Hellions + Capsize + ’68 + Justice For The Damned + Corpus
The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
22 August 2015
Review by Jeremy Vane-Tempest
I have a confession to make: due to an unfortunate combination of cat vomit becoming regrettably present on a critical component of my car (god damn it, Charlie…) and the slowest doorman imaginable, I missed the entirety of opening band Corpus. Luckily for you, dear reader, my good friend and fellow Heavy staffer Chris Evans was at the same gig, so I’ll hand over to him for this opening bit.
Thanks Jeremy! Well, Corpus were the first of two chaotic hardcore two-pieces on show tonight and they were fantastic. The vocals were rhythmic and almost rapping, but not cringingly so. The multitalented drummer windmilled his hair around whilst tapping out complex rhythms and intertwining clean vocals with the guitarist’s screaming shout. They had a consumable enough groove to mosh and headbang to, but they kept it fresh by interjecting the odd breakdown or sudden change in rhythm. Back to you, Jeremy!
Thanks Chris, you’re a lifesaver. Stupid cat. Anyway, Justice For The Damned were up and while they had all the right components of a good show, the music was somewhat directionless. They just didn’t seem to know whether they wanted to be a hardcore band or a death metal band. An extended volley of blast beats would be interjected by a Terror-style breakdown and hardcore dancing. Their stage show was good, don’t get me wrong, but I really felt that they would benefit from not mixing so many archetypes. But hey, what would I know? I’m the enemy.
Following that was the undisputed highlight of the night, ’68. When The Chariot they broke up in 2013, frontman Josh Scogin went “screw the day job”, hooked up with Michael McClellan – one of the old drummers from Becoming The Archetype – and made a two-piece chaotic hardcore band and it. Is. Awesome. They only played four songs during their allotted half hour, but their effortless banter and compelling interaction between each other and the audience was beautiful and captivating. Scogin is the ultimate frontman, taking the music extremely seriously, but taking every other facet of it with good grace and a wry smile. Guitars were thrown in the air, mic stands were thrown to the ground, hi-hats were broken and there was not one face, either on stage or in the audience, that wasn’t smiling by the end of their set.
It was one of those sets that felt like a headliner. I discussed with my friends how it must suck for Capsize and Hellions to have to follow that every night, but then Capsize came out and, well, they weren’t as good, but damn son, they sure as hell didn’t take it lying down. They played with letlive-esque energy, thrashing their guitars and hair back and forth, with their frontman reminiscent of a pre-solicitation-to-commit-murder Tim Lambesis. Ending their set in the pit with the punters, I really dug the energy and variety in their music. Unfortunately, I’m Australian, so I dislike egotists, and these guys clearly thought they were God’s gift. Still a hell of a show, though.
Finally, Hellions. Always providing quality shows, they had just as much energy as Capzise and ’68 for the first two songs of their set, but they seemed to drop off in intensity as the set progressed. There was copious crowd surfing (despite the sign out front saying ‘no stage dives or the show will be pulled’, which received much derisive laughter), and the pit was firing, but there was a problem evident from the off and it plagues a myriad of hardcore bands: the lyrics. I’m just saying that when one of your most popular songs starts with ‘the truth is I that know why I don’t see you now/it’s ‘cause you can’t f*ck girls with your friends around’, you come off as a bit of a whinger.
Ultimately, the night belonged to ’68 by an endless mile.