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LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: MOTIONLESS IN WHITE + Supports at Arrow On Swanston, Melbourne 23/9/17

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With a crowd of all ages and a venue that looks more like a high school hall geared up for a graduation, the lights are still bright when Sydney quartet Darkcell’s “Haunted Reality” entices the crowd to the spectacle. While the line outside grows and the crowd inside does the same, attentions pique from Macabre’s first beat down. ‘We are Darkcell!’ yells frontman Dracman, rousing fans to raise their fists and devil horns. Coincidentally, Darkcell’s ‘Army Of Darkn3ss’ have all pooled on the same side of the venue. Dracman asks for us to scream, and with our obedience, the lights finally black out to engulf us into the industrial-metal soundscape. Dracman’s usual theatre keeps the crowd entertained as the band continue to accumulate more of a crowd through “The Ununited” and “Monsters”. Dracman finds higher ground after that, sitting atop the towering speakers to finish the song, giving Derelict and Postmortem the stage. The side of Darkcell fans breaks out into a mosh for “FTW”. If nothing had won the crowd over yet, it’s the breakdown of Dracman’s death growls and screams. “Hail To The Freaks” is dedicated to the freaks in the crowd, and it’s fair-go to assume it’s most of them. Dracman joins the crowd for “Preacher”, giving us his last seamless scream to cap off their set.

The red LED lights of Hayden Tree’s bass guitar signal Crown The Empire as they jump right into it. They look almost out of place against Darkcell and Motionless In White, and the crowd is once again divided between fans and first-time listeners. But breakdowns never fail to get people headbanging and feet tapping as the band plays through “Zero”. The theme of heartbreak continues with “Memories Of A Broken Heart” and “Aftermath”. There aren’t many hands in the air when frontman Andy Leo asks who has seen them live before, but the boys from Texas still manage to get everyone jumping for “Voices”. “The One You Feed” keeps the crowd’s energy going until the only song void of a breakdown, “Millennia”  courses through. Andy showcases his vocal range, and Brandon Hoover gets a few moments for a guitar solo. “Hologram” is fresh from CTE’s new record and is a classic of the genre; ballad vocals that transpose seamlessly into screams and back again, followed by the most awkward ‘fuck you’ spirit fingers. Andy asks for us to stick with him as he lifts his shirt to keep our attention before they launch into “The Fallout”. “Machines” hits us with a comment on the state of the world; it crescendos into a mosh from the livelier side of the crowd. If it wasn’t obvious of any fans before, the chanting asking for one more song showed it, but time is running dangerously close to the act of the night.

If it’s anything that gets a crowd going, it’s soundcheck. Especially when check-one-twoed by an American. That and Motionless In White flanked by security as they snake their way down the side of the venue to make it backstage.

There’s no backdrop to set the stage, but the band takes it to deafening screams of the crowd. Phones are up as frontman Chris Motionless bounds on stage and towers over the crowd for “Death March”. The band’s image for The Graveyard Shift is a little stripped back from what we’ve seen of them before on Australian shores. However, Chris is the most casual of all in minimal makeup, while the rest of the band plays with blackened arms and bassist Devin ‘Ghost’ Sola is dressed in his usual theatrics, draped in webbed fabric. The synth-rock track leads to Chris pointing out members of the frenzied crowd while the left side continues to outdo everyone else.

The Dope-esque “LOUD (Fuck It)” is up next and despite the venue’s lacklustre appearance, the giant speakers handle the band’s ‘loud’ and distorted guitar well. “Devil’s Night” sends the crowd mad before Chris has even growled a word. The dance track spirals into a breakdown of red and white strobe lights. “Break The Cycle” has Chris singing: ‘can someone tell me who the fuck I am?’. There’s a large crowd here who can vouch for that.

It’s the band’s fourth time in Australia, having swept through the country for two Soundwave tours and one Big Ass Tour. Most of the crowd look too young to have caught either, but they’re all in formation tonight for Motionless In White’s first Australian headlining tour. They turn back time a little to 2010’s Creatures with the twisting guitars of “Abigail”. Few are left standing with their phones up as heads and bodies are down low for the guttural breakdowns of Graveyard Shift’s “570”.

A quick breather for the band leaves enough opportunity for someone to start the Aussie chant. It tapers off until Chris asks us for another. It’s louder this time and with more balls as the crowd bellows Oi! Oi! Oi! ‘They don’t do shit like that in the states!’ Chris quips. It’s the perfect oppositional introduction to “America”. Seductive guitar and vocals give us a show of slick and dirty Hollywood-rock. No other time would a room of Australian’s chant a chorus like this one.

Darkness ensues, and so do the marriage proposals from the dude’s in the crowd. They’re rewarded with a cover of System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey”. Chris’ vocals hold up to most of the challenge and the band switches around. You can’t help but wonder if Ghost is wearing a mask, his expression unwavering except for when he’s screaming backup vocals to a perfect sharp point.

Hardcore Korn fans may have missed Jonathan Davis for the revamped “birthday” song, “Necessary Evil”, but Ghost slaps his bass in honour of Korn bassist Fieldy, and Chris almost holds the chorus better than Davis himself. Motionless In White have a dirty, dirty, dirty little secret with the next track “Rats” before launching into fan-favourite, “Immaculate Misconception”.

Another statement from the crowd, ‘Chris, you’re a sick cunt!’ is met with a moment of dumbfound until Chris returns the sentiment to all of us, ‘Nowhere else would you hear ‘sick cunt’ as a compliment!’ Hues of blue and purple reminiscent of the “Eternally Yours” music video introduce the popular track.

As above, so below as Motionless In White close with the title track from Reincarnate. It’s the encore the crowd needn’t have asked for, but it was the track everyone was waiting for, and it shows. This is the first Graveyard Shift tour, and if an all ages gig is anything to go by, we can see why Australia was first in the world. The over 18’s can show them all over again and give those American’s something to measure up to on Sunday night at 170 Russell.

Photography by Bree Wallace

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