Friday 1 April
Stay Gold, Melbourne VIC
Supports: Infinite Illusion, OVTSIDER and Furious George.
Restrictions are easing in Victoria and the capacity at Melbourne’s go-to heavy music venue has definitely grown. The notion of ‘Sold Out’ is looking a lot more reasonable at the moment, and it feels bloody good. Just a week ago, local hardcore act Starve dropped their biggest release to date Nausea EP (our review here) and backed it up with their first ever headliner, and needless to say, it was a massive show – let’s get into it.
This show was hyped across the infamous UNFD Social Club and as it should be, as long as you preface the hype with a mandatory “This isn’t UNFD but…” disclaimer. Roll-call included none other than Lili Jean Berry, but most importantly heavy music’s biggest live gig connoisseur in Melbourne (and Wall of Sound colleague) Adam Rice. What else does one need?
Punters flooded into the venue to grab Starve‘s unique merch range and got a taste of openers Furious George, self-described as “a financially and emotionally unstable 3-piece from Melbourne, bringing all the breakdowns and depressing choruses you could ask for.” I can confirm the breakdowns, however with the quality of content, I cannot guarantee the financially unstable bit for much longer, but let’s see how we go. The band kind of sounded like Polaris leaning towards more of a hardcore persuasion, with consistently delightful breakdowns, particularly towards the end of their set.
As more on more head-bangers entered the venue on this Good-Friday eve, Adelaide group OVTSIDER hit the stage, and I don’t think anyone was ready for what was yet to come. I’m really glad the band made it over state-lines during these trying times, and confirmed they hadn’t played here in a long time. Their sound was exceptionally intense, tuned real low and filled with groovy breakdowns. The evening was definitely stepping up, and the crowd was getting hugely involved.
I was really hanging out to see Infinite Illusion as they’ve had a lot of hype recently, particularly ahead of the release of their single ‘Absence’ where some of Australia’s biggest bands got involved. the Sydney band were also stoked to have finally made it to Melbourne to play a show, and the crowd were equally stoked. The level of production, vocal refinement and instrumental professionalism was all next level. Punters were bug-eyed at how good these guys sounded – the evening was starting to feel like an international music festival or headliner and damn, it felt good. Infinite Illusion exploded across the stage with the crispest breakdowns I’ve heard in a while, pristine and effortless unclean vocals and they even played a new track coming out in a few months. they closed with their big track ‘Absence’ and the singalong-come-head-banger landed well in Brunswick.
Finally, I got to see what all the hype was about at a Starve show. After being told I made a mistake missing a recent show of theirs in Melbourne, I knew I couldn’t mess up again (or Adam Rice) would’ve had to ditch me as #1 gig buddy of all time. There’s a lot to say about Starve‘s headlining performance, but the first thing I should say is that the hardcore genre is usually not my go-to subgenre in this scene, however this band just hits differently.
Starve came out with the presence of an international band, hyped up to deliver their very best efforts through an intense and astonishingly impressive set. Including tracks off their brand new EP Nausea plus some ear-bleeders from their back-catalogue, the local band completely erupted the mosh-pit. Fans were two-stepping and crowd-surfing in the first song, and vocalist Jordan Dunbar had the front-man charisma to match and drive this energy. The band’s production was so clearly refined, that I felt like I was at an international show. Dunbar brought on heaps of guest-spots from the bands that had played throughout the evening, including his homie Jai Wright who delivered a blistering vocal effort, leaving you wondering which band we’ll hear him in soon.
The set was monstrous and the band didn’t attempt to fill in time with banter in-between tracks, all they did was share their appreciation and announce that they’re going to smash through the final three-songs back-to-back. The band finished their set suddenly and fans were absolutely not ready to walk out yet and demanded an encore from the inaugural headliners. Starve didn’t even hesitate and played an unplanned song which they hadn’t planned to play ever again.
Now, I’m going back to my comments about not being the world’s biggest hardcore fan. Starve delivered a live sound that crossed over many heavy genres and encapsulated a really unique quality about them, where they fused hardcore with crust, punk, mathcore and even deathcore. The fact that you could hear all of these elements in each song, and saw the emotional response it created with attendees, it became clear that Starve are here to stay. I’m confident that this band will become Australia’s biggest hardcore band in a few minutes, and what’s ahead for these guys is going to be brilliant.
Review by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Starve – Nausea EP Launch Shows
Saturday April 3 @ Rhino Room, ADEL