Bad Omens – Gig Review 22nd March @ Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW (Knotfest Sideshow Ended Early)
Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
March 22, 2023
Bad Omens hit Australian shores for the very first time this week as a part of the inaugural Knotfest Australia. Brisbane and Sydney were lucky enough to get the only two sideshows, both selling out in under a minute. The band’s third record, The Death Of Peace Of Mind, was released just over a year ago and has seen their profile skyrocket. It was my most listened to album last year, absolutely dominating my Year In Review for 2022. With shows selling out all over the world, it was finally our turn. I booked flights before the gig even went on sale and being able to review with Wall Of Sound is truly a dream come true.
Local metalcore superstars in the making, Bloom, opened the night at Factory Theatre. An awesome opportunity for the Sydney band, having only been announced in the support slot on Monday, one day before the Brisbane show. Although considerably heavier, the crowd gave an enthusiastic response, singing along loudly, especially to their final track, ‘Cold‘.
The gap between the bands felt like an eternity. By the time the lights were dimmed for Bad Omens to take the stage, the crowd cheered as loud as an arena with ten thousand people. Seriously almost deafening! The opening song, ‘CONCRETE JUNGLE‘, was like a giant sigh of relief. The wait was over and we were all finally seeing Bad Omens live. It was clear that every person in that room was just excited as I was. By the time they got into the breakdown at the end of the track, the deafening level screams returned.
As they launched into the same setlist that has been performed across some 50 plus sold out shows in a row, the crowd’s enthusiasm did not waver. ‘ARTIFICIAL SUICIDE‘ was somehow even better live. I genuinely didn’t know that song had higher heights to go to. Every member performed it with frontman energy as vocalist Noah Sebastian commanded us through a balaclava.
Another song from TDOPOM was next and when they reached the breakdown of ‘Nowhere To Go‘, everyone participated in a wall of death as Sebastian explained this was only their second show in Australia and he wanted to see the sold out crowd get involved. Their mammoth track from way back in 2016, ‘Glass Houses‘, followed. This was without a doubt the loudest moment of the evening. The singalong was mesmerising! The same energy continued through the softer track, ‘The Grey’. But it was straight back into an older heavy number next with ‘Never Know‘. Truly until this point, I can’t imagine a single person in the room was anything but completely satisfied. I know I was, and I often see multiple live music performances a week.
However, there was a long break after ‘Never Know‘. The lights were out for a solid few minutes with no backing tracks or crowd conversation from anyone on stage. Of course, in true disgusting Australian culture, a small amount of people decided this was their chance to tirelessly chant “Shooey”. Seriously people, let it go. To the person who threw their shoe into guitarist Nicholas Ruffilo‘s head, shame on you.
When the rest of the band walked back on stage after a few minutes, it was clear something was wrong. Sebastian immediately began apologising, and stated “this has never happened to me”. He went on to explain that he was struggling to hit his notes and was disappointed to not be delivering the show we deserved. He told us all they were going to give another song a go to see how it went, and hoped his voice would improve. As they played through ‘Mercy‘, truly I couldn’t hear any off notes, but it’s incredibly important to note that technique is everything. Even if it sounded great, if Sebastian was struggling to hit them, there is risk of causing further damage.
Once again, there was a prolonged silence with no activity on stage. The tension in the room could be felt by everyone. If I could explain what I felt in that moment, it was one of hope that they would go on with the set, while simultaneously feeling concerned that they should stop so Sebastian could rest. On top of that there was this immense worry that the crowd would negatively respond if they decided to cut the show there. That would have been devastating.
Ultimately the decision was made to end the show and I back this decision one hundred per cent. As Sebastian explained, they were here to play Knotfest and had he continued to push through, there’s a chance they may not have been able to do that. He apologised again, many times. “I can’t believe this is our first time here and this is happening. I am so sorry. We have been on tour for the last 6 months and never had to do this“.
It was at this point that the crowd cheered and screamed in support. A moment that was obviously inherently sad, was made beautiful by hearing a sold out Sydney crowd, offer nothing but kindness. Sebastian went on to say that they wanted to play one more song, knowing it was a song most attendees wanted to hear. It was then that they launched into the infamous ‘CONCRETE JUNGLE‘ crowd chant before playing their eighth and last song of the evening, ‘Dethrone‘. Sebastian apologised again when the track finished and mentioned he hoped the band could return to see us all again, very soon. He also said he hoped that many of us would be able to attend Knotfest in a couple of days.
The below statement has since been posted on Bad Omens socials:
Tonight something happened with my voice that I can’t explain as it’s never happened to me before. I take so much pride in my endurance as a vocalist and such good care of my voice on tour that until now I’ve felt invincible, but tonight I was humbled and finally experienced every singers worst nightmare, during our first time ever in Australia no less.
I chose to cut the set short instead of pushing on only out of concern that I’d potentially make whatever is wrong with my voice worse, and then also be unable to sing at the Knotfest performances that brought us here in the first place. With that said my priority right now is getting my voice back to 100% in time for those last 3 shows here.
To anyone that left the show tonight disappointed, underwhelmed, or upset – I share all of those feelings with you. My frustration is immeasurable knowing that one of our first shows ever here ended this way and that there was nothing I could do about it.
Refunds will be available at your point of purchase to anyone that wants one.
-Noah / Bad Omens
To Noah, the rest of Bad Omens and their touring party, the team at Wall Of Sound would like to send each of you nothing but support. We thank you for being so wonderful with your communication on what we can only imagine is one of the worst choices to have to make as performers.
Written by Lili Jean Berry