Story of the Year
The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
May 3rd 2018
Support: Void of Vision and Skies Collide
Finally, after a long seven year hiatus, a couple of member changes (all familiar faces though) and a fuckin’ killer new album called Wolves (my review here), Story of the Year finally made their return to Australia, a county that has welcomed the boys in with open arms for the better part of the past decade and a half, including several sold out tours… unfortunately dropped the ball in attendance last night. Like literally no more than 100 people walked through the doors of The Triffid which, in two ways, was good and bad. Good for those who caught the band because we had room to move around freely in an up close an intimate setting with one of the best post-hardcore band of our time and bad because the band flew all this way for a handful of fans… I felt bad for the guys, like really bad but I tried to not let that get in the way of the great night we ended up having with them as they played an extensive venture through their back catalogue.
Kicking off the evening were locals Skies Collide, a local pop rock four-piece fronted by Brittany Wilson whose only struggle of the night was not being able to get the lid off her bottle of water, as she joked at one point to the audience. Even though there was only a handful of punters through the door at this point, they still gave their all showing off the talent that have brooding behind them. The band self-funded and released their debut album The Dream & The Lie and after hearing several songs from it, I can safely say, without a word of a lie, given a few more years and experience, they could actually be a fantastic upcoming band akin to that of Tonight Alive, Paramore or Dream State. I will gladly say this now, keep an eye out for Skies Collide, they will go places.
Next up, the boys in Void of Vision played a stripped back set compared to their high energy and hectic show at UNIFY earlier this year when I last caught them/saw them for the first time. It didn’t matter that there was a lack of people in the venue, they played as if they were playing to 1000 people. Frontman Jack Bergin urged the crowd to get close and at times mentioned “I know we’re a heavy band, but you can still get into it”, but even though SOTY‘s fans grew up with their heavier music, there was still only about 5 or 6 guys forming a circle pit and moshing hard. Both guitarists James Mckendrick and Mitch Fairlie riffed like it was their last day on earth as the band played a half hour set consisting of older songs from their 2016 album Children Of Chrome and new tracks from their Disturbia EP, released last year. Stand out moment of the night goes to ‘Grey Area‘ which invoked the mosh inside almost everyone with heads banging, bodies (of those game to enter the mosh) bashing into each other and drummer George Murphy playing out the last few beats of the song as the band excited after thanking those who made it out early to check them out.
Next up, the main event Story of the Year, now to set the scene of why I love these guys so much, my first experience where I survived a moshpit came from when the band were in Australia for The Black Swan tour (circa 2008/09), I remember getting absolutely crushed due to a sell out at The Tivoli but the one thing that kept me there was when frontman Dan Marsala jumped on the barrier and leaned into the crowd grasping at my outstretched hand and holding me up as I held him stationary for the song. Back before Twitter/Facebook allowed fans to get close to their favourite musicians, that was the way you did it and from that moment I was a fan, catching the band at their follow up tour in 2010 for their album The Constant and their appearance at the Counter Revolution Festival in 2011. I was gutted when I missed the 2014’s 10th Anniversary of Page Avenue Tour which from all accounts was just as good as expected so there has been a good solid seven years since last seeing the boys live, just as long as their most recent hiatus.
The band stepped onto the stage and it didn’t matter if there were 50 or 500 people there, they still put on one of the most fun shows I’ve ever had the chance to see them play in Australia, literally positioned myself frontrow (with plenty of space to strect out) as guitarist Ryan Phillips stood in front of me, drummer Josh Wills positioned himself on the drums and bassist Adam ‘The Skull’ Russell, triumphantly strutted back on stage with his bandmates with Dan taking the lead position and jumping straight into ‘How Can We Go On‘ from new album Wolves. It hadn’t even been 3 minutes in and everyone had already started picking up a sweat with the energy the band was producing and the bodies moving around. ‘And The Hero Will Drown‘ followed and goddamn we all got into it, screaming at the top of our lungs while the band played along with us it seemed. It was tight, loud and scream invoking. Throughout the night the band addressed the lack of punters in the doors but didn’t let it get to them as they smashed out another new track, lead single ‘Bang Bang‘ which, surprisingly, most of the crowd knew the words to. Adam Russell paraded across the stage just like the good old days (and between you and I, the man looks like he hasn’t aged a day).
