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Live Reviews : Karnivool (Melbourne) – 02/12/2009

By on December 5, 2009


w/ Regular John and Coerce

Palace Theatre, Melbourne – 2nd December 2009

View more photos here

A packed crowd and some quality Australian rock in the form of local outfit Regular John was a welcome sight on a hot summer’s night at the sold out Palace Theatre in Melbourne in anticipation of Karnivool’s performance, the first of two nights at the venue. Having seen them only weeks earlier, I knew they would be entertaining. Regular John are a band who obviously believes in sharing the load, with the three men out front each sharing in lead vocal duties. Playing a selection of their finest, name recognition might not have been the greatest, but after receiving attention on Triple J, the crowd appeared to know what they were hearing, and fed off the energy from the stage with the centre frontman breaking multiple strings during their set. Whilst the crowd appeared happy with them, there is no doubt there were a few who were disappointed with the fact that Dredg had pulled out earlier in the month.

Karnivool don’t disappoint. Whether in writing or performing, Karnivool have firmly cemented their position as one of the strongest outfits in Australian heavy music. So those attending the sold out show this night at the palace in Melbourne could be forgiven for having very high expectations. They came out hard with the heaviest track from their latest album, Set Fire to the Hive. Being a progressive band, and their latest, Sound Awake, being a very progressive album, the mosh pit – as viewed from the safety of the third tier – didn’t involve much actual moshing. Instead, the hundred or so people directly in front of the band danced, jumped and pushed about, reflecting the energy of the band on stage. The crunching bass of Jon Stockman, accompanied by front man Ian Kenny swapping between 2 mics for a digitally altered sound created a great opening to warm the audience on this toasty summer night.

The bands most popular cheese based song and crowd favourite Roquefort followed, and the crowd, which was housed tonight in a venue which stretches as high up as it does across were swept up in the energy of Kenny and co. And the front man certainly exudes energy. Although his dance moves resemble a mixture of Peter Garrett and your strange distant uncle, the strength of his performance on stage is absolutely flawless throughout.

After playing Cote, the crowd was treated to much of the Sound Awake album, with Illumine, the amazing Simple Boy, and Goliath leading up to one of the highlights of the set, the ten minute epic Deadman. Not many bands have the ability to play a ten minute song without losing some of the audience, and it certainly says something of the strength of the writing on the latest album that the crowd was enthralled from start to finish, helped in no small part by the amazing execution of the material live, as well as good use of the lighting brought on tour by the band.

All I know, the second single taken from Sound Awake, was up next. Already a bona fide crowd favourite, the band had the crowd singing along in full voice, before bringing them back down to earth with the short but sweet prelude The Medicine Wears Off. As Medecine fades out, the meandering beauty of The Caudal Lure followed, before Kenny thanked the audience, and launched into their club hit Themata. Having been built up again, the crowd was at their height of excitement and the mosh pit finally did what they do best and moshed it’s heart out.

The only way the crowd could get any more excited would be if the band were to come out again and play their cover of Gotye’s The Only Way with the man behind Gotye himself, Wally De Backer – so that’s what they did. From the top of the third tier to the back of the bar on the ground floor, every person there sang, danced and were swept up as the two singers weaved their magic together.

The last song of the night was Change. Combining both Change Pt. 1 from Themata with Change from Sound Awake, this 14 minute epic closed off one hell of a performance from a band that can do no wrong. Kenny’s heartfelt solo acoustic performance towards the end of the song, followed by drummer Steve Judd’s solo provided closure to the packed crowd, and from the reactions of the crowd at the end, there was not a disappointed fan in the house.

Set Fire to the Hive
Simple Bopy
AllI Know
New Day
The Medecine Wears off/The Caudal Lure
The Only Way (feat. Gotye)

Photos by Scott Boelsen