The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Gig Review 12th May @ Max Watts, Melbourne VIC

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Don’t You Fake It 10th Anniversary Tour
Max Watts, Melbourne VIC
12th May, 2017
Support – Young Lions

Nostalgia sells. You know it, I know it, and booking agents the world-wide are fast capitalising on it. Whether it be an unashamed national retro rampage of 90’s has-beens or one last hurrah from a once revered rocker, nothing hits you and your disillusioned generation in the face harder than all collectively agreeing that music ‘ain’t what it used to be’.

“Play your old stuff” is something musicians hear and are heckled with on a regular basis. It may be an insult, it may be irritating, but deep down, this jeer is an expression of admiration. A love for a part a diverse career. Yes, we understand that they have moved on and improved their craft, but to we the fans, that old stuff is what connected us with them the most. That old stuff meant something.

With all that being said, Melbourne’s premiere hardrock venue Max Watts gave Florida natives The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus a fitting stage for the second show of their Don’t You Fake It 10th Anniversary Tour. Whilst their fans can now legally buy their own alcohol, the show reflected all of the youthful exuberance that has made this band a staple at festivals throughout their early career.

Kicking off the night, Brisbane boys Young Lions are a passionate, rousing and astonishingly focused band on the verge of stardom. Given just 40 minutes, the multi-talented bunch unexpectedly blasted through a swill of raw, massive-sounding cuts. Frequent rallying cries and colossal choruses aside, the more dramatic efforts woven within thankfully avoided a relentless formula of over-dramatisation. Keep an eye on these lads.

Wasting no time, Red Jump Suit Apparatus (RJA) frontman Ronnie Winter warmly welcomed the crowd before the high-octane tempo ‘In Fate’s Hands’ down poured its fiery riffs and angst on all in attendance. The albums second track and more introspective and melodic ‘Waiting’ followed soon after with great cheer. Much like Hawthorn Heights and Madina Lake, RJA has a way about mixing sweet with sour, and this was never more present than in the powerful hand-clapping rock punch ‘False Pretense’. Musically, the band’s sound is instantly recognizable. An amalgamation of emo, pop-punk and screamo make up the promising sound which I personally held dear during my teenage years. Tonight, RJA may not be 21 anymore, but they sure as hell make us wish we were.

As an awakening, hook-heavy relic of alt-rock, ‘Face Down’ was obviously greeted with the loudest applause. The progressive ode is dedicated to the awareness of domestic and sexual abuse, often reportedly overlooked within the pop-punk scene. This twisted tale thankfully informs and educates rather than subjects’ women to groupie-dom and out-dated stereotypes. Belting out hits like, ‘Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet’ and ‘Cat and Mouse’, the crowd joined in the melodies and sang so loudly RJA themselves rested and filmed it on their phones. It was however, the fragile heartfelt ballad ‘Your Guardian Angel’ which still today speaks volumes of the band’s versatility. As a slow-burn, acoustic tale that eventually builds up into a heavier break, it is Winter’s hauntingly soft vocals which shine as they shift into genuine wails of sincere emotion that echo long after the song concludes.

Anniversary Tours will always be unique and special. An authentic throwback you can never get over, no matter how many years pass by. Case in point with Don’t You Fake It and how teenagers who came to discover the album are now in the midst of young adulthood. It’s incredible to think that ten years since this album was released, people still understand it’s raw meaning and feel the need to escape within. A moment to relive the past, rewrite the wrongs and reflect on how far you’ve since come.

For me, Don’t You Fake It holds incredible significance. I learnt how to play guitar thanks to this album. I dressed like Ronnie and copied his hairstyles. My first crush and I would make out to this on repeat and I must admit I used this as a bridge towards heavier music. Maybe I’m biased, or maybe I just can’t let go, but it is obvious that neither can RJA and everyone is fine with that.

Review by Jimmy Russell (@jamco17)


The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Don’t You Fake It 10th Anniversary Tour

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