Badlands, Perth WA
May 23rd, 2018
Supports: Deadspace and Icarus Lives
What started out as a studio project for Swedish producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren over time morphed into a touring band. Let’s face it, those songs are just too damn good not to take to the people. If you, like me are a fan of the man, and the band (the collective noun is Painhead) the announcement of the first ever Australian tour would have had you punching the air in excitement, and after a few almost false starts the roller coaster ride of are they, aren’t they, was answered on Wednesday night with the band kicking things off in style in Perth.
Tonight was a series of firsts for me, first time seeing PAIN, also the first time seeing the two support acts in Icarus Lives and Deadspace.
Smeared in black war paint Perth locals Icarus Lives came to rock. The five-piece had the honour of opening the first ever PAIN tour of Australia. They didn’t disappoint. Heavy as fuck guitars with a pounding rhythm section lead on vocals by Sara Murray, Icuras Lives entertained the early punters. Kicking things off for a band like PAIN is a big ask. The Perth young guns were more than up to the task, tearing through an all too short set of heavy tunes off their debut album Vanta Black. I wasn’t the only one left impressed.
Next up Deadspace. More makeup, this time ghostly white faces looking morbid and well, dead. Five evil sons (and daughter) of Satan emitted a sound from the depths of hell itself. Lead singer Chris Gebauer stalked the stage like an evil wraith spewing vocals that would have the Exorcist himself running for cover. Black, atmospheric and crushingly heavy, the boys and girl certainly added a brutal element to the night. I have to say this style of metal isn’t usually in my wheelhouse but Deadspace may just be my new favourite creepy as fuck metal band. All I can say is “watch this (dead) space”.
All hail Peter Tägtgren and PAIN! ‘Twas the night for war paint, with the Swedes smeared and ready for battle. The three imposing figures of Tägtgren, guitarist Greger Andersson and bass player Johan Husgafvel stood at the front of the Badlands stage commanding all before them. Here we are witnessing live the genius of Peter Tägtgren. It’s hard to pin PAIN to a genre, it’s heavy, it’s metal, but it’s so much more, there are lashings of synth and orchestral arrangements. For a band that started as an experimental studio project, they absolutely kill it live! Sure it’s lacking the slick almost faultless production but the heaviness and pure vibe are unmatched. ‘I Wish That You Could Hate Me’ was absolutely crushing. Tägtgren has been compared to Trent Reznor, this song was more Nine Inch Nails than Nine Inch Nails. Speaking of other bands, Steel Panther may have the sleazy lyric market cornered, but no one does it with more style than PAIN with ‘Call Me’.
I love a surprise at a gig and there was none more surprising when Tägtgren disappeared off stage only to pop up out of thin air next to me and scream “LETS GO!” before tearing off back towards the stage. With no time for a selfie or even a high five, I was just happy to be that much closer to a legend.
From one legend to another, the encore included a cover of The Beatles classic ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Personally, I think there are some songs you just shouldn’t touch and that usually includes the entire Beatles catalogue…. Until now. The band paid homage and bought the pain, all the lonely people never sounded so good.
I’m calling it now, this was the best gig I have been to this year, let’s do it again soon!
Reviewed by Gareth Williams
Revisit our interview with PAIN‘s Peter Tägtgren here
PAIN – Coming Home Australian Tour
May 24 @ Fowlers Live, Adelaide
May 25 @ Max Watts, Melbourne
May 26 @ The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
May 27 @ The Zoo, Brisbane
*Witchgrinder not appearing