Crowbar, Brisbane QLD
November 2nd, 2019
Support: HOMEFRONT, Wildheart and Sleepwell
As far as obsessions go, my newly found one with Adelaide band, Ambleside is getting pretty up there. I was hooked from the moment I heard their single ‘Still Life’, and I have listened to it and ‘Wash Away’ at least once a day for the past few weeks. I also made a pact with myself at the start of the year that I would get along to see as many new bands as I could. So when I saw Ambleside was playing at Crowbar this weekend, I had to get along and kill two birds with one stone. Seeing as I only knew of two out of four bands, it was a massive stone.
First up was Brisbane locals Sleepwell, who set the night up with an emotive performance. This band wears their heart on their sleeves, and vocalist Rhys Hilton performs in such a powerful way. This band only has a few songs out, but I did see they list one of my favourite bands as an influence and hope I get to see more of this band. Their oldest stuff only dates back to 2016, so there is plenty of time to show us what they are all about.
Ramping up the emotive performances was another Brisbane band Wildheart who I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing before. This band brings everything they have to their set, and it has earned them a following of loyal fans who screamed along with every pained song. Wildheart tackle the big issues in their songs, like bigotry and racism in ‘D.O.A’ and the mistreatment of indigenous Australians in ‘Rising Tide’. As an Indigenous man, these are issues close to frontman Axel Best‘s heart, and his delivery is intense and angry. Best gets down into the pit and delivers his potent lyrics while staring the punters in the eye and witnessing him smack the microphone to his head is a sight to behold. Wildheart were the only band that night that the hardcore kids got into the pit for and unfortunately there were some that couldn’t seem to contain their enjoyment. I get it, I really do, sometimes the music takes you, and you have to express yourself in the most aggressive of ways, that’s fine, but there’s a specified area to do so, stick to it.
Keeping with the local support acts, the next band HOMEFRONT seemed almost a random addition and were a change of pace. This is not to say they weren’t great, but after two bands full of hard-hitting growls and screams, HOMEFRONT‘s lighter alternative rock was a stark contrast. This band is also relatively new onto the scene with their first release having come in 2017, and I don’t mean this condescendingly but they look pretty young (maybe it is just that I am old AF). They are talented, though and professionally dealt with sickness and a quick technical glitch. Vocalist Peter Harvey admitted to the crowd that he had been throwing up only twenty minutes before the set and seemed to make a very hasty exit after the last song. Luckily the band has a group of adoring fans that knew the words to every song to help out, Harvey even handed the microphone to one of them; letting her sing a fair chunk of a song. The band’s sneaky cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘MANTRA’ was a great addition- I love that song and haven’t seen it played live, and they did it justice. I am excited to see what this band does as they grow.
After this slight change of pace, it was back to the heavy with Ambleside’s unique brand of emotive punk/hardcore. I mentioned I have recently become obsessed with this band, and they did not disappoint live. Every song was tight, and Daniel Stevens delivered his raw screams and husky melodies incredibly with guitarist Dean Lawrence backing up the vocals flawlessly. The set was a mix between old and new songs, and they left the biggest bangers, old favourite ‘Wash Away’ and latest single, ‘Still Life’, until last. These are the two songs I can’t stop playing, and I am so glad they came one after another right at the end. There’s nothing better than the anticipation of waiting for your favourites songs. ‘Wash Away’ starts with a punch with the yelled refrain “Bottle up the pain, let it rain and wash away. Let it carry you to a better place, don’t forget my name” and I enjoyed screaming this with the rest of the crowd. ‘Still Life’ gives me chills and live it was everything I wanted it to be. It is big in sound and has incredible guitar riffs and breaks. The part of the song just after the bridge, where the guitar goes off before the last chorus, was superb. I wish this set could have gone for much longer, but what an incredible way to finish out an awesome night of music.
Aside from seeing bands for the first time, this gig was another first for me. I went alone, which is something that would have caused me anxiety a few years ago, and I could never have conceived of doing. I wasn’t nervous about it on Saturday, and I enjoyed myself. I know some people are old hats are going alone but I didn’t realise just how many people actually do it. There were heaps of people going solo, and once the music started, I was drawn into the inclusivity of the music and didn’t feel alone. Saturday night has left me feeling proud of myself and a big fan of some new bands. I will be getting along to any gig of Ambleside‘s I can catch, and since Saturday, my obsession seems to have only increased.
Review by Caitlin MacDonald @caitmacca
Said Too Much
Ambleside – Australian Tour
November 11 at Workers Club, Melb