Live Review: Bullet For My Valentine – 24/10/16 – 170 Russell, Melbourne


Words by: Clinton Hatfield

Descending the dark stairs of 170 Russell, Cane Hill are launching into the first song of the night, ‘MGGDA‘. The room is already half full, only lit by bar lights and strong orange beams pointed directly at the front row as a slightly bass heavy mix comes from the energetic four-piece piece. The crowd, however, doesn’t appear to be “getting it”, despite the group being a really tight band live, and the synchronized hair whips and spinning were all enjoyable to watch. But as Cane Hill progressed through their set, I kept giggling to myself about how much each song reminded me of my teenage years. Their fourth song, ‘Gemini‘ sounded like I was listening to a Korn cover band and I couldn’t help but smile with this familiar form of nu-metal/metalcore, or whatever the hell label is being thrown around now. I don’t particularly like shitting on a band who are obviously good at what they do – I suppose that’s because of my personal history with this genre – but I couldn’t help hearing Powerman5000 or Marilyn Manson coming through the PA during this band’s set.

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Cane Hill/PC: Jordan Tan

Vocalist Elijah Witt lets everyone know that he wants to see someone bleed tonight, which is fair enough, but unfortunately for him, it took almost their entire set just to get a pit full of fists in the air. Witt’s vocal range was impressive for someone who was apparently “stoned as hell” too. The closing song wraps up with some classic 90’s DJ scratches which just widens the smile. Blending old and new into some sort of… nu-djentcore, Cane Hill pulled it off well for their second ever Melbourne show.

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Cane Hill’s Elijah Witt/PC: Jordan Tan

This show and this past Sunday’s headline gig mark the long-awaited return of Atreyu, and screamer Alex Varkatzas shows his affection to the front row with hugs for a lucky few. From then the band seamlessly roll into their catchy 2004 classic, ‘Right Side Of The Bed‘ from ‘The Curse‘; a song I vividly remember screaming the words to while my grandmother watched on in utter confusion. The wireless mic and guitar packs really allow for the band to lap around the stage harder than a VL Commodore down Chapel Street. Despite a messy guitar solo, which you think would be cleaner after all these years, nobody seemed to really give a single fuck as the band ripped through their solid set.

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Porter Marc McKnight, bassist & beard legend/PC: Jordan Tan

Becoming The Bull‘ rolls across the seething pit and drummer Brandon Baller’s vocal register soars perfectly above the meaty riffs. A murderous breakdown see’s bassist Porter Marc McKnight almost hurl his bass through a wall in an unrelenting display of pure fury. Baller requests a circle pit before they launch into 2015’s title track ‘Long Live‘ and most are happy to oblige. Guitars circle the stage as furiously as the crowd circle in front of them and Varkatzas joins everyone down on the floor. The rest of their set includes ‘You Give Love a Bad Name‘, an amazing Bon Jovi cover in which we see Varkatzas run through the pit and stand head high above everyone on tables. Old-school singles like ‘The Crimson‘ and ‘Lip Gloss and Black‘ are included to round out a strong performance for the new and the old fans.

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Alex Varkatzas with the longest index figure in the game/PC: Jordan Tan

Ace Of Spades‘ blares through the PA and it gets everyone singing and before long the stage falls into darkness and a chant begins – “Bullet. Bullet. Bullet.” Figures appear as the sweaty collective crowd goes apeshit. An ethereal glow emanates from behind Mesa stacks. Strong white lights now shine and out of nowhere ‘No Way Out‘ smashes through the speakers with its fast paced lead. Starting the set with a recent tune quickly warms the crowd up as bodies are already sailing through the air. A seizure inducing flurry of strobes ignite everyone and the fantastically choreographed light show focuses on guitarist Michael Paget for a quick guitar solo. The intro for ‘Your Betrayal‘ incites a riot and fists are thrown at the stage in unison. What Atreyu started previously, Bullet for My Valentine continued with a strong focus on solid guitar solos and sweet lead licks. Strobe lights drop like bombs with amazing precision as drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas strikes the snare drum. Matthew Tuck also takes a quick second to thank the crowd for their help in achieving a #1 album in Australia last year for ‘Venom‘. This slight lull in the show is soon destroyed as ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon)‘ comes crashing down on my inner 15-year-old, and fuck, it was great! There is just something really special about seeing hundreds of people screaming altogether.

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Michael “Moose” Thomas just doing his thang/PC: Jordan Tan

After ‘You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)‘ a minute of strange quiet washes over a quickly empty stage. It was a little odd but BFMV very quickly took everyone back up to 11 with ‘The Last Fight‘ and ‘The Poison‘, fan favourites from years gone by. The band vacates the stage once again leaving Thomas onstage behind his drum kit, and what he produced was akin to machine gun-like snare hits lands like artillery detonating somewhere between your head and your arse.

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When the riffs are too hot/PC: Jordan Tan

Now, I’ve been to a lot of shows. Like, a lot, and never before have I seen people run like when the first notes of the almost seminal ‘Tears Don’t Fall‘ began. A few people were actually walking past me – to go to the toilet or to leave and catch their last train home – but when ‘Tears Don’t Fall‘ started they immediately turned and literally ran back to the stage. The pit area literally erupted, spewing forth maniacal fans. Security sure had their work cut out for themselves down the front but hey, that’s what they are paid for, and it is moments like this that Bullet does so well live.

Walking away from this show I had a feeling that I don’t get every day. Such solid performances to witness, mixed with the nostalgia of music I haven’t really thought about for a decade. So if you get a chance, I implore you to go see the rest of this tour!

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Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck/PC: Jordan Tan

BFMV’s Australian tour has just three shows left and you can find tickets for the remaining show hereYou can check out more photos from the night on Tan’s Facebook page and his personal blog. Also, a big thank you to Clinton Hatfield for covering this show for us!


2 Responses to “Live Review: Bullet For My Valentine – 24/10/16 – 170 Russell, Melbourne”

  1. Garryl

    As if you’d pay $90 to see Bullet and Atreyu on a Monday night.

    Fair enough to everyone trying to get their money’s worth from Tears Don’t Fall too

    • Alex Sievers

      $90 is a lot but BFMV and Atreyu are both great live, so it’d be worth it. Plus, Cane Hill are…okay live despite having a really average album.

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