September 3rd, 2017
Supports: Mark Rose & Sienna Skies & River Oaks
Sometimes in life, you realise you’ve gotten old. You look in the mirror and realise Myspace was, totes, ten years ago and you find yourself gazing longingly at your My Chemical Romance shirt, wishing, just for a second, you could flip back your emo fringe one final time. Well tonight, you can do just that because Hawthorne Heights are in town to sate, whatever (emo)tional desire you’ve desperately craved, since you cut your hair and got a real job.
Kicking things off tonight is Mark Rose from Spitalfield – appearing onstage armed only with his guitar and a handful of songs, he begins the set with a surprisingly stirring rendition of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, which manages to be equal parts heartfelt and inventive in execution. Mr Rose continues along this streak, being the kind of guy you would hear at a bar on a weeknight, but with the added advantage, of knowing something other than a generic cover of ‘Wonderwall’.
Following up is the Australian hardcore legends Sienna Skies – Wasting little time as they launch into their set of generic, but rather pleasant metalcore theatrics. Front-man Thomas Pirozzi cuts an ominous figure as he screams his pain to the heavens and entices all those who watch with his alluring cleans. Overall, the set is the perfect kick off before the first act of the one and only Hawthorne Heights.
Beginning tonight with one of two, classic emo albums, it’s hard to really put into words the value nostalgia has on the human condition. But it’s clear from the moment JT Woodruff and his merry band take to the stage; Hawthorne Heights are here to recapture your inner 16-year-old.
Commencing with the gut punching chords of ‘Life On Standby’ from the seminal classic Silence In Black and White, the crowd bangs and shakes themselves into a frenzy – screaming every lyric back like they’ve just inhabited the bodies of 16-year-old children, living off binge drinking and teenage angst. It’s hit after hit as songs like ‘Niki FM’ leave the crowd positively beaming, as front-man JT Woodruff oozes a level of authenticity rarely seen in bands of this calibre. Other songs such as ‘Silver Bullet’ invoke a time long ago when alternative rock was king of the airwaves and Taylor Swift had yet to destroy our lives with ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ and only add to the sense of celebratory nostalgia permeating every single note played tonight.
In-between this is River Oaks who disappointingly just comes with nothing but his acoustic guitar. Sadly, after the first set from Hawthorne Heights, his music mostly just comes across as a way to give the band time to hang out with their fans for 40 minutes. Calling it uninteresting seems rather justified when many punters, use his set to refuel themselves with alcohol, ultimately culminating in a set filled with forgettable noise.
But at least it serves a function of making the next set from Woodruff and co as equally impactful as the first.
Coming back onstage for one final time tonight, playing the seminal If Only We Were Lonely, Woodruff and his band mates are glowing as the opening chords of ‘This Is Who We Are’ strap you in a time machine and invoke images of unrequited high school love and depression. The songs keep coming as you bask in your own lost youth as the likes of ‘Saying Sorry’ and ‘Dead in the Water’ make you remember the time you (probably) cried in the rain and sent angry texts to your parents.
Ending the set with the only song they could have ended it on, there are no words to accurately describe the sheer joy, of every single person in a room, screaming the lyrics to the iconic ode to emo culture ‘Ohio is for Lovers’ one final time before jumping out of the time machine and back into our adult lives.
Hawthorne Heights are the perfect encapsulation of a bygone era when emo was king and Tom was your first friend on Myspace. If you want to forget your life for a single night and remember when you were a teenager; they are simply an unmissable experience.
Written by: Kaydan Howison
Photo Gallery courtesy of Gethin Hill (Gethin Hill Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Gethin Hill if you repost.
Hawthorne Heights – Australian Tour
with River Oaks, Sienna Skies & Mark Rose
Monday 4th September @ Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD