Falling In Reverse + Supports
170 Russell, Melbourne
Review by Nikki Russian
Photography by Matt Allen
Drown This City open with a killer drum intro and it is damn loud. Anthony Pallas bangs along to an EDM backing which immediately entices the audience closer. The rest of the band take the stage and launch into I’m Not Divided, with breakdowns so heavy the floor vibrates. Alex Reade is Melbourne’s latest post-hardcore frontwoman with her vocals ranging from brilliant melodies to Butcher Babies-esque screams as the band thrashes out songs from their 2016 EP.
Brisbane’s The Brave launch into the hard-hitting track Eclipse, with vocalist Nathan Toussaint belting out his vocals. They later slow things down with Wake Me Up, a track from their 2013 EP. Nathan asks everyone to hold up their phones to light the place up. It’s an image of the digital age, but it’s a nice sentiment for the emotive track. They close with Slipping Away, and the band leaves the stage to drummer Brent Thomson’s outro as the crowd whistle and cheer.
Falling In Reverse last toured Australia for the 2015 Soundwave Festival, but the Count Rockula tour is the band’s first ever Australian headline. They open with God If You Are Above. Frontman Ronnie Radke has his own stretch of platform with a constant spotlight so that he can be seen from anywhere in the venue. He moves the mic away from his mouth to accommodate his loud vocals, and he struts, shakes and power walks across the stage as though it’s all a whole lot of fun, and that’s because it is. Some might find his engagement with the music a bit over-the-top, but it’s part of what makes him entertaining to watch.
While Ronnie’s copped a fair bit of flack for rapping over their post-hardcore/metalcore sound, everyone knows the lyrics to Rolling Stone and the dubstep breakdown gets the crowd jumping.
Ronnie shrugs off his ‘REVENGE’ jacket and asks for the lights. He waves to the crowd before giving them an old song, Raised By Wolves — the track that brought him back into the scene after his prison ‘break’. Working with the crowd’s enthusiasm, he lets them sing the chorus for him.
Sexy Drug is up next and Ronnie feigns heart palpitations and makes some crude gestures to the lyrics as though he’s playing charades. He proves his rap skills in Champion and the mosh breaks out right after with Ronnie playing air drums.
“We’re baaack,” Ronnie teases and everyone knows what that means: Tragic Magic is the song that features some upfront lyrics about a certain frontman, but that hatchet’s long buried now. Ronnie may not be the ‘king of the music scene’ as he claims in the song — that’s a pair of shoes too big for anyone to fill — but he’s certainly the king of the crowd tonight.
Guillotine IV is the heaviest of the set with a deathcore sound and thundering drums. “Moooove” Ronnie commands and everyone does as he growls. He plays out an ‘air gun’ routine, shooting to the drumbeat of the lengthy breakdown, complete with ammo reload for his mic.
Everyone gets their ‘spirit fingers’ in the air as per Ronnie’s request for the synth intro of I’m Not A Vampire, and lead guitarist Christian Thompson rocks the solo. Sickly synth-pop track Bad Girls Club feels a little out of place; it changes the venue into a nightclub as everyone jumps under pink lights and all the ‘bad girls’ in the crowd know to sing along to their part.
Ronnie dedicates a song to his ‘old band’ which is none other than Escape The Fate’s Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliché. There’s no way I’m not pushing myself into the pit for this one! It’s not 2006 anymore and Ronnie alters his vocal delivery a little, but for his fans it’s a special moment to witness a song from a record never before played to an Aussie audience.
The controversial Fashionably Late has Ronnie singing that it’s all “just another excuse to write a hook”, but the crowd sing along as though they’ve all got wandering eyes like Ronnie and the same ‘rockstar’ status.
“This is the part where we say that we’re leaving but then we’ll come back,” Ronnie tells us. The band are gone for only a few moments before he introduces their encore, bellowing out his own voiceover as though the venue has turned into a wrestling ring. Amongst all the merriment and stage antics is the serious gem Chemical Prisoner, which is a personal account of Ronnie’s struggles. He has a strong live voice, and he pulls it off well.
Ronnie treats the crowd to another ETF track with the provocative Situations that everyone remembers, if only for “Thurman’s first day of school”. The crowd sings so loud that Ronnie smiles and lets them take over. Despite that being the perfect song for bras to be flung on stage, it’s The Drug In Me Is You that excites a woman enough to lift up her shirt to show off her bright pink bra, or maybe it was her breasts. Ronnie quickly turns away and tells her that she “is way too young to be doing that”. There’s no doubt that Ronnie’s a “white boy on the beat” as the band plays Alone, but you’ve got to hand it to him as he raps out most of the lyrics without a breath.
Ronnie owns up to his status as an asshole before the band play Just Like You, but only after establishing who else in the crowd is an asshole; it turns out all of us are, and the electronic backdrop flashes “YOU ARE ALL ASSHOLES” to make sure that we don’t forget it. It’s a shorter set than what was expected, but with non-stop energy from the crowd and with Ronnie Radke as frontman, Falling In Reverse aren’t going out of fashion anytime soon.
Photography by Matt Allan
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