Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
August 22nd, 2019
Supports: All That Remains and Lycanthrope
It had been five years since DevilDriver last hit our shores. Five years is a long time when you’re a fan. With the release of their latest LP Outlaws ‘Til The End: Vol. 1 (our review here) jam-packed with country covers; it was going to be interesting to see what DevilDriver had in store for us. I made a point of not reading or listening to any interviews pre-show day, as I like an element of surprise and the question lingering in my mind was, is this going to be a metal show or a set of country covers with a twist? Sydney didn’t have to wait much longer to find out and judging by the line that extended the length of the alleyway outside the Metro Theatre, fans were here to show their loyalty and support, either way. Once the line for the meet & greet had been ushered inside, doors for the GA ticket holders opened soon after. Fans raced up the stairs and headed straight for the merch desk, to secure their purchases. Just as well I say, as DevilDriver merch had sold out before main support band All That Remains had even hit the stage.
I secured my place on the barrier, ready for the night’s proceedings. The room filled to a comfortable volume, while Newcastle’s 6 piece Lycanthrope, readied themselves to hit the stage. I had seen this band a few times prior to tonight, but I wasn’t prepared for the mind-blowing show they gave us on this occasion. Frontman Daniel Greig made a solo entrance and captivated the audience with a jaw-dropping vocal aria. He was joined shortly after by the rest of the band and it didn’t take long before they erupted into a massive face-melting set. The vocal harmonies between Daniel and guitarist Aiden Lee were mesmerising, as were Aiden’s guitar spins. Matthew Stoja was a beast on bass as he prowled around the stage like a lion stalking its prey. Daniel jumped on the barrier a few times to get closer to the crowd and allow obvious fans to sing along with him. It was evident that these guys are no strangers to the stage, as they played an amazingly entertaining and tight set. I would have been happy to watch Lycanthrope play all night, without a care in the world. They really were the standout band for me and I can’t wait to catch them live again.
The usual change over between bands and it was time for Massachusett’s outfit, All That Remains. I was excited as fuck to see these guys, and even more excited (hopeful) to hear one of my favourite songs ‘What if I was Nothing’ performed live. Kicking the set off with two older tracks ‘This Calling’ and ‘Chiron’, they wasted no time filling the room with their energy, which was easily returned by the eager crowd. Jumping ahead to 2018, ‘Fuck Love’, ‘Everything’s Wrong’ and ‘Wasteland’ three tracks from their latest album Victim of the New Disease were played, back to back. Phil Labonte gave Sydney a sweet reminder of his vocal range and capabilities, all the while working the stage and the crowd, as the talented frontman that he is. Jason Richardson played a blistering set on guitar that Oli Herbert would have been proud of, may he rest in peace.
Phil making the statement “we’re going to play some old stuff, but I promise it’s heavy, is that ok”? All That Remains took us back to The Fall of Ideals with ‘Not Alone’, ‘Six’ an obvious crowd favourite and ‘Air That I Breathe’. Arms and horns were thrown in the air as the pit stirred and I was slammed against the barrier, even with the titans behind me trying to protect me. I guess that’s a solid yes Phil, it is ok! Drummer Jason Costa, had me fixated on the conventional grip he had on his sticks. I was sure that at any moment one would go flying, but he did not miss a beat and made it look bloody easy. Closing the set with ‘Two Weeks’, I was a tad disappointed not to experience my favourite ATR song live, but I cannot complain about the show these guys put on for us. The energy and stage presence was infectious and their performance was bang on point. Thankfully, these guys showed no signs of slowing, anytime soon.
I made the decision to move away from the barrier before DevilDriver hit the stage, as I was in no condition to be thrown around, due to some recent surgery. Any other time, I’d be amongst the mayhem, but not on this occasion. I made my way to the stairs on the side of the venue, where I had a bird’s eye view of the stage and the crowd. I had a feeling shit was about to get crazy and I wasn’t wrong! DevilDriver made their way on stage, Dez Fafara the last to walk out, causing a domino-like effect eruption from the crowd. Fuck, how good does he look now! He’s shed so much weight and looks a picture of health.
Groove laden ‘Ruthless’ gave Sydney their first punch in the face, followed by ‘Grinfucked’ where Dez had the crowd already eating out of his hand and clapping along. With the intro to ‘Cry for Me Sky (Eulogy of the Scorned)’, Dez only needed to say the words “Let’s move” and the pit was moving like a herd of cattle being mustered. It was a spectacular vision and I was torn between watching the crowd and DevilDriver.
‘Hold Back the Day’ and ‘I Could Care Less’ were belted out, but it was ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’ that saw a wall of death turn in to the most enthusiastic mosh pit, that I have witnessed from a Sydney crowd, in a very long time. The crowd kept up the momentum for the duration of the set, as did DevilDriver. Austin D’Amond impressed me with his drive and staying power on drums. Think of Animal from The Muppets, and Austin is a real-life version of him, just with different colour hair.
DD put their own spin on AWOLNATION’S ‘Sail’, before my personal favourite ‘Before the Hangman’s Noose’. If the crowd wasn’t worked up enough, the Coal Chamber covers ‘Loco’ and ‘Fiend’ sent the crowd into a frenzy. Drinks were being thrown across the venue, and people were being knocked to the floor, only to be picked up by their metal brethren to rejoin the insanity. The only clouds over these Californian’s tonight were the clouds of smoke from the pot smokers in the crowd, which Dez noticed and mentioned.
Dez announced to the crowd the next song would be their last. “Last song. We never fucking encore, that shit is not punk rock. If you go see a band and they make you fuckin’ clap to come back on, just leave and you’ll fuck ‘em up. So, this is it. Open the fucken’ floor and let’s get it on”. That’s exactly what the packed venue of fans did, one final time as ‘End of the Line’ saw this epic night come to a close. I’m quite certain there will be some very sore bodies tomorrow, a great show of support Sydney!
Gig Review by Trudy Johnson
Cry for me sky (Eulogy of the Scorned
Hold Back The Day
I Could Care Less
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
My Night Sky
Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
Before the Hangman’s Noose
Loco (Coal Chamber cover)
Fiend (Coal Chamber cover)
Clouds Over California
End of the Line
All That Remains
DevilDriver – Australian Tour 2019
with All That Remains & Lycanthrope
Saturday 24 August: The Valley Drive In, Brisbane – SOLD OUT
Sunday 25 August: 170 Russell, Melbourne
Tuesday 27 August: Jive Bar, Adelaide
Wednesday 28 August: Amplifier Bar, Perth