[LIVE REVIEW] MASS SKY RAID at The Zoo, Fortitude Valley on 15/07/17

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Coming off a two-year hiatus, which did seem as though it may have become indefinite, Gold Coast prog-rockers Mass Sky Raid returned to the stage on Saturday night for the launch of their new single Closer.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of factors keeping the crowd low: there were some large events happening on the same night around the city and in Fortitude Valley, as well as the weather being a bit shit. It’s always difficult to watch bands try to entertain a stagnant crowd, but as the night pushed on, the energy grew and the later bands got some better crowd participation.

The supports were handpicked for the night by MSR guitarist Alex Kewley and it was a fantastic line-up.

The opening act, He Danced Ivy, were the A.D.D kid of the line-up. So much energy, so very quirky and the vocals are covered by, well all of them. They did very well to put out so much energy early in the night; I really think they set the tone for the evening: ‘not the best conditions but we’re tearing this place up anyway’.

Melbourne’s Rival Fire took the stage next. I had high expectations for these guys, and they met them in spades. Frontman Rob Farnham had a tough job engaging the crowd, but his banter was quite amusing anyway. They played their new single Riot and it immediately got everyone in the room on their feet. These guys are incredibly tight and very enjoyable to watch live.  Rival Fire have a few dates coming up and their new album is dropping soon, it’s well worth keeping up with this band!

Originally from Un-Zud, These Four Walls made the move to the Gold Coast and have been intermittently playing shows since, most recently with the likes of Superheist and Trapt. If you’ve not heard of these guys, it’s in your best interests to check them out, you will not be disappointed. They have two full-length albums under their collective belt and at this show, they played their prodigious new single Bravery. Remarkably there were punters already singing along to it, a good sign you’re kicking goals.

The penultimate slot was filled by local post-hardcore act Dollarosa. Vocalist, Lockie Dann had more energy than the rest of the band combined. Not to say they were lacking in any way, shape or form, they were not! It’s just that this guy is quite possibly a madman. He was all over the stage while delivering an immaculate vocal set. The whole setlist was new material and the crowd really found their voices in appreciation.

Finally, it was Mass Sky Raid’s turn. I’ll say it now: you are going to read repeatedly that this band sounds a lot like Dead Letter Circus. For the record, I will agree, but it has to be said that Mass Sky Raid are cementing their place as an equitable addition to the annals of Aussie prog-rock of their own volition. The boys took the stage and hooked straight into their set with little introduction. MSR appeared to have a bit of a cult following, there were certainly punters who’d come just to see them and it was evident by the number of people mouthing the words along with singer, Adam Lomas. Adam delivered a beautiful exposition of vocals. Granted it’s the first show after a long break and they did a bloody good job, however, it will be wonderful to watch as they gain momentum and really unleash their energies on stage. Guitarist, Alex Kewley is really cool to watch. He disappears into his parts and seems to just enjoy what he’s doing. Bassist, Cameron Dobinson is one of the most chilled players I’ve seen. It looks like his fingers are hardly moving, truly effortless. And then there’s drummer Reece Baines. He’s another musician that’s great to watch. He throws down some intricate drumming with the same effortlessness as Cameron, and I don’t know if he knows he does it, but he has this consummate ability to adjust his earpieces with one hand while tapping up some confusing thing with the other.

I just can’t wait to see them really unleash, to see the guys really take control of the stage and the crowd. Mass Sky Raid have a huge future ahead of them and this show certainly proved that. They’ve got two singles available now from the forthcoming album. Put them on your playlist and go see them live!

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