Blast From The Past Tour
Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
March 8th, 2020
Featuring: Antiskeptic, For Amusement Only, Seraph’s Coal, Japan For and Drastic Park
A clutter of old punks comprised largely of working class Dads with the night off (bands included) chocked up The Corner for some spirited and deeply nostalgic time travel thanks to a killer line up of reformed groups heaps of us used to pay ten bucks to watch at underage Freeza gigs throughout the early 2000’s. It was a simpler and happier time, and for a few short hours everyone in attendance were blissfully transported back to the musical pastures of their formative years.
Adelaidean ska/ skate/ pop/ thrash punkers Seraph’s Coal took the stage as first of the main “reformation” line up after warm up supports Japan For and Drastic Park did a solid job hyping the few and eager early-going punters that hit The Corner around 6pm. Kudos to the venue and headliners for putting on such a lengthy lineup. Anyone wishing to make the most of their live music night out certainly got stellar value for money.
As a Melbournian who’d never seen The Coal in their glory days, the lack of teenage familiarity did little to impede enjoying their something-for-everyone approach to the full spectrum of punk. Songs burst from the band with regularly sporadic tempo and genre changes to keep things interesting, and impressive above all is their drummer’s capacity to blast ceaseless d-beats and sing simultaneously. Dude must have lungs like an Olympic skier!
A larger chunk of punters than expected seemed to know every word from the fast paced interstate trio, and the set’s highlight was surely mowhawked guest vocalist/ band friend Matt Anderson doing a high powered, full starfish, dad bod stage dive when his hardcore shouting spot was over. Truly spectacular. Landing somewhere in the shared sonic realms of Refused and Sublime, Seraph’s Coal were an ideal preempt to the dual-headlining local heroes. Roaring job, fellas! You’ve made a fan out of this reviewer, even if I’m two decades late to the party. Got any cassettes?
One night about 12 years ago after a shoebox-sized Bodyjar gig at The Collendina pub, me and several of the mates in attendance for last night’s gig wound up back at Tim from For Amusement Only’s house for a fucking great after party. Benno the bassist beat my +1/ BFF Kieran in chess in four moves, next door was nearly set ablaze from a series of aerosol fire barrel explosions, and there was a not insignificant amount of acid and motel pool water ingested. Even by that stage, FAO had disbanded years before, despite being on the cusp of national/ global success, and we were already all die hard fans from seeing them dozens of times at gigs all across the burbs of Melbourne most weekends years prior. Man, us kids felt like absolute rockstars partying with The Jar and FAO; bands that we loved more than few others at the time.
This story serves as context for just how interweaved these bands, the people in them, and especially their music were throughout our youth. As does the fact that my OG homie Mark drove a round trip between Bendigo and Richmond for 40 short minutes of music from a band we never thought we’d get to see live again. That’s the kind of mark this music left on Mark’s heart, and hundreds of others who’s lives were bettered by these angsty and energetic tunes.
Conjured from all across the country and world against all odds, FAO’s members convened to blare their two EPs of consummate pop punk bangers, a heavy punk deep cut from waaay back in the day, and generally provide a blissfully elated and engaged audience glorious snapshots of the most exciting and carefree time in our lives. A huge personal thanks to these guys for changing our young lives for the better, and to my oldest friend Daniel Odgers for getting me in to local punk back in the late 90’s. We’ve all got that one mate or cousin that steered us to the scene we wounding upholding so dear, and all of you should shoot them a text and say thanks for bettering your life.
Antiskeptic are facing a renaissance of sorts at present. Drummer Nick Coppin told me on the phone last week that there’s some demos in the can, recording will start later this year, and if they keep this passionate clock rewinding up with stellar, tight gigs as exceptional as last night’s, their recent 20th birthday tour, and 2019’s Anberlin support spots, there’s no upper limit to their second tenure with national success.
It’s magnificent to see people so impassioned by music they’ve known for so long. We’re all wrinklier, balder, and fatter, but Antiskeptic’s unique brand of punchy, heavy, consummate emo that expressed deep feelings on our behalves as youngsters still resonates in equal measure with their stalwart audience. Opener ‘Nothing To Say’, the grungy, stomping crescendos of ‘More Than Kind’, and early release crowd favourite ‘Beautiful In White’ were highlights, as was ancient Millencollin-esque gem ‘Jimmy’ played upon request from a single fan who lost their shit when their wish was granted.
A great chat, handshakes and hugs all round with some of the band members after the show made the evening whole. It was very evident all the groups were all on a huge and surprised high after a whirlwind delve in to a past they all assumed had left for good, and the amount of support the tour garnered across the country. Let’s hope it’s not the last time again anytime soon.
Words by Todd Gingell
Revisit our interview with Antiskeptic drummer Nick Coppin right here
For Amusement Only