Monday, 11 November 2013

Circles @ The Bald Faced Stag w/supports

DATE: 09/11/13

Like suckers we arrived half an hour early in order to secure a ticket for my brother who hadn't picked up his presale yet. We arrived in a ghost town, only to witness fat John Mayer serving sarsaparillas as tumbleweeds danced their way across the vacant, beer stained carpet of the Bald Faced Stag. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this solid metal line up hadn't yet drawn the crowd I was expecting it to. I shrug it off, enter the octagon and eagerly await the first band to hit the stage.

Appropriately named local act Beggars Orchestra come out of the gates as if they were playing to thousands. The hirsute five piece showcase their own brand of energetic, progressive rock and within seconds the crowd seems to appear from out of nowhere. Beggars portray a sound as if they have more members than they do which is no easy feat. They proudly display their influences throughout the performance ranging from Muse and The Mars Volta to a Santana-esque guitar solo towards the end of the set. The boys have a solid stage presence and the crowd ate it up. I wasn't as drawn into it as much as I should have been though as I feel as though the vocals let the team down. Now, vocalist Russel Parlett is an amazing talent with an incredible range (think Fall Out Boys Patrick Stump) but the vocals simply lacked the hooks that are so desperately needed to convince me to invest my time and money into them. The majority of the backup vocals were headed by guitarist Jarvis Tetch and were mostly out of tune. Surprisingly the most memorable aspect of vocal stylings for me came from keyboardist Miguel Fava and Bassist Jimmy Evans. They harmonized with each other beautifully and for me at least, it was the only vocal hook of the entire set. Beggars are a reasonably new band and have improved dramatically since I saw them open for Sydonia last year. If these kids iron out the creases in their writing then they’ll definitely be one of the bands to watch out for in the future.

Hailing for the Blue Mountains come the sleeping behemoth that is Red Bee. I’d seen the boys play about 8 years ago out at the Bull & Bush in Sydneys West but nothing could’ve prepared my anus from the aural maelstrom they were about to unleash.  These charismatic lads opened their set to a virtually empty room apart from five eager fans up the front row. Within seconds a “Pied Piper” effect had caused every ear in the venue to prick up and every set of legs to amble inside. We were greeted by technically meticulous; Dillinger inspired, Pantera-esque math metal and it was glorious. Daniel Silks gruff vocals although limited in range, suited the syncopation laden music perfectly. I was reminded of the early Grinspoon stylings of Phil Jameson and oddly enough Brandon Boyd from Incubus but with a think Aussie accent.  These guys are tighter than Ebeneezer Scrooges bunghole and commanded the attention of every musician in the room. Guitarist and vocalist Dan Silk suffered from hand cramps throughout the set and amazingly didn't let it affect his performance. Ian Dunns maniacal pounding was causing his drum kit to fall apart the whole set and it didn't affect his performance. Like a true rock star he chose to drink his water straight from the jug because apparently cups are for pussies. Bassist Jim silk looked like the angriest man alive but the chemistry between all three members was dynamite. I found myself watching every member equally and not focusing on the vocalist. Upon completion of their set I immediately made my way to the merch stand and purchased their album “Ictus”. It cost $25 which may seem steep but I had no qualms about shelling out my cash to support these incredible and deserving artists. Easily the band of the night.

Next up were Sydney electro metal powerhouse Dawn Heist fresh from their tour of Europe. The room was starting to fill up and unfortunately this is where the night starting to take a turn for the worse. The in house lights were turned on for the rest of the night, banishing the darkness as well as the atmosphere that came with it. The volume had seemed to have been doubled since the end of Red Bees set making it too loud thus my introduction to Dawn Heist had started with a sour taste in my mouth. The decibel level meant I heard none of the “electro” in their self-branded style of electro metal. Patrick Brownes vocals seemed to suffer as a result. The man has an amazing scream but his clean vocals were out of tune and piss weak. The band came across as nothing but overly generic metal. In the end it all became too much for me and sadly I only managed to last three songs which is a shame because listening to their recordings is an absolute pleasure.

The room had filled up by the time Circles hit the stage who were also fresh from a European tour.  A thunderous applause ushered in the Melbourne lads as vocalist Perry Kakridas sauntered to the microphone with a level of cool that emulated Chino Moreno. Due to sound issues, he struggled with hitting his notes in the opening song greatly reducing the impact of his welcome to Sydneys snobbish music audience. This was quickly rectified as they unleashed their unique brand of sample heavy metal to their hungry, screaming crowd. I could hear the influences pouring out of their performance; Twelve Foot Ninja, Orgy and Faith No More spring to mind instrumentally whilst Perrys vocals had a distinct similarity to Papa Roaches Jacoby Shaddix. Due to the volume I found that his vocals were generally weak and only seemed to come to life when he pulled out his delicious scream. As a whole the band was as tight as seasoned veterans who had been playing for 20 years together. Syncopated musicianship, gorgeous backing samples and an overly energetic bassist who stole the show all contributed to the musical portrait of a band that is only going to get bigger with time. All in all it was a solid performance but due to a  combination of the best two bands opening the show and the volume defiling the clarity of the latter two bands performances, found myself to be bored beyond tears by the back half of their set. The recordings are amazing and hopefully I will get to see circles again soon with a much better sound engineer.

Joshua Towney

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