Headliner: THE AVENUE PROJECT
Date: Sunday January 7th, 2018
Venue: THE TOTE Hotel Upstairs. 71 Johnston Street (Corner of Johnston & Wellington Streets), Collingwood.
Presented By: Oblivious Bookings
It’s been over a month since I last attended a local gig, due to personal reasons (work, mental health, energy levels, bigger priorities in life) but this year I’m determined to hopefully make more of an effort to regularly attend shows again. Typically, I had to deal with annoying bus replacements on my line this weekend and I only put up with it because I know that this show at The TOTE Hotel is worth it. Thankfully, it was an express bus from Westall to Flinders Street but it still makes for a longer journey (2 hours later).
Before all of those shenanigans, I had to attend my mum’s friend’s 70th birthday lunch in the Sports Bar at the Cranbourne RSL. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours which was fortunate as I was feeling irritable and anxious about the time. Put me in a room and one of the first things I’ll be searching for is a clock and also an exit door. Still it was a lovely event and I made it to Merinda Park station with plenty of time to spare.
Getting off at Victoria Park station, I actually made really good time with all the trains and replacements buses. I got to The Tote about 4.30-5pm and I decided to order a pint of Coopers lager to settle my nerves. It didn’t take long before the boys in Above the Fallen found me down in the front bar also ordering drinks. I felt like a fish out of water conversation wise but still appreciated the company I had around me.
Unfortunately sitting up in the upstairs band room presented more problems. It was uncomfortably stuffy with poor ventilation despite the fact that they’ve opened up the area to increase the space near the stage. I was also feeling socially awkward and struggling to click with some of the others. I wisely decided to get some air in between bands as I didn’t want to pass out. A few people were doing the same, chilling outside the venue on Wellington Street. It was a good chance to hang out and chat with a few of my band friends.
Overall, I had a pretty good time though I was mentally drained by the end of it. Still it shows how strong and resilient I’ve become in the past year. My anxiety and autism can make life difficult for me sometimes, holding me back from being in social situations and going out to see bands play. But I always try to push back against it and not let it win. It’s the reason why I still attend gigs because for the most part I enjoy the music and supporting local bands.
ARKEON are a relatively new five-piece Alternative Hardcore band from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. From the outset, they did a pretty good job bringing the energy levels up with a few punters throwing down in the mosh pit. The boys played a handful of tracks including 'It Was Wrong' and a cover of The Veronicas classic tune '4ever'!
ABOVE THE FALLEN are a five-piece Heavy Melodic Metalcore band who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in October last year. I’ve been following their progress for the past year and already know that they’re going to be huge. Today marked their third show and despite some initial technical issues with the samples, they managed to put on a highly impressive performance. They played tracks from their upcoming EP including 'Make It Stop', 'Nightmare' and their debut single 'Heart'!
Vocalist Mitch tore up the stage with some heavy hitting, unrelenting screams and got a few mic grabs from the crowd. Guitarist Josh is very much a character, pulling off plenty of animated stunts on stage. I really admired how honest and genuine this band is especially when it comes to awareness around mental illness and domestic violence. Being able to speak up about both of these things is really important.
WILD EYED LIKE FIREFLIES are a Progressive Post-Hardcore band from Geelong. Honestly, I had mixed feelings about their performance. The biggest problem was the sound quality with vocalist Maddy getting drowned out by the other instruments. I really didn’t know how to take this band as they come off as off kilter, quirky and a little weird but musically they do have a lot of potential. I like the blend of heavy breakdowns with softer piano touches and the balance of vocal duties between Maddy and guitarist Aidan. They played several songs including 'Collapsing: Forest' and the 'Disregard:' trilogy of Past/Sanity/Me.
WOLF ROTH VANTAGE are an Alternative Metal band who like WELF are also from Geelong. The band put on a pretty solid performance and managed to get an intensely hectic mosh pit going during the middle of their set. Hayden’s vocals were really tight especially the cleans during the slower songs. You can check out their songs 'Red', 'Like Rain' and 'Deteriorate' on their Triple J Unearthed page here.
THE AVENUE PROJECT are a six-piece Hardcore Punk Rock band from Melbourne. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for these guys but make sure you check out my review of their debut EP “Havoc” here: