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PATIENT SIXTY-SEVEN, Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar, Melbourne 19/08/22

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Words by Erin Eddy

Photos by Robinson Digital Media

I first came across Perth metalcore band Patient Sixty-Seven in September 2021, when they released their single Damage Plan and when the continued disruption to the live music scene by Covid lockdowns had well and truly carried me to the point of despair. I made it my mission to trawl the internet for new music to share with my mates, finding inspiration and hope in those bands that were pushing through and releasing music despite the obstacle the pandemic had dumped on top of us. By sharing my new finds on my social media accounts, I had hoped to encourage some positivity with a “hey, I know all the gigs are cancelled, it sucks, but listen to this!” Not only did I totally dig Patient Sixty-Seven’s sound, but their online presence is also packed full of positivity and support for the scene, and so I’ve been following them ever since.

We all felt like we spent an eternity in limbo waiting for gigs to return, but they are back, praise Jebus, and so when I saw Patient Sixty-Seven announce a tour, I immediately purchased a ticket to their Melbourne show.

They selected the intimate Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar on Victoria Street for their Melbourne debut. Patient Sixty-Seven have staunchly loyal fans, with which they interact with online in the most wholesome manner, creating more of a family or friendship group vibe than a fan base, so this venue suited them well. Intimate with a low stage so that the P67 loyals could really connect with the band and become one entity for the duration of the set.

The night was opened by Melbourne locals Some Heard Trouble. I regretfully missed their set – insert excuse no one cares about here. I will be making a point of giving them a spin on Spotify when I drive
back to my hometown tonight as compensation.

Following them was Sydney heavyweights Bury Me, a name I’ve seen around, but for whatever reason a band I’ve never listened to. These guys were super tight and brutally heavy, with terrific stage presence. The harsh vocals were on point with dynamic growls and screams with good range, preciseness and power.

Taking to the stage next was Harroway, also from Sydney. Usually a four-piece, only three members stepped on stage and bumped fists before engaging crowd, with front man Matthew Banks explaining that their “guitarist fucked up his hand” and so they were being assisted by Henry the plush octopus perched importantly beside a laptop loaded with backing tracks. Praise Jebus for modern technology, so the show can go on! I’m not sure Henry’s skills were all that remarkable, but he had the right attitude and image to get him through (hey, it worked for Sid Vicious).

Harroway’s set was impressive. Super high energy and wonderful audience engagement topped with some damned impressive stage moves by bassist Jordan Sherriff spinning like a whirling dervish! This band had the punters moving. The songs that really had me hooked in were Sleep and a brand-new tune titled Impulse, a release I’m now eagerly looking forward to. There’s something extra special about hearing a song in a live setting before feasting on the recorded version. After experiencing this performance, I’d be keen to see what kind of show Harroway are capable of with their full line up on the job. I’ll definitely be following this band and watching what they’re up to.

As the clock neared 11pm, the room suddenly filled up, in anticipation for Patient Sixty-Seven’s impending performance.

Melbourne was show number seven of an eight show tour for the band, over the course of two weeks. I was privileged to spend some time chatting with vocalist Tom Kiely before their set on the night and asked him how he was holding up, as the band has gone from playing only one or two shows throughout the lockdowns of the past two years, to embarking on this whirlwind whip around the country in a small timeframe. Eight shows may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in the drain of travel (especially in our country where some drives are 12 hours long), the physical exertion of performing, the late nights and having little to no recovery time between gigs, it’s certainly a lot to power through. Tom was nothing but grateful and enthusiastic about their experience, and while confessed to being travel fatigued, he told me that it was worth it for the shows they’ve been able to play and to connect with their fans.

With this information in the forefront of my mind, and with being a vocalist myself, I was watching for the tell-tale signs of the blemishes I know fatigue can impose on a performance – not because I was wanting to find flaws, but because I have been kind of living vicariously through P67 and Tom’s social media posts as they’ve documented and shared this tour experience so well, so I was imagining myself in Tom’s shoes at that moment, and feeling pretty tired for him!

It was evident from start to finish that Patient Sixty-Seven are born for this. If they were dog tired, no one would have been able to tell, their energy on stage was fantastic. Their opener, Stay Paranoid II, immediately had the audience jumping, and Tom did not disappoint anyone by ensuring there was an almighty “BLEGH!” delivered only seconds into the set.

All four band members have great stage presence and know how to move around, with Tom being exactly how you want a front man to be. He’s energetic and engaged while performing, and can banter with the crowd appropriately, leaving no awkward lingering silences in between songs.

Although I could sheepishly suggest that guitarists Rory Venville and Declan Le Tessier refrain from the odd riff over Tom talking to the crowd, but I also know this can be muso code for “shut up and let’s play the next song already!”

Speaking of Rory, this dude deserves kudos for his vocal chops, too. While Tom does take care of most of the vocals, Rory’s voice plays a big role in the band, also, and Patient Sixty-Seven wouldn’t have their sound without him. His clean vocals perfectly played off Tom’s guttural growls in songs like Scattered, Feel Alive and Before You Go.

Did you ever think you might see a metalcore crowd go nuts for an Ed Sheeran song? Nope, me either, but I witnessed it, when P67 busted out their cover of Antisocial. They are known to do the odd cover of a pop song and I must confess they do it well. I wondered how many people singing along were like me and have still never heard the original version of this song!

While their set wasn’t polished or choreographed, you wouldn’t have wanted it to be. It was the perfect kind of performance for the kind of venue we were in, with the punters being able to share in the energy, get involved in singing the words back at the band and high fiving the members in between songs. There was no division between the fans and the band, it was an all-in vibe, and it was magical to witness. Patient Sixty-Seven are so inclusive of their followers and this is something that really makes them stand out amongst other bands, and why I think their fans have such a fierce loyalty, as they genuinely include their fans in the P67 journey.

Those fans were not going to have a bar of the band walking away without an encore either, and within seconds of exiting stage left a “one more song!” chant had erupted and the boys graciously jumped back up to end the night with Before You Go.

In summary, the night showcased some terrific Aussie metalcore and though I ventured out alone, I felt like I was in a room with 100 of my mates, such is the effect of the community that this music harbours. When we have bands like Patient Sixty-Seven climbing through the ranks, I’m confident it’s going to remain an inclusive community for a long time to come.

Patient Sixty-Seven will be on tour again early next year supporting Danish band Siamese on the Australian leg of their tour, so if you missed them this time around, I highly recommend you catch them then!

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