Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
October 28th, 2018
Supports: Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder
How to make a fantastic tour. Start with the best heavy band we have in Australia, add a touch of metalcore giants, a dash of heavy AF deathcore sounds, chuck in some pyro, bone-crushing riffs, a rotating drum machine, guttural screams, climactic fireworks and you’ve got one hell of a fuckin Australian Tour. Parkway Drive’s Reverence Tour saw the Byron Bay locals hit the road with Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder for their first ever performances with their European Stage setups and let me tell you it was well worth the wait.
Thy Art Is Murder met fans early for a reminder of how heavy Australian music can be. The deathcore mad men hit the ground running with plenty of fan favourite tracks from their back catalogue including ‘Dear Desolation‘, ‘Holy War‘ and ‘Reign of Darkness‘. I had never seen the Riverstage so full during the time an opening act played, which goes to show just how powerfully received this lineup is. Frontman CJ McMahon made lighthearted jokes about the bands on the tour saying something along the lines of “Some of you listen to Parkway and you might also listen to Post Malone too” referencing the difference in sound between them and Parkway nowadays… It was all a bit of fun though and they powered through the rest of their performance, despite a bit of rain attempting to ruin the evening’s festivities. The set wrapped up with ‘Puppet Master‘ which sent everyone positioned close to the stage into a frenzy.
By the time Killswitch Engage returned to the stage, everyone had found their positions for the rest of the night and it didn’t matter if you were up close or way towards the back, the show these legends put on was enjoyable for all. Vocalist Jesse Leach sounding so clean and crisp with his singing following his recent vocal surgery and guitarist Adam D proved why he’s one of the best/funniest performers in the business right now galavanting across the stage at high speed, playing one-handed whilst waving to the crowd with an enormous Cheshire cat grin across his face. It didn’t matter that in a weird, full circle kind of way, Parkway’s producer of their first two albums was now opening for the metal giants because they owned that fucking stage like it was their own show. Alllll the hits were played including ‘Rose of Sharyn‘, ‘Alone I Stand‘, ‘Strength of the Mind‘ and what seemed like a six-song closer with fan favourites ‘My Curse‘, ‘Just Barely Breathing‘, ‘My Last Serenade‘, ‘The End of Heartache‘, ‘Hate By Design‘ and ‘In Due Time‘ rounding out their short, but welcoming set. Even the massive lineup for the male toilets were singing along in unison to every word when I had to duck up to eradicate the copious amounts of beer I had prior to their set. You could just tell these men loved being in our presence just as much we did watching them. hey left the stage to a thunderous applause and cheers as the stage crew raced to set up for the epic finale.
Now, I’m 31 years old and wayyyyy to old to be moshing with a few hundred men and women bigger and rougher than I, but the minute ‘Wishing Wells‘ came on, I lost all my inhibitions and raced for that fucking concrete section quicker than you can say “are you keen to go in?” The band were in fine form, powering through the opening track of their new album Reverence and it was as well received as you’d imagine. Frontman Winston McCall‘s growling of the lyrics “BURN YOUR HEAVEN, FLOOD YOUR HELL” sent shivers up my spine as I finally heard them in person and for those who say he’s gone soft with his unclean vocals, I urge you to retract your statement when you hear this. The whole gang was in fine form except a visibly absent Jeff Ling, who was replaced by Thy Art Is Murder guitarist Andy Marsh, but that didn’t stop the band from dishing out one hell of an opener. Flames, lights and loud bangs added to the experience as a whole.
Following this was pirate metal anthem ‘Prey‘ which also produced one of the craziest breakdown drops I’ve experienced at a Parkway show. There was not one single body standing still the minute the words “YOU BETTER PREYYYYY” were screamed at the top of Winston’s lungs and you only had to look back towards the hill of the venue (when you weren’t copping barges and elbows in the mosh) just to see how many people were getting into it. This song was fun, fast and a great way to get us all pumped for what was still yet to come. But the excitement didn’t stop yet, almost instantly the band jumped straight into ‘Carrion‘ which resulted in yet another all-in sing-a-long from both the blokes on stage and the SOLD OUT crowd of 9,500 punters in attendance which carried on (no pun intended) into IRE jam, ‘Vice Grip‘, yet another opportunity for both fans and band to sing along together, especially with the chorus group vocals of “YEAH, YEAH, YEAH” and “ONE LIFE, ONE SHOT, GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT”. I can faintly recall many bodies falling to the ground during this mosh and the utmost respect from every male and female present making sure they got back up and that they were okay to continue on. There’s something so special about the comradery between metal fans who always have each other’s backs in times of need, but this was something special. It didn’t matter what you looked like, or how tall or short you were, we were all there for two reasons, to enjoy one of the greatest live bands Australia has to offer and to look out for each other’s safety.
