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Gig Review: Hand Of Mercy + Prepared Like A Bride, Melbourne

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Hand Of Mercy + Prepared Like A Bride + Vices + Glorified + Advocates
Arrow on Swanston, Melbourne
27 June 2015
Review by Alex Sievers
Photo by Sofie Marsden

When you have a big live room like Arrow on Swanston does, having it half-filled for a weekend hardcore show always makes the space feel emptier than Tony Abbott’s soul. So I was relieved and intrigued to see the smaller “back” room of the venue used for this show. It’s tighter; more compact, and with an intimate stage set up (i.e. no pesky barrier). It’s ideal for these sorts of gigs.

Local young bloods, Advocates, opened up one of ‘theses sorts of gigs’ to a somewhat lukewarm reception, but hey, it’s not always easy opening up a show like this and to their credit, the metalcore quintet played fine.

Up next were Glorified, who were surprising, but in a very good way. Out of the six songs they played in their brief 25-minute slot, three of those were new songs. These three showed the awesome new direction that the once progressive metalcore band are going in, and f*ck me if I’m not fully on-board with it. While the guitar chugs, breakdowns and (occasional) growl are still present, there’s a far stronger emphasis on clean vocals, on giant choruses, on huge melodies, and even on rapping verses, complete with huge riffs. That may sound like a “sell-out” move, but they still play with real authenticity, are still tight and sonically sound, and I truly cannot wait for this album.

The ‘boiz’ in Sydney’s Vices, while still goofy and always preach of having a good time, really know how to create a gripping atmosphere during and between their songs. As per usual, punk jumps, mic grabs, brutal honesty, and good times were had all around. Fast rhymes and riffs with short song lengths always makes for a brief but hefty sonic punch throughout their half-hour set. Sustain, Perspectives, Permanence, Part 1 and Home send the fans into over-drive making it just like any other Vices show; fun, fast and frantic.

As this was Prepared Like A Bride’s last ever show in Melbourne, Hand Of Mercy did the ol’ switcheroo and played second-last so their good friends could close out the show in style. Hand Of Mercy were easily the heaviest band on the bill, and their macho-like brand of hardcore/metalcore was well-received, with plenty of moshing and crowd participation, which I was more than stoked to see.

See, I was worried that the interest and buzz surrounding them may have stagnated, but that was thankfully not the case, as Sick For It and Desperate Measures proved. As I’ve seen these Sydney lads seven times live, I can definitely say that this was one of the better times just from a sheer performance perspective. Especially with vocalist Nick Bellringer, as he’s finally getting the hang of fronting a band, and his vocal performance reflected this steadfast confidence, and the rest of the band were on-point too.

You wouldn’t know it was Prepared Like A Bride’s last show just by looking at the four-piece. Smiles, hugs, and good times were abundant from the Gold Coast lads and crowd alike from the second they hit the stage with tracks like Soul Of The World, 2am and Ocean Tide. The energy was non-stop during this welcoming and bittersweet set from the quartet, and members of the supporting bands could be spotted throughout the crowd and side of stage, itching to join on the fun.

For some first time attendees, one question was ‘Is their cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls On Parade going to go off’? My answer? ‘DOES IT EVER!’ And off it did go from the very second that classic intro blared through the PA. Following that bat-shit insanity, the band closed out their last ever Melbourne headline show with the anthemic crowd-favourite Overcomer and the brief but brutal Liberty, ending their set in one big satisfying conclusion.

You’ll be sorely missed boys. Much love, and much respect.


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