Gig Review: Sebastian Bach + supports, Sydney

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Sebastian Bach + The Art + In Hydes Shadow
Metro Theatre, Sydney
23 September 2015
Review by Salla Harjula

The night doesn’t start well. Forty minutes after the Metro is supposed to open, there’s still a long and damp and grumpy queue of people extending way back into an alley off George Street. A prolonged sound check keeps everyone outside in the drizzling rain, just long enough for a pumped up crowd to turn into a disgruntled one, as they file inside to catch the opening bars of local act In Hydes Shadow.

The band’s metal-tinged rock tunes are actually pretty kick-ass. The songs are catchy and the show is entertaining, with the singer bouncing all around the stage with infectious energy. They are unlucky victims of circumstance though. The set is cut short because of the delays, and even though the Metro is near full already, the crowd is clearly a bit morose because of, well, the delays.

Another local troupe follows. The Art play classic hard rock with all of the obligatory glitter and big hair and studded bits of clothing. The crowd wakes up and cheers up noticeably during their display. This frankly makes me feel like I’m in an alternate bubble reality, as the show just isn’t stellar by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t seen these guys before, so it’s possible the crowd support has roots in a long line of awesome earlier performances. Tonight though, they put on a lively show, but the overall sound is just rough and often off-key.

And so I’m not in my best mood, when the star of the night Sebastian Bach let’s us wait quite a while again before making an appearance.

Slave to the Grind turns my frown upside down pretty damn quickly though. Bach oozes charisma and adorable excitement from the first minute. And the glorious voice is definitely still all there.

The night is a Skid Row hit parade, dotted with selected dollops of Bach solo stuff. The fans are thrilled at everything the man belts out, but once we get into 18 And Life a few songs in, the Metro finally blows up entirely. Seriously, everyone in the full venue sings along throughout.

I’m not gonna lie, I may have been unconsciously expecting a faintly worn out rock star re-hashing his old hits in a comfortable but not-that-exciting groove. But no way. Bach hits every note with consummate skill and raw gusto, and displays such irresistible showmanship that every song is a fairly epic experience.

In between songs the man is a legitimate rabble-rouser too. He plays the crowd like the expert he is: his solo number American Metalhead is tonight dubbed Australian Metalhead. He dedicates ‘In A Darkened Room to Dimebag Darrell, and even lets a local couple on stage, where the gent timidly proposes to his lady. Bach celebrates the proposal, as well as his own honeymoon here in Sydney, with a beautiful rendition of I Remember You.

Bach closes tonight’s extravaganza with Youth Gone Wild, because what else? The Metro rings to the insistent echo of ‘we want more’, until the band gives in and launches into one last tune: a rowdy cover of AC/DC’s TNT. F*ck yeah, man!

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