‘Anthem Of Our Dying Day‘ was up next and the sing-a-longs continued with everyone screaming the chorus at the top of their lungs “from up here the city lights burn, like a thousand miles of fire and I’m here to sing this anthem, of our dying day”, including the chest bellowing screams which Dan Marsala eased through without issue. ‘The Antidote‘ kept the mood flowing before Ryan Phillip‘s guitar solo for ‘Youth‘ was unfortunately cut short due to a technical issue after he smacked his guitar into his microphone stand, not to worry though, a quick backflip off the speakers made up for the mishap and the boys launched into it’s follow up song ‘I Swear, I’m Okay‘, showing off the band’s slower, melodic side. There were plenty of call outs from the crowd asking for the band to show off their belly buttons and front bums by this point of the night, some drunker than others it seemed, but the band lapped it up and laughed along the way too. The boys also played ‘Miracle‘ from Wolves which was well received. ‘In The Shadows‘ however, brought back the heaviness and the front of the stage erupted into a frenzy of bodies bashing into each other, it’s at this point I realised A LOT of those attending didn’t know what a circle it was, everyone just kinda stood in a circle while two or three guys bumped into each other. It was more cute than rockin’ compared to when the band visited 10 years ago, proving we all got old in that time. ‘Take Me Back‘ from In The Wake Of Determination kept the momentum going with Dan highlighting how much Australian fans loved that album compared to the rest of the world. After ‘A Part Of Me‘ the boys jumped straight back into another ITWOD banger with ‘Our Time Is Now‘, there were screams, there were drunk guys and girls running into everything sight and there were big smiles everywhere you looked, especially when they heaviness of ‘Choose Your Fate‘ blasted through the speakers next.
The night started to close out with ‘Goodnight, My Love‘, ‘Dive Right In‘ and the epic ‘Praying For Rain‘ featuring drummer Josh Wills smashing away at his kit for no less than 15 minutes straight. The instrumental section at the end showcased Ryan, Adam and Josh working together while Dan left the stage allowing them to shine in centre stage. The boys reemerged shortly after and fuckin hell what an encore we received with ‘“Is This My Fate,” He Asked Them‘ absolutely ruining any partial hearing we may have had left. One of the better metal influenced tracks from the band’s catalogue and something I don’t have recollection of them playing throughout the years I’ve been attending their shows. Everyone chanting “Burn, Burn Burn” and “When Will You Learn?” as they grabbed the closest person to them and jumped around with the last ounce of energy they had left in them, which took us all up to the closing track of the night, ‘Until the Day I Die‘, resulting in mass sing-a-longs, crowd surges and at one point everyone jumping along in unison. The band thanked everyone for coming and screamed “See you at the bar” before exiting the stage for the night.
The thing I’ve always loved about Story of the Year is, no matter how full or how empty the room is, you’re going to get one of the most energetic and heartfelt sets you’ve ever seen at a live show. These guys have only gotten better with age and while it was disappointing seeing The Triffid so empty (it was a school night, there were two other gigs on + a football game), those who ventured out to see them, left knowing we had a great night, in an intimate setting with one of our favourite bands from the 2000’s who still to this day continue to impress. I hope this doesn’t deter them from coming back but if you’ve been in two minds about seeing them in Sydney and Melbourne, change that and get your ticket today.
Gig Review by Browny @brownypaul
How Can We Go On
And The Hero Will Drown
Anthem Of Our Dying Day
I Swear, I’m Okay
In The Shadows
Take Me Back
A Part Of Me
Our Time Is Now
Choose Your Fate
Goodnight, My Love
Dive Right In
Praying For Rain
“Is This My Fate?” He Asked Them
Until The Day I Die
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Bravo to @storyoftheyearband last night for putting on one hell of a fuckin show despite the lack of attendees. Their energy never dies and my appreciation for the live shows will always remain at an all time high. Thank you @danmarsala @josh_wills29 @ryan_t_phillips @adamtheskull. Review up soon at WallOfSoundAU.com @wallofsoundau
Revisit SOTY frontman Dan Marsala co-hosting Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall episode #39 right here
Photo Gallery courtesy of Gethin Hill (Gethin Hill Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Gethin Hill if you repost.
Void of Vision
Story of the Year
Story of the Year – Wolves Australian Tour
with Void of Vision
5th May – Sydney – The Metro Theatre
6th May – Melbourne – 170 Russell