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VOYAGER, BIG RED FIRE TRUCK, HEMINA – The Basement Canberra

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Words and pix by Jenna Flood

Voyager wound up their homecoming tour recently at The Basement, Canberra.

After a whirlwind trip overseas as Australia’s entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, Voyager returned home to play a number of shows around the country for their Aussie fans. Placing 9th overall in the contest, the band’s fan base has grown astronomically and tonight’s show was just one in the string of sold out dates!

Opening the night was Big Red Fire Truck from Sydney with their supercharged energy, catchy vocals and big guitars. BRFT bring to mind artists such as David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, and they also bring a larger than life stage presence. These guys sure know how to get the party started.

Following Big Red Fire Truck was Sydney’s Hemina. Their highly melodic progressive style almost feels like a film soundtrack with elements that are dynamic, yet also dark and atmospheric. Influenced by bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X, non-traditional elements of 90’s pop can be heard.

Voyager brought the energy and enthsiasm – and sequins – as if tonight was the first show of the tour. These five glittery stars played their hearts out for well over an hour with the 16 song set list drawing from 6 out of their 7 past albums, and from their soon-to-be-released Fearless In Love.

Choreographed moves and animated band members had the crowd going wild, these guys sure bring everything to a live show. The most animated however must belong to drummer Ashley Doodkorte. With a plaque of (the Muppets) Animal attached to the front of his drum kit, Ash made it very clear where his inspiration came from. His energy and expressions were a show in themselves, he was brilliant to watch.

The other band members all interacted with the crowd a lot and also with each other on stage. Singer Danny Estrin, grinning like the Cheshire cat, would jump behind the keyboards and then at times pick up the keytar to rock the keys out front. Guitarist Simone Dow is a pocket rocket, and with fellow guitarist Scott Kay and bassist Alex Canion contributed to the energy and the cheesy grins.

Towards the end of the set, Voyager played Promise – their Eurovision song entry – the highlight of the night for the Canberra crowd. They played three more songs and then left the stage only to return for an encore of a crowd favourite White Shadow.

It seems along this journey, this prog metal band from Perth has developed a diverse fan base and encouraged a bunch of new people to try the heavier side of musical things. There can’t be anything wrong with that right?

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