Caligula’s Horse fourth album, 2017’s In Contact was in my top three albums of last year. It received critical worldwide acclaim and rightfully so. It is a stunning masterpiece of near perfect song writing and complexity that the heavy listening ears of this world pricked up and embraced it’s beauty with open arms. So it obviously became apparent to the quintet consisting of Jim Grey, Sam Vallen, Adrian Goleby, Dave Couper and Josh Griffin, collectively known as Caligula’s Horse that it would be a grandiose feat and gift to their fans in Australia that they attempt to perform In Contact in its entirety! And I shall come back to that soon enough!
First band to warm up the stage and crowd was Opus Of A Machine. OOAM are an alternative progressive outfit which features former Caligula’s Horse guitarist Zac Greensill. The influence of his time in Caligula’s has clearly left an indelible imprint in his path as a musician and almost cohesively carried over into Opus Of A Machine. Full of monstrous melodies and touching emotion which combined catapults forth with a driving progressive passion. Opus Of A Machine had the ability to melodically grip the audience lucky enough to get to Howlers early to glimpse a fantastic and essential listening band surely worth seeing live if you get the opportunity.
Second up was James Norbert Ivanyi. An incredible instrumental three piece outfit out of Sydney. James is clearly influenced both the heavy and melodic mellow aspects of the likes of all things Opeth and their ilk. Ivanyi has taken these influences and made it his own, sans vocals and letting himself and his bandmates speak further volumes without any front person distractions. From witnessing tonight’s performance it is abundantly clear to see why James is now a highly sought after and influential local guitarist. A superb musical melding of many differing aspects including heavy progressive but also including snippets of 60’s & 70’s classic experimental rock, the Invanyi live experience leaves us punters again grateful to have experienced such talent that this country is now spoilt for choice to experience on a regular basis.
And now…Here we go! Caligula’s Horse. ‘In Contact’ IN FULL. I can’t put what tonight was to those of us present more plainly enough!
A live experience I am so beyond grateful and gracious for to having had experienced this evening with with a hundred or so other fans of this incredible Brisbane band and their masterfully written album. Not merely songs but an honest offering about art, creativity and an overall musically artistic piece that celebrates what it is that “connects us all human beings – the shared space across our many differences”. And here we all were this evening witnessing, hearing and celebrating a bond so beautiful and captivating courtesy of Caligula’s Horse, tonight was never going to be about how perfectly In Contact could be delivered as a live experience because those of us both here tonight in Melbourne or those present in Sydney or Brisbane the weeks before, but how it would collectively join us, as a captive enraptured audience willing to submit and immerse our ourselves in a live artistic masterpiece. It was as if Howlers tonight was the gallery, the stage the frame and upon and within it Caligula’s Horse, a living, breathing sonically pulsating, beautiful and constantly moving artwork brushing the strokes of In Contact majestically from start to finish was truly a gift that only the very few have had the honor of witnessing I will take this show and hold it tightly and carry its overall beautiful perfection with me for many years to come.
Photography by Antoine Loncle