Stick To Your Guns
Crowbar, Sydney NSW
January 27th, 2019
Supports: Terror, RELENTLESS, Heists and Wreath
It may have been hot, but storm clouds gathered as I battled the traffic down into the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt. I was on my way to see some of the current legends of Hardcore, Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns and LA’s Terror, backed by some solid supports from Sydney’s local scene. Truth be told, I’ve never actually been to a hardcore show before. The closest I’ve come was seeing Hatebreed in Melbourne when they supported Slipknot in 2005. Come to think of it, I remember I almost got beaten up by some loaded-up shirtless Bro for absolutely no reason other than trying to get through the sold-out crowd. So, you’d forgive me for being a bit weary, thinking I was heading into a crowd of skinheads and MMA devotees ready to beat each other senseless.
Turns out I was way off the mark – the hardcore audience (at least the crowd I got in Sydney), were some of the friendliest, most welcoming folk you could come across. And not a Muay Thai expert in sight, although the sauna-like conditions resulted in a few shirts being lost.
The night was made even better with some solid acts from Sydney’s hardcore scene, although the packed line-up, unfortunately, meant that support sets were a tight 20 minutes each. While this meant each band had to condense their energy into a short time frame, for a few bands it did have the desired effect of leaving the audience wanting more.
Probably the only band I felt could have used a bit more time was the first band, Wreath, who musically sounded great but probably due to nerves didn’t quite have the same energy as the others. In fact, the lead vocalist looked a bit like he was either going to throw up or pass out. Still, the combination of hardcore, gothic soundscape and borderline thrash moments made them a band worth keeping an eye on.
Heists ramped the night up considerably, however, and are my pick of the best support of the night, stirring the crowd up and getting the slam dancing started. These guys seem to have a good home crowd following, with a blend of Punk, Metal and Hardcore, and I really got into their set. So much so, that I wanted to pick up a CD afterwards, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to have one available (yes, they’re on Spotify, but this late-stage millennial still likes to buy CD’s at gigs.) Still, Heists are a band I’ll be on the lookout for.
The last support for the night, RELENTLESS, seemed to pack the room a bit tighter than the last two, earning their place in the line-up with a solid, straight hardcore set. Again, with such a short set time of 20 minutes, this band really packed in the aggression and whipped the crowd up into a circle pit frenzy, and by the time they finished (a bit abruptly) the whole room was on the same page for what was to come next.
Terror was the band I had been looking forward to seeing the most out of the night, having spent some time on YouTube going through their live music videos. Going off the clips I’ve seen, the atmosphere of their live shows is both intense and positive, with vocalist Scott Vogel earning a reputation for delivering some motivating lyrics. This band did not disappoint, Opening with ‘One For The Underdogs’, the band thrashed through an aggressive, yet tight, set from their 17-year history, including ‘Overcome’, ‘Total Retaliation’, ‘Lowest Of The Low’ and ‘Keepers Of The Faith’. And although I tried to keep track of the setlist (difficult to do as a newcomer to both Terror and STYG) I ended up just getting engrossed by the LA natives. Scott’s microphone had a few trips around the crowd for some singalongs, and as a guitarist I found the tones emanating from Jordan Posner and Martin Stewart’s Mesa Boogie and Peavey amp heads really filled the room well. Terror are a great band, and one I’ll be seeing again the next time they come out.
Although I’ve barely heard Stick To Your Guns, by the end of the night I was converted. STYG hit the stage with a powerful Hardcore force, although they were the most melodic of the night. Vocalist Jesse Barnett has a powerful voice and is passionate about political and cultural movements, pausing during the show to let the crowd know the band’s stance on the issues surrounding the Australia Day weekend, which earned the loudest of cheers from the crowd. The vocal mic did some more rounds of the audience again, with singalongs to such Hardcore anthems like ‘Married To The Noise’ and ‘We Still Believe’. By the time Stick To Your Guns sent the Crowbar crowd out into the night, steam rising from the room, the aggression of the sweat-drenched crowd had been well and truly exorcised. A great night had been had by all.
If you’re a heavy music fan and haven’t yet experienced a hardcore show, put it on your to-do list. While I find myself still a little more comfortable to the Punk and Metal crowd, I found the night overall to have given me a deeper appreciation for the Hardcore genre. I’ll be checking out more of it in the future.
Review by Simon Valentine (@SimonValentine1)
Revisit Terror frontman Scott Vogel co-hosting our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast right here
Stick To Your Guns
Stick To Your Guns – The True View AU Tour
Tuesday 29th January – The Basement, Canberra 18+
Thursday 31st January – Pelly Bar, Frankston 18+
Friday 1st February – Stay Gold, Melbourne 18+ – SOLD OUT Saturday 2nd February – Enigma Bar, Adelaide 18+ – SOLD OUT
Sunday 3rd February – The Civic Hotel, Perth 18+ – VENUE CHANGE