Date: 26th of April, 2019
Venue: The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Presented By: MJR and The Faction
Photos: Kyle Burgess
Legendary American alternative metal ensemble Sevendust are a band that are known for their unique flavour of heavy tunes, a sound that they assembled in the mid 90’s and one that they have been reinventing with each album since. Upon hearing that they were making their way to Australia and New Zealand for their latest tour, I was absolutely ecstatic that I’d finally get a chance to see them, and that feeling was only further enhanced by the announcement that Reliqa and RedHook, two bands amongst my absolute local scene favourites, would be joining them on support slots! I knew there was no chance in hell that I’d miss this one, and believe me when I say it was 100% worth it!
- Reliqa -
Central Coast alt-metallers Reliqa took to the stage for a monumentally epic opening to begin the night; bursting straight into a dope instrumental intro with Brandon Lloyd, Miles Knox and Shannon Griesberg owning the stage on guitar, bass and drums respectively! As frontwoman Monique Pym made her way to the front and centre, Reliqa lead us into ‘Insomnia’, a staple track and the very first single to come off their debut EP "Afterlight"! Right off the bat you could tell that you were in for one hell of a treat, and the audience were absolutely on board. It was damn incredible to see so much support for the earliest band and I won’t lie, they definitely earned it. Although somewhat timid at first, Monique quickly picked up pace and by the time ‘Insomnia’ was through, she was undoubtedly in full throttle; kicking ass with the rest of her quartet ensemble through a set of glorious banger filled tracks from their second EP "Eventide", including ‘Into Fire’, ‘Hangman’ and one my personal favourites, ‘The Halfway Point’! Now, despite the undeniably frequent emphasis they put on heaviness, breakdowns and face melting shreds, Reliqa still found space in their set to slow things down with the incredible ‘Earthbound’, and even though this brought with it a huge downward shift in dynamics, the audience still found a vibe that held their attention undivided, and if you asked me, I’d say the reaction to ‘Earthbound’ was one of the best all night; truly a testament to Reliqa’s proficiency in composing music that is both dynamic and captivating! Closing the set, ‘Doomed’ sends things off for Reliqa in a huge way, showing off their talents by employing moments of incredibly groovy riff-age, crushing breakdowns and experimentally quirky sections that draw influence from areas such as hip-hop and electronica! I will say however that Monique’s rap delivery could use some tightening up, but don’t assume for a second that it detracts any considerable amount of amazement from what Reliqa bring to their performance. Their set was truly awe-inspiring, and it brings me nothing but joy to see local legends sprout with such amazing opportunities to show the world what their made of. The future for heavy music is bright thanks to bands like Reliqa, and if you haven’t checked them out already, then what are you waiting for!?
- RedHook -
Speaking of local legends… Sydney’s own self-proclaimed ‘Screaming rap rock electro pop mutants’ RedHook were up next to continue bringing the hype, and hype they absolutely did! Briefly setting in the vibe as the lights faded and a short, ambient intro track began to play, RedHook quickly cut to the chase, scurrying to the stage and beginning their set in full, gloriously chaotic fashion; frontwoman Emmy Mack jumping right into an explosion of fantastic fury, sick riffs and heavy beats, complete with incredibly effective stage presence, chocked full of synchronised jumping, spins and just about everything you could ask for from a live local heavy group! Band member communication from the get go was absolutely on-point, and this would be a consistent staple of strength throughout their set, especially as they smash through their tightest bangers such as ‘Minute on Fire’, ‘Paralysed’ and a solid new tune! RedHook don’t muck around, they set out to do one thing and they do it with boundless badass-ery! Speaking of badass-ery, their live cover of Rage Against the Machine’s classic ‘Guerrilla Radio’ was just about everything that I needed in my life and it was a stark addition to further showcase Emmy’s diverse vocal ability! The entire room was filled with the thunder of audience chanting and there was no shortage of cheeky mic grabs, courtesy of Emmy as she stood at the front of the crowd during the bridge. It was simply beautiful, and easily the perfect opportunity to transition into their biggest hit ‘Turn Up the Stereotype’! The audience was eager and excited! Shortly after, RedHook then brought their set to a satisfyingly aggressive conclusion. Guitarist Craig Wilkinson and bassist Matt Coleman (aka. Suburban) screamed alongside Emmy for “your heroes are bullshit” in a manner of pure kickass angst and adrenaline! What a set that was! RedHook are without a doubt, one of Aussie music’s best and most exciting local live experiences right now. This is a band to get behind, so make sure you make it down to their next local show because RedHook are simply unfuckwithable!
- Sevendust -
As the room fell to pitch black, it was finally time for the American alternative metal legends Sevendust to take to stage for the ultimate culmination of hype that had been brewing up since the night’s opening! The room began to erupt, shouts of “Sevendust” repeating over and over as we all filled ourselves with anticipation for their appearance and as soon as we finally saw them, that eruption instantly evolved into a total aural atomic detonation. The ensemble began their set with the fiery ‘Dirty’, the debut single of their latest LP "All I See is War" and a favourite of mine! The crowd was absolutely animated, chanting, moshing and jumping till the room began to shake, and this did not falter, especially during such standouts as ‘Denial’, ‘Shine’ and ‘Praise’! Clearly impressed with the reception, frontman Lajon Witherspoon referenced their last show in Brisbane, putting us Sydney-siders up to the challenge to kick their ass, and although I can’t speak for Brisbane… I don’t think a single soul in the room was disappointed that night. What I thoroughly enjoyed the most about Sevendust’s set however, was just how incredibly down to earth it felt; it was commanding yet so amazingly sombre, and it had an un-killable vibe that I go as far as to call it wholesome. This was only made possible due to Lajon’s unmistakable passion for not only his profession as a musician, but the powerful effect music has on life itself and the overall importance of life. Never have I seen a performer of any kind appear so emotionally invested in what they were expressing on stage, and Lajon presented himself so genuinely and every ounce of emotion felt 100% real. This perfect balance of heart and their powerful alt-metal punch is ultimately what I felt made their set and it was so incredible, especially when taking in to consideration just how long Sevendust have been performing. Sevendust concluded their set with a two-song encore consisting of ‘Black’ and ‘Face To Face’ and once again, the vibe from both band and audience alike was huge, loud, and simply phenomenal. A pleasing end to an amazing night of incredible performances! Unforgettable, I hope to catch Sevendust again in the near future!