The Forum, Melbourne VIC
May 29th, 2019
Wednesday at The Forum had a big gig feel; there was a line well around the corner for both the pre-bought and box office tickets despite the sudden and bitter cold Melbourne had really slung out this week. Media were even forced to form a cue, and I think the opening local support’s triumphant return had much to do with the added interest.
Antiskeptic were forced to come on before all patrons had poured in, but the place was still completely packed after about the first song. These historically underrated hard hitting, expansive emo rockers haven’t lost an energetic step since I saw them with massive fringes on the back of a truck at Warped Tour 2001. They were kings of Freeza underage events and battle of the bands’ for us dedicated gig rats back in the day, and it was clear that the nostalgia (a word that may justifiably come up a few more times in this review) and that heartfelt teenage emotional spark had been lit once more throughout an extremely engrossed audience. ‘More Than Kind’, a song dropped closer to the boys’ initial hiatus back in the day was a particular highlight early in the set. It’s a heavy, stomping and evocative mini-epic, with drummer Nick Coppin particularly laying down a flourished, punchy, and entirely unique set of structures and fills. Sure, guitars are the blood and skin of the anatomy of a band, but a solid and creative percussionist is the beating, engine-room heart. That said, Andrew Kitchen’s riffs swinging deftly between gripping, uplifting, and emotionally fragile are a gargantuan part of Antiskeptic’s iconic sound, and a tricky, faultless baseline chugging under well-placed screamo parts rounded the whole thing out marvellously. Mr. Kitchen reiterated his overwhelming joy at playing again with Anberlin, – and at all for that matter – before stating (excitingly enough) that the trio are indeed musically planning for the future.
Welcome back, Antiskeptic, it’s been way too long, old friends.
Anberlin have been to Australia 13 times. A testament to their lasting impact as an amiably heavy and uplifting band as much as a full house on a horridly cold Wednesday night is. These stalwart U.S emo rockers were their usual lofty, engaging selves; never once yet letting their massively dedicated Aussie fan base down. One of the big highlights (beyond all the career-spanning hits they obviously thumped out) was frontman Stephen Christian’s stage banter; good enough to have its own Netflix special. His biting and hilarious audience interaction expounded – amongst a legion of hilarious things – that a lady got fired just to come to the gig from Tasmania, a man that resembled Aquaman is a local lothario, and in general that he and his audience share enough love to amicably insult each other for minutes on end. The chatter was as welcome as hits ‘Day Late Friend’ or ‘Godspeed’ would ever be.
We were all caught up in an emotionally evocative and honest formative time back in the wee-2000’s. Pop punk was catchy, angsty lightning in a bottle, and everyone revelled in it this night gloriously for a lengthy set of immersive and catchy rock n’ roll. Musically consummate professionals of stories and decorated careers across several peer bands, Anberlin’s current line up furthered endeared itself (if that’s possible) to an enraptured Forum theatre, that almost certainly guarantees more welcomed tours to the other side of the world in future.
Thanks as always, guys. You brought a lot of warmth to a city that just got slapped by cold snap.
Words by Todd Gingell