The Living End – Gig Review 10th November @ Metropolis, Fremantle WA

The Living End
Metropolis, Fremantle WA
November 10th, 2018
Support: West Thebarton

Twenty years ago, The Living End made their mark on Aussie rock with the release of ‘Prisoner of Society’, a song and accompanying video clip as DYI punk rock, many of us in our impressionable youth thought was rebellious, anti-authoritarian and a reflection of the alternative culture as seen by the heavy rotation of Aussie rock acts on Triple J at the time, and Saturday morning TV show Recovery. Oh, what a time to be a teenager! And although The Living End have mastered and developed their skills as musicians, writers and performers over the years, the crowd on Saturday night wanted to relieve their youth as if we were still the brats who talked back.

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Opening for The Living End were Adelaide seven-piece West Thebarton. Coming on stage with a big, thick sound, West Thebarton are a garage rock band with elements of several subgenres of rock thrown into the mix. The band’s diversity is evident in the use of gruff vocals, throwback synth sounds, that seem to be the rage these days and classic 80’s Aussie rock, the band play as if they are playing to a large stadium audience and to be honest their sound would be more at home in a larger venue. There were several issues with the sound during West Thebarton’s set, it was incredibly difficult to hear singer Reverend Ray at times, and there was too much distortion during some of the songs. However, the band had a great deal of fun, as evident by Ray’s hip gyrations (seriously in a few years he could give Mick Jagger a run for his money), and the duelling percussionists during their final song. The sparse crowd at the got larger during the twelve-song set with more people singing along and cheering as West Thebarton drove from one song to the next.

After a short break, the crowd, which consisted of youth who barely hit their 20’s all the way to men in their 70’s, were pumped to see The Living End. As the lights went down and the opening bars of ‘Wake Up The Vampires’, from the recent album Wunderbar began, the crowd started cheering. A great way to start the show, the song’s opening echoes along with the red lighting created a dramatic atmosphere. Scott Owen’s double bass tricks got some appreciative screams, as the deafening yells of the crowd segued into ‘Don’t Lose It’. Within the first two songs it was clear that the audience was enjoying the ride and that The Living End are the consummate professionals. Playing together for so long, they are craftsman who produce crisp, clear sounds while excelling playing their respective instruments.

Speaking only to say ‘Till The End’ Chris Cheney held the audience in the palm of his hands, as the large crowd continued to sing and dance along with vigour and excitement. The older songs got the crowd cheering and moving the most, like ‘Bloody Mary’, but showing that Cheney, Owen and Andy Strachan had grown up, become more experienced, there were some additional guitar riffs, and additional bars placed into the older songs showing just exceptionally talented these men are. Changing between the older, ‘classic’ songs and the newer, yet musically and lyrically more complex sounds, The Living End kept the audience excited and engaged. Cheney continuously made impressively quick guitar changes, to ensure that the guitars were consistently in tune, to play the different sounds, with the twangs of ‘Death of The American Dream’ following the rockier ‘Otherside’.

Resized_20181110_211044 Proving it doesn’t matter how old you are, you always think you are young and invincible, the crowd’s reaction to the older songs were certainly louder and more obvious, with the crowd going wild just two notes into ‘All Torn Down’, chanting along to ‘Roll On’ and more fist pumping than I have seen in a long time for ‘Second Solution’. When the crowd sings louder than the band, that is when you, as an artist, know that you have created something special, which was very much the case when the final song, ‘Prisoner of Society’ played. And when the average age of your audience is in their 40’s, and crowd surfing and moshing is going on, you can just see the indelible mark that The Living End have had on their fans.

Leaving the stage immediately afterwards, before coming back to do an encore consisting of a song, they rarely play anymore ‘Monday’, ‘The Room’ and the always delightfully rowdy ‘Uncle Harry’, The Living End showed the crowd how to put on a show. The entire night’s mix of older and newer songs some with some audience participation, a heated discussion about farts (no seriously!), some detours into some impressive guitar work from Cheney, and double bass tricks from Owen, The Living End are a testament to what age, experience and a lot of bloody talent can produce.

Review by Carys Hurcom

Setlist:

  1. Wake Up the Vampires
  2. Don’t Lose It
  3. Till the End
  4. Bloody Mary
  5. Roll On
  6. Otherside
  7. Death of the American Dream
  8. Loaded Gun
  9. Up the Junction
  10. Not Like the Other Boys
  11. All Torn Down
  12. Proton Pill
  13. End of the World
  14. Wake Up
  15. Drop the Needle
  16. Second Solution
  17. One Said to the Other
  18. White Noise
  19. Prisoner of Society
  20. Monday
  21. The Room
  22. Uncle Harry

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