Reviewed by Meghan Player
When bands announce tours that run through their entire catalogue of music – it can spell a make or break decision for their future. That being said, when you’re one of Australia’s most loved exports – with a career spanning nearly 20 years, a few ARIA awards and a slew of killer albums under your belt – there is little chance that you will disappoint. This was and is certainly the case for Melbourne three-piece, The Living End.
Beginning their career in 1997, the band embraced the 90s Australian teenager with their punk rock stylings, and one of the greatest Australian albums of all time. Tonight, in a sold-out venue, was a celebration of the band and their self-titled debut album.
Even before the band hit the stage, there is an electricity and anticipation in the air that is undeniable. Fans pack all three levels of the venue, already creating a sea of sweaty bodies – feverishly anticipating the show that is to come. As the lights dim, and the crowd rouses into a mess of noise, images flash on a screen on the back of the stage. News of Princess Diana’s death and the Thredbo disaster flash across the screen, as the context is set for the year that launched the career of The Living End.
As the projection fades, the biggest applause is reserved for the band as they make their way onto the stage, instruments in tow. There is a a brief pause before frontman Chris Cheney strums out the opening chords to ‘Prisoner of Society‘. “Well, we don’t need no one to tell us what to do” snarls Cheney. It’s right about now that the entire room breaks into full blown chaos.
While the crowd already know what the rest of the set list will entail, it doesn’t stop the intensity that is produced as each song is played. From “Second Solution” to “West End Riot” to “All Torn Down” – the band never falters or drops their game throughout the entire set.
As the bars of “Sleep On It” and “Closing In” ring out across the venue, the realisation that this is not only one of the best albums the band itself has released, but one of the greatest albums in Australian rock history is evident.
While it is near 15 years since the album was released, the effect it has had on a generation of music fans and indeed the local scene was put into perspective tonight. The tracks have ultimately stood the test of time, and seemingly defined an era.
Here’s to another 20 years.