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Live Reviews : Cirrus Crown, Arcane Saints, Terrestrials, Formiles @ The Workers Club, Melbourne, 31/1/2019

By on February 1, 2020

The weather app on my phone told me it fleetingly hit 44deg Celsius in Melbourne this day, and it is still steaming when Geelong’s Formiles hits the Workers stage at around 8.30pm. Sweaty gigs are always fun, and this three-piece provides a smoking hot opening to this fabulous evening of Aussie alternative and progressive rock.

This band’s approach is quite unique, and it makes for a compelling live experience. The ebb and flow they create is something to behold, crooning and swooning you through ethereal passages before smashing you with fleeting glimpses of heaviness and power, before pulling back once again. And somehow they still manage to sound ambient when the guitars start roaring. It’s quite the ride, quite the emotive roller-coaster. The centrepiece of the sound is the sweet guitar and vocal combination of frontman Jack Forsey. His voice is soulful and his guitars create a wash of sound that is almost symphonic. However, the rhythm section provides a smooth, solid bedrock for his histrionics as well.

It’s back to a more traditional Aussie alternative sound as Terrestrials take the stage. And what that means is the sound is dark in tone and this band has absolute command of dynamics, light and shade, swirling ambience punctuated by moments of crunching guitars and towering vocals/huge choruses, just in a more conventionally structured format. And it works a treat. Plus it provides a nice contrast to the opening act while not being too much of a neck-snapping stylistic shift. Guitarist Adrian Duke has come up with some very nice riffs and textures for this band, Scott Alexander’s vocals are strong, the rhythm section is tight and their overall stage presentation oozes confidence.

Further ensuring the night does not become too samey, next up is Arcane Saints. Drawing much influence from 80s and 90s rock, they break up the darkness with their fun, ballsy-arse rock n roll sound and maverick stage persona. Their twin-guitar driven sound is joyously rough around the edges, and one gets the feeling that this is exactly how they like it. There is nothing fancy about Arcane Saints, and they are all the better for it.

The already steaming heat in the room goes up another notch as headliners Cirrus Crown come on to a hero’s welcome. Tonight they launch their debut single The Hardest Truth, and their 45 minute set ensures it’s a special and highly satisfying evening’s entertainment.

A relatively new band, I have seen Cirrus Crown twice before, and every time I see them they draw incrementally closer to where they need to be as a band. Tonight they play like they have 300 gigs under their collective belt rather than the handful they have in reality, such is the good-natured swagger that flows from the stage for the duration of their 45 minute set. Their sound is undeniably modern Aussie progressive heavy rock, and they certainly do play like guns and know how to write a deep, complex song with multiple layers and progressive arrangements. At the same time however, the tunes are not so complicated as to alienate a possibly broader audience. Everyday rock fans can find much to like here too.

The band saves the single til last, and the dynamics of the track come out even more live, the middle section even more atmospheric before the song slams you with the titanic fist of rock through to the end. It rounds off a set of intensity and drama beautifully.


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.