Live Reviews : Lord (Melbourne) – 12/12/2009
w/ Alarum, Divine Ascension, Toehider and Winterstorm
The Espy, St Kilda – 12th December 2009
If I could, I’d force the whole band to move down to Melbourne permanently just so we got more live shows. Lord are by far one of the most lively and genuinely entertaining live bands in Australia, and this night was no different. But before I get onto that…
Toehider, a reasonably new Melbourne band to the live scene, were an almost-perfect start to the night. While Toehider have an extremely varied back catalog already (with a new EP being released every month until mid-next year), they stick to their bouncy mixture of progressive metal and rock for their shows. Fronted by Template mainman Mike Mills, the band were just as exciting as always. Playing their usual setlist including “Toehider”, “You’re Not The Girl You Said You Were”, “Jesuitmont” and a few others, they have these songs down to a tee. Unfortunately Mike struggled a bit vocally towards the end of the set but being as sick as he was at the time, he still did a bloody good job.
Band number two, Divine Ascension, are not my cup of tea. I’ve seen them a few times, and despite a few catchy choruses (opener “Another Battlefield” in particular), they just bore me. Their brand of female-fronted symphonic metal lacks any real excitement, and becomes repetitive rather quickly. But, they do seem to be building up a solid fan base and were met with a generally positive crowd reaction. From the back of the room, where I was resting my feet, the sound seemed a bit muddy with some of the keys being buried behind the guitars (a far too common issue with live metal), but I wasn’t exactly in the prime listening position.
Jazz-metal fusionists Alarum were an interesting addition to the line up and added that bit of ferocity I was craving after the previous band. Alarum are a band that for some odd reason I have never truly fell in love with. Despite the fact that they do a fucking spot-on job of blending the two genres into a sound of their own, they seem to be lacking in both the power and groove departments. Regardless, it’s hard to fault their performance. Their heavier and lighter parts were mixed well and they generally had a good balance. Despite the vocalists attempts at trying to energise the band a bit, it was a fairly still room, but people seemed to be paying attention which is better than nothing!
Now, like I started to say, Lord are just plain killer live. Full of energy, embarrassingly entertaining jokes, and an abundance of tricks and bits of crowd interaction put them at the forefront of fun live bands. They’re the type of band to just have fun, and it’s real fun, not forced. Santa hats and a guitar raffle (which I was one ticket off winning, bugger!) just topped it right off.
Performance-wise, the show wasn’t without its problems. Bassist Andy Dowling was left to do the backup vocals on his own due to guitarist Mark Furtner losing his voice because of a throat infection. Vocalist and guitarist Lord Tim ripped his finger open before they even got into Melbourne, and despite failed attempts at fixing it with superglue, ended up managing to play (extremely painfully, I’d expect) with a pirate-themed bandaid. There were some short-live audio problems with Lord Tim’s first guitar solo of the night starting insanely loud, but while that might sound like a lot of problems. Lord are the type of band you can forgive, because they quickly turn those things around into jokes and band-banter.
The set list was sure to keep fans happy with a great mix of tracks including a big chunk of older Dungeon-era material, and much more of it than expected. The usual Kylie Minogue cover thrown into the middle of “I Am Death” was as humorous as always, especially when you’re with people who haven’t seen the band before. To stop myself falling asleep in the middle of the venue, I headed home before the last band Winterstorm hit the stage, but apparently most of Lord joined them on stage to belt out “The Legend of Huma” which would have been a hoot to see. All in all, it was a great night. The crowd might not have been the biggest, but it was enough to keep the place buzzing with energy.
You can view more photos from the night at this gallery, courtesy of Jess Day.
Spectres Of The Ascendant
Set In Stone
Where Madness Hides
Tarranno Del Mar
Through The Fire
Footsteps In The Sand
(guitar duel / raffle)
I Am Death