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[LIVE REVIEW] Jericco’s Farewell Show, Melbourne, 5th November, 2016

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Jericco frontman, Brent McCormick, sums up the feeling in the room in what was Melbourne based, Middle Eastern-influenced progressive final ever show, “Someone said to me ‘it’s a bittersweet occasion’, whatever that means!”

The term ‘bittersweet’ is kinda hard to define, but the feeling was very much there in The Corner this night. It was a combination of deep sadness about the ending of a great band and a cathartic celebration of their career and triumphant live show.

They chose their support acts very well too. Qlaye Face are an enigma. It’s proggish-alt-rock, but a particularly left of centre, ambient and maybe slightly discordant form of proggy-alt-rock. They utilise two guitars, but the guitars are more textural than heavy, with ethereal vocals floating over the top. Their set this night was pretty low-key, but they have a subtle sense of darkness, and even menace, underpinning it all. So yes, they are strange, but they are effective and compelling at the same time.

Rival Fire’s frontman is John Farnham’s son, Rob, but they do not emphasise this fact at all. They do not ride on the coat tails of the great man’s name at all (outside the fact that Rob has the same surname, and not much can be done about that), they simply get on with the business of rocking out. And Rob is starting to step up to the plate as a frontman. Talent, genes and pedigree cannot be denied it seems.

This band is also definitely developing nicely as a live act. I saw them three or four months ago, supporting Dead Letter Circus and Clint Boge, and I thought they were a solid opening act. However, it is clear that they have played a lot of shows and worked hard in the rehearsal room since then, as they seemed tighter, more confident and more in control of what they are doing this night. Their songs are fun, up-tempo, uplifting rock tunes that get your head bobbing and put a smile on your face. They’re not reinventing any wheels, they’re just having a great time, and their growing fanbase appears to be as well.

Acolyte bravely stepped up onto the huge stage at The Corner this night without one of their absolute key components. Keysman David Van Pelt was apparently watching his musical heroes, the band Europe, from the side of the stage somewhere on the other side of the world, and so couldn’t do this gig. The band’s presentation lacked his symphonic, atmosphere-laden sounds on this occasion, but they still managed to put on a ripping show, full of drama, intensity, strong musicianship and frontwoman Morgan-Leigh Brown’s massive voice and presence, and the strong crowd there to witness their performance lapped it up.

That crowd had built to almost capacity and absolute fever-pitch by the time the great men graced the stage. There was so much light, colour, sound and movement this night I barely know where to start. Jericco had some lineup changes across its seven to eight-year-long career, and several past members joined the final lineup of the band onstage for their last hurrah. And what a joyous and emotion-charged occasion it was.

There was one huge slice of the bedrock upon which the band was based for its entire career, and that was bassist Roy Amar. He had a few emotional final words to say before he took to his Egyptian lute, the ‘oud’, and the band played the fabulous title track to the Beautiful in Danger album.

The setlist was just about perfect, taking in a highly satisfying array of tracks from each phase of the band’s career, and the set wound out to beyond the hour and a half mark, culminating in an electrifying rendition of their aptly named Monster.

This was a truly fitting ending for a classic Aussie rock act. The love for the band in the room was absolutely palpable (you know a band is beloved when they do a role-call of people who’d travelled from interstate just to be at the show), and it was one of those occasions that you wish you could bottle and take home with you, to be opened when you are down and in need of inspiration and positivity. It was one of those times when the harsh rest of the world seemed far away, and that you were in a warm, positive, protective environment, safe from harm and the great troubles of the world for a few hours. Where you were surrounded by nothing but great friends. Where the power of great rock music and live performance made you 100 feet tall and unstoppable.

I’d just like to add, on a personal level, that I had a fair bit to do with this band over the years, even beyond being a massive fan of theirs, and I found them to be nothing but friendly, professional, open, fun and positive at all times. Top blokes, one and all.

So it’s goodbye to Jericco. It is truly sad, but we have the great music and the memory of this magnificent final show forever.

Thank you, boys.

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