Max & Iggor Cavalera Return to Roots
Astor Theatre, Perth WA
September 26th, 2017
Roots BLOODY Roots! That’s right, metal heads rejoice for one of the most important gigs of the year. Important, why? Well because it’s not every day that you get to catch the Cavalera brothers ripping through the legendary record from front to back; I guess a 20 year anniversary is a good opportunity for it, right? When you think of Brazilian metal, you immediately think of Max Cavalera, and that’s exactly what we were going to get on this fine evening.
The heritage listed venue of the Astor Theatre was a wonderful place for this institutional event to take place. The Beaufort street property sold out for the evening and the usual queues commenced with metal-heads sporting our uniform of all-black.
Beers, beers, beers! It’s as if they were scarce in the way they were being purchased – or maybe it was because we were struggling to adjust from a public holiday the day before – or better yet, maybe it’s because “why the hell not?”
Kicking things off for the evening were a band called Skindred. Usually we try to use cute little adjectives for musicians in our review, but these guys were so unique and eclectic, that it’s genuinely hard to describe in a word or two. The welsh outfit who had visited Australia before, came on stage ready to rumble. The mere showmanship of front-man Benji Webbe was worth rocking up early for. Skindred are a band who fuse elements of reggae with our more familiar and heavy side of familiarisation; and they do it well. Webbe demonstrated a variation in capabilities – from his authentic reggae vocal effort to his demonic growl to deep riffs. The singer used his microphone to be a spokesperson for society and endorsed positive change in the world and encouraged others too, while taking them on that journey. With a cool set of shades and a companion UK flag, the front-man emulated the image of an ideal front-man. The band were clearly in their element as they shredded through the hour-long set, and left the packed room hungry for more.
In the Astor theatre there are several rows of seating at the back (obviously for proper theatrics as opposed to a metal gig) – but it was amusing to watch people leave their sets to get amongst the action in the front, which was literally shoulder-to-shoulder.
Time to find prime position, people! We all needed to get the perfect spot for a glimpse of the Cavalera brothers doing what they seriously do best. At 9 o’clock sharp, the house music ceased and the screaming ensued. Drummer Iggor Cavalera was the first to appear on stage, in a singlet and with a cheeky grin on his face. The brothers brought a guitarist and bassist with them to complete the band and deliver a rendition of the record that did it justice (and that it did).
The almighty Max Cavalera walked on stage holding the body of his guitar in the air, signalling to the audience. Dressed in cargo shorts, a Motorhead patched sleeveless denim jacket and with his monstrous dreadlocks tied up, he appeared just how we expected (metal as fuck in case you were wondering). Without any introductions, the all so familiar riffs to ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ erupted throughout the venue and the circle pit got some momentum. It was bittersweet to hear the title track so early in the night but it definitely injected some adrenaline into our bodies.
As with many albums played in full, the artists do not mess about on stage, as there is usually quite an itinerary to get through – a tracklist to be precise. It certainly makes for an interesting mood when fans know exactly what they’re going to hear next. From Max yelling in his Brazilian accent ‘what goes around comes around’ repeatedly during ‘Straighthate’ to the native chants at the start of ‘Itsari’, it felt genuinely like the classic Sepultura era that we’ve all fallen in love with over the years. Max’s voice freakin’ roared through the venues and managed to pierce the blistering guitars that were shredding on either side of him. Igor was in his own world pounding through the setlist like a morning routine.
The stage was on fire and the energy was electric. With a Brazilian flag on the left side of the stage and an Australian flag on the right, it felt like the perfect integration. The guitarist was starkly reminiscent of Slayer’s Kerry King in the way he looked and the way he banged his head to same rhythm of King – it even took a squint or two to make sure it wasn’t the guitar legend himself (the lack of scalp tatts gave it away).
Max and Igor Cavalera continued through the record and finished off with ‘Dictatorshit’ before Max thanked the crowd and informed us that they’d be back to have some fun if we scream loud enough. Well, it didn’t take much of an encore request for the band to return with all smiles. The band played a medley of covers including Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ and even some AC/DC as well which the Aussie fans frothed on, obviously. Before departing, they played ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ once more because, well just because, okay?!
I don’t think fans left the gig upset, particularly after Perth missed Sepultura’s most recent tour, and more to the point that the band isn’t what it used to anyway. The evening was certainly one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ shindigs that people will remember and talk about for many years to come.
Gig Review by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Revisit Max Cavalera‘s co-hosting duties on our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast here
Photo Gallery by Denis Radacic. Please credit Den Rad and Wall of Sound if you reuse.
Max & Iggor Cavalera