LIVE REVIEW: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL – THE HIFI, MELBOURNE [24/02/14]

Eagles Of Death Metal - © Julia Lay

By Julia Lay

Originally booked for the previous year’s canned Harvest Festival, Mutemath seemed to be an odd addition to this sideshow (or even the Soundwave lineup for that matter), but any doubts about how they would fit in was soon washed away as soon as they hit the stage. Drummer Darren King started off proceedings by duct-taping his monitor headphones to his head and this was already a sign of how committed they were to go absolutely nuts, to put it frankly.

A decent sized crowd showed up early to catch their set, and they were treated to an experimental delight. Their musical abilities are well-honed and much of it was obvious as Paul Meany leapt from a two different keyboards to a keytar, and also literally did a handstand on one. An inflatable mattress with glowing lights was brought out mid-set for Meany to ride the crowd on. Attendees surged closer to hold him up on the UFO-resembling prop, and if anyone was at the bar killing time this would have definitely turned heads.

The only thing lacking during Mutemath was the availability of time since their set seemed a little rushed. This might have been a result of everything running thirty minutes later than listed. I would not hesitate to see them at their own headline show to see what else they might dish out.

The welcoming of Rocket From The Crypt began as a lone electric guitar version of Star Spangled Banner played over the speakers. Walking out in matching attire, everything about them just screamed showmanship. When not playing his trumpet, JC2000 (real name Jason Crane) brought maracas or a tambourine down and mingled with the crowd. They were a band who kept punters on their feet the entire time and there was no time for anyone’s attention to wane.

A little bit of humour didn’t go unnoticed as frontman John ‘Speedo’ Reis explained how he arranged the rest of the band members via Craigslist. The crowd response was immense and the venue’s floor was thundering and quaking throughout their entire set especially when they dished out On A Rope and Born in ‘69. They were a surefire pairing for what was to come.

If you like your rock n roll dirty and layered with panache, Eagles Of Death Metal certainly brought that to the table. With Joey Castillo bashing the drums in true beast fashion, Jesse “The Devil” Hughes basically held a sermon for the pack house in attendance (he is actually a certified priest). “Amen!” was the answer to everything he said and the entire crowd were willing participants in his call-response banter.

The whole venue was turned into a sweaty mess as no one was left stationary. Cherry Cola was thrown in relatively early, and the music invited everyone to lose any inhibitions and just dance. There was no absence of coolness on stage tonight as this band just oozed the substance. It was no surprise that crowd would perk up and scream even at the littlest things such as Hughes combing his hair (and fabulous moustache).

As the band left the stage after I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), Hughes chose to stay on to spend more time with the Melbourne crowd. This was a great move as the part between the main set and encore was now filled with Hughes taking requests from the fans. The night ended with Speaking In Tongues, with the heat generated from the audience probably enough to run a power plant.

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