Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
February 14th, 2020
Supports: Blessed and Congrats
There is a certain comfort that comes with going to a Trophy Eyes show. It could even be argued that the band themselves have that effect with every part of their career but for the sake of this review it’s worth highlighting the consistency of their performance.
The American Dream is an album that was made with performing in mind; an abundance of gang vocals and choirs that lend themselves to audience participation, lyrics so relatable that it’s kind of impossible not to know them by heart. If you couple this with the cultural impact of Chemical Miracle and the resounding enjoyment of the tours title track ‘Figure 8′, you can pretty comfortably walk into a show and know it’s going to be good. Trophy Eyes have yet to disprove this theory.
Valentine’s Day (or maybe just the venue being a university bar) lent itself to an irregular crowd. Entering the bar, which felt more like a performance hall, as Congrats were just starting. These guys were the unexpected highlight for me and really just proof why it’s good to see the support bands. Ben Stewart brings the vocals that are so strongly associated with Slowly Slowly and sets them to a pop instrumental that creates one of the most gorgeous blends of genre. He finishes with ‘Cut Down The Middle’ and the venue at this point is half full. Everyones pleasantly surprised and he received a lot of enthusiastic swaying through the set. I don’t doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from Congrats in the future.
Next up was Blessed. I think the support selection might be a hint of where Trophy Eyes are trying to move genre-wise. For those of you who haven’t heard of Blessed (Which I’ll go ahead and assume is most because Wall Of Sound‘s demographic isn’t exactly antipop/hip hop) He’s recently had a come back as an independent artist but has a few hits like ‘Sorrows’ and ‘Superfly’ that have some pretty impressive stream numbers. His set is very consistent and he has a dedicated crowd. But there is a barrier between him and at least a third of the audience as a result of his left-field genre. Regardless it was still an enjoyable set and I’m going to keep an eye out for his work in the future.
Then what everyone was waiting for (20 minutes later than expected but who’s counting) Trophy Eyes jump on stage with unwavering energy as ‘Something Bigger Than This’ begins to play. The audience immediately turns into the moshing nut cases that have always come with a Trophy Eyes show and suddenly everything becomes incredibly familiar. This energy carries on through the anthemic ‘Friday Forever’ which continues to be one of the best songs off The American Dream in my humble opinion.
What follows is a nice amount of love shown for Chemical Miracle. ‘Breathe You In’, ‘Home Is’ and ‘Heaven Sent’ is broken up with newer track ‘Hurt’, all of which are sung so loud that the roof could have caved in and no one would have been shocked. I genuinely think the moment everyone screamed the line “Find somewhere new to go” it was the official trigger to turn the crowd up a notch and everyone was officially in the midst of it. It’s interesting seeing the difference in tone between a Trophy Eyes show and a John Floreani show in terms of banter. The boys cooked it a total of four times notably, 3 of which were forgetting lyrics which isn’t hugely noticeable when the entire crowd kinda help you out. But the way its brushed off in comparison to a Floreani show where you’d get a heckler and a couple quips is just an interesting (although completely understandable) difference and says something about the transformative nature of the two.
The mid-way point hits and we’re treated to the new pop-rock darling that is ‘Figure Eight’ and it is treated with the welcome that it absolutely deserves. The energy on stage noticeably heightens and you can tell the boys are happy with where they’re going musically and that almost sells it even more. What follows is another slew of bangers; The heartbreaking ‘Miming in The Choir’, The relatable self-hatred of ‘More Like You’ and ‘Lavender Bay’ which is prefaced with such heartwarming gratitude that you almost want to cry… or maybe that’s just sweat.
An anecdote about someone pissing on the floor in Brisbane the night previous is used to delay a technical issue and for a moment it did feel like a solo show which was rather amusing.
I can’t express how happy I am that we’ve collectively finally agreed encores are dumb. Floreani expresses this sentiment and what follows are the four most hyped songs they have. Jeremy Whinchester also deserves a shout out here as he periodically is throwing out picks and waving to crowd members, dancing and grinning and it’s so wildly infectious and consistent through the whole show. He’s a true showman and it doesn’t go unnoticed as ‘Daydreamer’ plays through and breaks everyone’s hearts again and again.
The response to ‘Chlorine’ is indescribable. There is a lot of sweat and crowd surfers and moshing and you get the idea. The show ends with ‘I Can Feel It Calling’ and ‘You Can Count On Me’, expelling the last of everyone’s energy before they queue up for merch.
Trophy Eyes will never deliver a bad show and I’m perfectly happy to keep going so they can prove me right…
Gig Review Bree Vane @Briebrebree