found my love for heavy music develop quicker and quicker, as I got into countless bands in genres from Alternative, Prog, Stoner and Math Metal over the years. Being part of the music journalism industry since 2013, I’ve had the honour to review the legendary Soundwave Festival twice, Unify, and the last ever Big Day Out, as well as interview big names such as Zakk Wylde, Matthias Jabs, Richard Patrick, Greg Puciato, Mikael Akerfeldt, A Nameless Ghoul and many, many more. With metal and rock music playing a massive part of my life since I was young, and eventually became inspired to pick up multiple instruments, I couldn’t have picked a better genre to influence me into getting involved in the scene, regardless of what the position would be. Heavy music has done more for me than anyone or anything else, and I intend to stick around for more and more as the years go by.
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