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Review CALIGULA’S HORSE Live After Lockdown

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The next best thing to not being at a gig in our current shit show of an existence is being locked down at our humble abodes (as opposed to being shoulder to shoulder covered in delicious beer and sweat with our mates at our favorite venue) and watching live streams performed by our favorite bands for the same price or a little less. Let’s face it folks, it’s just not the same but it’s something isn’t it?


I’ve sat in my home office for a few live streams now but I hadn’t looked forward to any as much as one of my fave bands, BrisVegas’ own Caligula’s Horse.


Sunday night’s live stream was in fact their second show. The first being on Friday night at The Triffid in their home town of Brisbane, which Jim (vocals) stated was their first live show in eighteen months! I am glad that there was a warm up, not believing for one moment that a band the calibre of CH would need a rehearsal but it meant that they were well and truly warmed up to be beamed across the world to their loyal fans. Also noting that this was the first time any of the songs from their latest album Rise Radiant was played live. So to open this magnificent intimate date with Caligula’s Horse we were treated to a stunning greeting from them with the opening two tracks – The Tempest and Slow Violence.


The quality of video was a disappointing 720p suffering from much lag, pixelation and low volume which in no way complimented the calibre of artistry before us. Note the opening two tracks and then leading into Dream the Dead from In Contact! Clearly we could all see and hear, glitches aside, why Caligula’s Horse are revered worldwide.


Sam Vallen’s incredible song structure so blissfully and beautifully accentuated by the seductive beauty of Jim Grey on vocals, who both together I don’t think have ever hit a wrong note. Adrian on rhythm guitar, Josh on drums and Dale on bass make up this incredibly cohesive melodic beast that collectively opens their hands, drawing us in being held silently for an hour and a half in the palms of Caligula’s Horse.


Cue here the title track from Bloom where we the audience ebb and flow, back and forth in unison, hugged tightly after which both the physical present crowd at The Triffid and those of us ethereal folk at home are summoned to mosh by Jim to Valkyrie off Rise Radiant. Moshing by oneself is not quite the same as doing it with several hundred other like minded heavy music fans so I instead ignored Jim’s request and continued being seated, drank my glass of red wine and smiled happily as the band entertained us.


So onto the honesty now, I am on the late side of forty so my actual desire to sit down and watch a gig at home on my wi-fi enabled TV is fucking bland and boring! If I want to live live music I will go to a gig at one of the many venues I used to attend, but rarely step into anymore because we here in Victoria are continuously locked away like naughty children banned from existing. Decades ago I used to buy VHS tapes of bands I still love to this day like Emperor, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, KISS, Dimmu Borgir, Anathema and their ilk (Yes I know a lot of those bands have indeed been here in the past decade or two, but when I was getting into said bands and many others in the early/mid nineties when there was not even an inkling they would consider coming to Australia) and watch them on my box tube television through a single shitty mono speaker. Times have changed and we have evolved to audio projection magnificence and whilst all of the best intentions were intended, unfortunately it fell a little short and left me as an active music lover and audience, ticket buying punter wanting.


This is by no means a fault of Caligula’s Horse but the situation that we as a universe reside in presently, Jim stated many times throughout the show that our current circumstance alone has brought a lot of us to tears. Our mental health is a fragile being and we all, whether suffering or not need an outlet which feeds our souls and this past Sunday was Caligula’s Horse prescription medication for those of us that needed mental massage therapy.


From their second album The Tide, The Thief and River’s End, next we were gifted All Is Quiet By The Wall after which Jim, who just loves an in between song banter with the crowd united us all by stating how covid and its existence by default was a great equaliser which led us to Salt from the new album, but all beautiful hugs of togetherness must ultimately come to an end!


So the perfect fitting end to our evening with Caligula’s Horse was Graves from In Contact. This song is as perfect as perfect prog metal gets and so we all ethereally embrace silently and fade away to wade through our troubled lives until next we share a drink together – both bands and fans alike together intimately in a venue near you or me.


I will close this Caligula’s Horse live stream revue by quoting Jim Grey directly and without apology – “If you want live music, go and get a fucking vaccine…!”

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