Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Title Fight/Touche Amore/Break Even/Headaches, Old Museum, September 8 2011

The Old Museum. Is there a stranger place for a hardcore show? For what could possibly be the best hardcore/punk show of the year? There probably is, but I can't think of any more odd than a 120 year old heritage building that used to hold a museum and is used mainly for orchestral stuff now.

That being said, it was a bloody nice and big venue inside. A huge stage, great lighting a more than adequate PA and lots of space in front of the stage. The problem was, being the kind of building it is, they took the "no moshing" rule to an extreme. Throughout the course of the night we were repeatedly warned that if one person stage dived or got out of control, the show would be over immediately.

Locals Headaches were up first and played to a fairly big crowd (of people wearing mainly La Dispute shirts). They were solid as always, but played only about a 20 minute set.

Break Even are the Australian band doing the whole tour with the Americans. They put on a solid set with the crowd really getting worked up and into it.

The crowd participation was closely scrutinised by the security on the stage. If it looked like one person was even close to getting out of control, they bore down on them like a hawk. At one point, someone jumped up to sing along and grabbed the lead singer's shirt. He was ejected quickly.

The guitarist from Fires of Waco was standing in front of me in the crowd and Break Even passed the microphone down to him to sing a song. The security didn't like that either. They kept trying to grab it back out of hands, despite the band reassuring him it was okay.

Touche Amore was the band I was really excited for. Their unique style of hardcore lends so well to a live setting and they just blew everyone away.

The set was quite heavy with songs from their latest album Parting the Sea Between the Brightness and Me, which I managed to pick up a special Australian tour 12" press of at the show for $20. In fact, all their merch was $20. Good on them!

The crowd was very well behaved following the repeated warnings by people before and during the set. But then again, they didn't need to get on stage to get involved, because the lead singer kept coming down to the crowd for sing alongs.

It was great to watch from the side of the stage. If you turned away from watching the band at any point and saw me, you would've seen a guy holding a camera and screaming along to the lyrics while pumping his hands in the air and occasionally taking a photo. To say I enjoyed it was an understatement.

Everyone cleared out after Touche Amore. I honestly thought they wouldn't come back for Title Fight, but as the guitar started swelling up, you could see everyone running back in. I don't know much about this band having only listened to their album Shed once or twice, but they were goddamn enjoyable live. Their punk/hardcore/orgcore style was great fun and led to a lot of guitar jumps. A lot.

I was standing next to another photographer on the side of the stage and we kept having competitions to see who could get the better guitar jump on film. It was a tough contest, but I like to think we both won, by just watching this band.

By the time they announced their last song, you could tell that things were about to get hectic. The crowd had been fairly well behaved but they were itching to really get into the music. Apparently Title Fight are always about stage dives.

When they started playing YoureYeah everyone started bumrushing the stage. People started jumping into the crowd and moshing like crazy. Security tried to stop them and it got quite physical. One of the "volunteers" (not one of the security guards) picked up a kid and tried to throw him off the stage to get him out of the way. The band manager did not take kind to this and tackled this volunteer. Right in front of me. The volunteer looked so scared and took off running.

Needless to say, halfway through the song the power was cut and all you could hear was the drums. The bass player threw down his guitar in disgust and the show was over.

I tried to get some photos of it at this point, but my flash ran out of batteries and it was dark. Of course it would happen at this point.

I have no anger towards the security at this gig. They did their job well. Moshing and stage dives were banned and they enforced it well. The crowd went along with it fine too. It was actually a job well done by all to keep a hardcore show in quite good check. My beef goes to the organiser. Why choose this venue? You know that the crowd was going to behave exactly like it did. And you know the venue bans it. So why have the show there? We were actually just lucky that everyone was so well behaved and the gig went as long as it did.

Still, a great night all around. So happy to photograph it. You can view the full gallery over at AltMusicHub.

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