Published on theMusic.com.au, Jun 2016
The Living End
The Perth leg of The Living End‘s first headline run in five years was sandwiched right in the middle of a completely sold out East Coast stint, making the Astor date look somewhat lacklustre in comparison.
If the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ ever held truer, it was inside that iconic building as the floor and mezzanine were overflowing with long-time fans eagerly awaiting the return of their Aussie rock punk heroes.
A dapper Chris Cheney slid into the spotlight, with three giant monkeys in the background and the steady thump of Andy Strachan’s punchy drums carrying engulfing bass lines from Scott Owen for Monkey.
Although it was a new tune that kicked off proceedings, the Melbourne rockers were quick to let it be known the show was going to be so much more than a promo run for new album Shift, as Cheney grabbed his trusty Gretsch for the instantly infectious chorus of Roll On. Fifteen years on and its nostalgia-fuelled rhythm was just as powerful as ever.
“Five years is a long time to make a record,” Cheney confessed, knowing full well half a decade wasn’t going to be theDeath of their loyal following – that much was clear during the audience reaction to All Torn Down.
Their energy continued to Hold Up, with the three-piece erupting into a rockabilly onslaught, and Owen’s harmonies transporting things to the next level with solid harmonies in Killing The Right.
While Shift‘s second single, Keep On Running, seemed a little off-kilter as a studio recording, it was right at home on the stage, taking on a completely different energy.
“They’re a bit bloody quiet aren’t they,” Owen said of the crowd’s energy mid-set, but that didn’t last long, as an anecdote turned into an impromptu cover of The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).
The Living End haven’t enlisted many new fans in recent years – largely to do with their inactivity – and punters who fell in love with the rockers in the ’90s are now at an age where moshing and crowd surfing isn’t of appeal and more a health risk, but while the energy was lacking at times, it wasn’t a painful silence and it didn’t have any impact on the band’s enthusiasm.
The lack of movement was completely torn away when crowd favourite Prisoner Of Society was unleashed as punters leaped from all corners of the venue to partake in the mosh.
“It’s almost been 20 fucking years now, so I don’t need to prompt you,” Cheney reiterated as the chorus of Second Solution almost tore the roof of the old theatre.
Infusing killer talent with brilliant songwriting and a flawless live show, it’s safe to say The Living End are one of the country’s all-time best rock bands. Hell, they might even be one of the best rock bands in the world.