Headliner: Bare Bones
Supports: Arteries, Reliqa, Wolf Creek
Date: 9th August 2019
Venue: Oxford Art Factory Gallery
Presented By: Resist Presents
Photos: Sams J. Bellwood
- Wolf Creek -
Starting the night strong, Wolf Creek set the stage with a sound that served to subvert your expectations when it comes to heavy music; drawing elements of grunge, hard-core, alternative rock, nu metal and even some odd nods to electronica, all of which bring a distinct dynamic to their brutality. It’s as catchy as it is crushing, and Chase Bosward’s aggressive, yet oddly melodic vocal performance weaves it all together on top of a tight band. You’ll be hearing a grunge-infused chorus transition straight into something djenty out of absolutely nowhere, and that sense unpredictability is exactly what I love to hear in new music. The band were quite static throughout their set however, barely moving where they could have really utilized their presence to help sell the energy of their sound furthermore. For instance, whilst quick bursts of hype from Boswald were excellent for encouraging audience engagement, he had a tendency to reliably turn his back to the audience, which I felt really hindered that potential connection with the crowd. All in all, I really dug Wolf Creek’s sound and performance, but I do feel that with some development of stage cohesiveness and crowd connection, they would truly be a top-notch heavy act that I’d absolutely recommend everyone go out and see sometime!
- Reliqa -
Kicking off their set, Reliqa seized your attention immediately; bursting into the set with boundless energy that was met with a mosh, regardless of a few little technical difficulties that barely faltered their huge opening. Once everything had kicked into full gear, you could be sure that it wasn’t going to stop until the end. Moshing and audience participation ensued. Monique connected with the audience effectively; getting amongst the crowd where necessary; time and time again encouraging the crowd to come forward and sing along with her on essential lyrical cues. A definite highlight of this aspect came in ‘Earthbound’, with crowd chants effectively carrying the set’s energy through what is easily Reliqa’s most sombre piece of music yet. In addition, a loud, audience-wide happy birthday sing along for bassist Miles Knox enhanced that vibe furthermore. It was something truly beautiful. The band made good use of their stage space, and even with a keyboard taking up some considerable amount of room, they worked well with what they had and delivered an engaging, heartfelt performance! Be sure to catch Reliqa’s set at this year’s BIGSOUND Festival if you get the chance. You will not regret it.
- Arteries -
Straight off the bat, Arteries are crazy heavy. Without beating around the bush, they were easily the loudest act of the night. A full sonic assault of 8 string brutality and blood curdling shrieks that strangle your ears right from the word go. Coming as no strangers to the Oxford Art Factory Gallery Bar, having performed at this year’s UsFest; Arteries made good use of their performance space, flailing around their instruments on appropriate cues, sections of rhythmic unpredictability, and banging their heads in synch with each other whenever things got real groovy. In addition, the band’s own multi-colour floor lights added much to their ominous vibe; and with frontman Brendan Dafter’s dynamic of eerie murmuring mixed with some of the most brutal vocals I’ve ever heard live, everything came together to form a set that any fan of hardcore music needs to witness. Arteries go hard!
- Bare Bones -
Although, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; if there’s one thing that can be said about Sydney Hard Rockers Bare Bones, they are a damn good time live! If you’re not yet familiar with them, Bare Bones take huge cues of inspiration from old-school hard rock and punk, with call-backs to the likes of Metallica and Motörhead! But what makes them so special is their unique flavour; a true rock music mutation, each song translating to the live set like a powerhouse anthem in a stadium, all the while whacking you in the jaw with a brew of elements from modern metal and hardcore. From the start, Bare Bones were all in; a flurry of synchronised head banging kept up, band member call and responses held the energy high, and vocalist Tom Kennedy screamed frantically amongst an eager crowd that was caught in a mosh. It may have been their second show of the year following Brisbane’s Dead of Winter Festival, but you’d have been convinced they’d been playing all year long. The room’s focus was locked to the stage as everyone at the front was breaking a sweat, grooving along to a sound that was instantly memorable with just the right amount of heaviness to draw hardcore crowd-goers alike. Things really picked up with ‘Strange Brew’ however; the pit metamorphosing in a hectic frenzy that kind of resembled the clashing of marbles in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. I absolutely had to get amongst it, and god damn, do I not regret it… well, maybe a little bit on a physical front. I definitely felt that one in the morning, not gonna lie. Nonetheless, Bare Bones were damn impressive and an absolute blast to finish the night! Whether you love your heavies or your rock anthems, these guys are an absolute treat to witness live.