‘Dedicated‘ and ‘Absolute Power‘ followed and the rain had slowly but ever so faintly) started to drop which added to the atmosphere of the night. It wasn’t annoying that we were getting wet because we were all so close to each other and the heat/sweat counteracted the cold drizzle from the heavens above which actually came in hand for the band’s encores (more on that soon). A poetic rendition of ‘Cemetery Bloom‘ allowed us to all catch our breaths again momentarily before Parkway Drive turned off all the lights and brought out yet another pirate metal banger, ‘The Void‘ which is when the rain really started coming down, but combined with the lights, flames and smoke, it was as if it was all staged by the band themselves. The force felt when Winston screamed the words “WELCOME TO A WORLD OF PAIN” could be felt way back on the hill where I had cowered again away from the madness within the mosh. This song was made for stage production shows like this, everything about this fucking ruled.
Another old fav made its way into the setlist with ‘Idols and Anchors‘ pleasing both the new and longterm Parkway fans who had started their own mosh pits across the concrete section, while us safe on the hill resorted to thrashing our heads violently about the place. But that was nothing compared to what happened next when Winston called for the biggest circle pit Riverstage has ever seen, demanding it go up the hill. The guys attempted to start playing ‘Karma‘ but stopped a few seconds into it when barely anyone had moved, that’s when Winston revealed the guys had a bet going that they could get a circle pit happening up the hill, as they’d never seen it done there before. Cue the hundreds of attendees who decided tonight was the night they wanted to join in and make history… just look at it
The wave of people moving back due to those running AT FULL PACE meters in front of us forced the middle of the venue to split and we were either left to join in or hold our positions watching the circle get bigger, faster and fuller. ‘Writings on the Wall‘ followed with the addition of four guest string musicians sporting violins and cellos which was an impressively welcoming touch to assist us with catching our breath yet again because of the previously monstrous effort with the last song and after this beautiful display of music, I’m not proud to be THAT GUY but the opening bars of ‘Shadow Boxing‘ came on and I was racing for the moshpit faster than a tween girl running through traffic after spotting Justin Bieber. Arguably the best “FUCK YOU” song to anyone who ever doubted the band and their new direction/progression as musicians was finally getting played right in front of me and you better believe I sang every single word as loud as possible, as did the several hundred others all around me. Winson’s passion came through with his projection and he nailed those rap/spoken parts with sheer proficiency and class, the rest of the band and the guest stringers (ha!) complimented each other in a strange, never-before-seen experience for Parkway fans. As much as I love heavy music, I especially loved the violin solo towards the climax of the track. When it was done, a sense of fulfillment overcame me and I could have layed down right then and there to die peacefully.
But the show wasn’t done yet, we still had ‘Wild Eyes‘ to get through which always brings back the moment where the crowd sings the guitar notes harmoniously and loud as fuck. The stage faded to black as the band prepared for the biggest moment of their entire Australian performing history… Ben Gordon‘s spinning drum machine. But if you think that’s all they had to offer, think again
Sooo, about last night… Parkway Drive delivered their most CRUSHING performance to date at Riverstage. Seriously, if you missed this tour, you need to give yourself an uppercut. Review & Gallery coming soon to WallOfSoundAU.com 📽: Browny
Posted by Wall Of Sound on Sunday, October 28, 2018
Winston and co. came back on stage to address the crowd again, thanking the support bands and the crowd/fans for coming along. He also addressed his own mental health struggle he had earlier in the day where he was overcome with anxiety no less than 3 hours before the show and how seeing the way everyone reacted to their show made him feel so much better. We sometimes forget musicians are humans, just like us and when we have a bad day we can isolate ourselves from the world, but when you’re a performer, you have to put on a brave face and give it your all at a show so you don’t let anyone down. I can safely say no one was let down by Parkway Drive‘s performance. ‘Crushed‘ started up, the entirety of the stage was filled with flames everywhere you looked, the laser light show was jumping across the entire venue and when the chorus began playing out, the drum kit started turning as the flames grew higher and with every bellowing scream. It was at this time (as I mentioned earlier) that the rain came pouring down as if the clouds reacted to the force that was coming out from that stage. With every loud beat and scream, a downpour would occur which would briefly cease during each verse. This continued onto the EPIC closing track of ‘Bottom Feeder‘ where the guys gave their all one last fucking time and you better believe we were all into it too by this point. Once again, everything was present, the flames, the lights and smoke, the breakdown, the screams and sing-a-longs but it was the impressive surprise finale involving FIREWORKS which really set this show apart from any other show we have seen by the band or fellow metal act from Australia.
But, that wasn’t just any show, that was the BEST heavy band in Australia proving their worth and showing their home country what they’re actually capable of. Hands down, without any question or doubt, the BEST show I have ever seen. Not only at Riverstage but by the men in question, Parkway Fucking Drive.
Review by Browny @brownypaul
Idols and Anchors
Writings on the Wall
Photo Gallery courtesy of Gethin Hill (Gethin Hill Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Gethin Hill if you repost.
Thy Art Is Murder
Parkway Drive – Reverence Tour
with Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder
Fri Nov 2 – Marriage Equality Arena, Melbourne Lic / AA
Tickets from Ticketek.com.au
Sat Nov 3– Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Lic / AA – SOLD OUT
Tue Nov 6 – HBF Stadium, Perth Lic / AA
Tickets from Ticketmaster.com.au