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Live Reviews : I Exist, Life and Limb, Venom Eyes, Something Must Break (a live review)

By on February 9, 2012

I Exist, Life and Limb, Venom Eyes, Something Must Break @ The Basement, 03/02/2012

The Basement is a bar/venue neatly tucked into a corner in a dreary, grey commercial zone in Canberra. The inside consists of bare brick walls, pool tables and a stage at the far end, all draped in an artificial haze. It was to this location that sixty, maybe seventy youths and couple of oldies had gather to see one of Canberra’s more impressive local products: I Exist.

The first band, Something Must Break, hit the stage at nine, one hour after the advertised starting time.  There set was raw and rough as they tore through hardcore song after hardcore song. It was clear they put a lot of passion and emotion in to their music, but they had too many moments that were more cliché than affecting; moments where they seemed more ridiculous than intense. If anything, Something Must Break’s set stood as a testament to the affect Slowburn had on Canberra’s music scene more than anything else.

Venom Eyes, another Canberra based band, played next. Their aesthetic and musical style is reminiscent of the tough guy “dudecore” of the 90s; think Madball and Biohazard, but with more breakdowns. Every so often they seemed to play a riff that actually sounded pretty good, but for the most part their music came off as rather bland and uninteresting, and consciously or not, the entire band seemed to be extremely pleased with themselves, their apparent smugness making their set a little short of enjoyable.

Life and Limb are also a Canberra band, who play a rather unusual style of post-punk, blending together motifs and ideas from bands like Fugazi, Trans Am and Mono. They’re a band I’ve seen several times before, and they took the stage to play what was definitely one of their better shows. Through the course of the set the band moved through material old and new, keeping the pace pounding along with a rhythmically sharpness that few bands possess. It was nice to see Life and Limb build on their old material, drawing out the ending of their song “Over Thinkers” and throwing in a few ideas I hadn’t heard before. The new songs they played were also incredible, well written and dense, and preformed brilliantly. Life and Limb are definitely one of the more interesting bands making the rounds in the Canberra, and perhaps Australian music scene, and if you have the chance, go see them live. You won’t regret it.

Finally, the moment was at hand. The band of the hour took the stage. In a haze of smoke machine fog, I Exist took their positions on stage, to the sounds of feed back and wah pedals, and tore in to the unholy funk that is their song “Immortal Mare”, their singer reminding me of the vocalist from Weedeater with his deep, gravely voice that suited the doom/stoner levels of distortion and low end that I Exist were using. I Exist were incredibly tight as they grooved through a mix of old and recent songs, and the crowd really got into. The Singer jumped over the rather flimsy barrier, and joined the crowd, moshing and singing, as bodies went flying across the room. The Gibson endorsed guitar section, which was four members strong, flowed through riffs and solos, never missing a beat or a note and providing plenty of energy and punch to the set.  I Exist were considerate enough to end their set with a personal favourite, the eight minute epic “A-Bomb Blues”, a masterful combination of sludge, hardcore and of course blues, that left the audience wanting and wishing for more.

I had, before this show, been waiting almost a year to see I Exist live, and they did not disappoint. Given this it is safe to conclude that I Exist absolutely ripped it up. If you get a chance to see them, don’t miss out, this band is wrecking ball of musical destruction and awesomeness.

I Exist’s Setlist:

Immortal Mare
The Weak Shall Fall
1000 Hooves
Ghost of A King
Wyverns Keep
Turn For The Worse
Fool For Death
Mammoth Falls
Black Unicorn
The Temptress
A-Bomb Blues


In between a busy schedule of studying, procrastination and sleeping Duncan sometimes writes album reviews. When not pretending to know things about music, he pretends to know things about the world over at Sudden Reason.