Live Review: Belle Haven – 3/6/2017 – Workers Club, Melbourne


Before ‘You, Me And Everything In Between’ drops like an atom bomb on June 16th, Belle Haven hit Melbourne’s Workers Club fuckin’ hard this past Saturday night. 


Prior to their sold out headline show at Wrangler Studios on Sunday, June 3rd, Melbourne melodic hardcore newcomers Aburden pulled off a solid opening set; running through their debut single ‘Face To Face‘ before launching into songs from their recent debut EP, ‘My Old Friend‘.

Aburden‘s music a solid mixture of Being As An Ocean’s musicianship and energy, Casey’s sense of space and catharsis, and Hotel Books‘ dynamics and emotional spoken word moments, along with the poetic, open-diary lyrics of all three. The local quintet’s set was a short but atmospheric and sweet one; one that would have been a great warm up for their following headline slot the very next day.

There’s been a fair bit of hype surrounding Aburden in the local Melbourne scene as of late and I think that one listen to a song like ‘Without Me‘ should prove exactly why. Watch. These. Guys.

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Trekking all the way down from Brisbane for the ‘Selfmade Tour’ was a fellow member of the Greyscale Records roster, Deadlights.

Fronted by the long-haired Dylan Davidson, the band ripped through some of the finer material from their solid debut album, ‘Mesma‘; ‘Saudade‘, ‘The Mad Scientist‘, ‘Backwash‘, ‘Invisible Hands‘, ‘Attitude & Longitude‘ (objectively the best Deadlights song), before concluding with the anthemic ‘Know Hope‘.

However, along with a rather lukewarm crowd response, this also wasn’t their smoothest set sonically. The band were victims of the less-than-good quality gear that was on hand for their set, and even with a few “technical difficulties” (read: guitarist/singer Tynan Reibelt tripping over halfway through), Deadlights still managed to power through and deliver a strong showing of their debut’s merits.

Any and all fans of Underoath, Circa Survive, and Belle Haven themselves should be getting around this quartet ASAP.

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I’ve never been a big fan of the pop-punkish/melodic hardcore sound that Ambleside put down on record, and if you feel the same about this Adelaide group, then I absolutely implore you to see them live. As that environment is where they fully and truly rule.

Ambleside’s sound translates very well live, and the band members help this by upkeeping their physical energy levels, all with key singles such as ‘Tired Eyes‘, ‘Wash Away‘, and ‘Dear Mother‘ all getting a solid look-in. While I’m still not a huge fan of them, Ambleside really did set the energetic tone and pace for the night’s headliners, something that Belle Haven would capitalise on so well.

And speaking of which…

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After roasting Adelaide the night before, Belle Haven’s returning show in their hometown also marked the first and only sold out show of this tour, and allowed the band to tick off a certain milestone; their first ever sold out show. And man, what a fucking show it was!

I’ve seen Belle Haven live many times before now but never quite like this.

Donned in the near all-white outfits from the tour’s namesake – the ‘“Selfmademusic video – the band ran through as blistering and as energetic set as ever. Kicking things off with the opening track from ‘You, Me And Everything In Between‘ – the post-hardcore epic ‘You.‘ – the quintet then caused an explosion of aggression and movement inside the packed out the Fitzroy venue with the gloriously chaotic number of ‘Hunt For Health‘. It was a banger back in late 2014 when they first dropped and it’s still a banger now.

We were then all treated to an unveiling live performance of an unreleased track from their upcoming sophomore, the vehement and aggressive ‘Burn The Witch‘ (one of the album’s standouts alongside ‘Egophobia‘). The following two and a half minutes of this song’s live showing proved exactly why I fell in love with this track when I first heard it; it’s brutal, it’s cathartic, it’s engaging and it’s a goddamn treat live.

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From here, all the usual suspects appeared, AKA ‘The Looking Glass‘ and the always-killer ‘Rolls & Fame‘ (perhaps for the final times as fresher songs take their place). The band even dived back into a deeper cut from 2015’s ‘Everything Ablaze‘ by dusting off the emotional and heartfelt ‘Heartache Delusion‘, to the sheer euphoria of many in attendance.

With his bandmates briefly departing the stage, frontman David Vernon brings the music and the jovial times to an end for a brief but intimate moment. Vernon then delivered a passionate and courageous speech about his own mental health, how he’s felt at his truly lowest and darkest moments, and how his friends, his bandmates, the fans, and this (fantastic) new record mean so much to him; fighting back a few tears. And I believed every single word of it. Belle Haven don’t phone it in and this monologue wasn’t delivered to seem “cool” or “deep” – this was nothing but full honesty. Just like everything else that this band does. There is only one other band member speech that was as powerful as this that I’ve seen in my time, and that was Jonothan Vigil of The Ghost Inside talking about his deceased brother and father prior to performing ‘White Light‘ on their 2013 Australian headline tour. If you were there for that particular show, you’ll know how utterly touching and how fucking real that moment was, and that’s exactly what this moment was. Except here, it was for VernonBelle Haven as a collective, and the supportive, loving faces that had crammed into the Workers Club live room to see such a talented band moving up in the world.

This poignant moment in their set preluded what is easily one of the band’s finest works to date, ‘The Carving Knife‘, which was then followed up by ‘“Selfmade”‘. Then, after a brief respite, a mental but wonderfully messy and stage invading encore performance struck in the form of the always fantastic, ‘Closet‘. As fans mounted the stage and with mic grabs abounding, it was a blissful chaos to witness.

Before their superb second record arrives – showing why you should be paying closer attention to Belle Haven – a set like this was an utterly elated performance from a band who has been through so much, and who has thankfully been able to make it out the other side.

June 16th. Save the date.

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‘You, Me And Everything In Between’ drops June 16th via Greyscale Records. Pre-order it here, and check out the dates of the ‘”Selfmade”‘ tour over here. And you can also read our in-depth feature interview with Belle Haven right here

All the photo credit here goes to our good friend, Lord Media (AKA Liam Davidson). Be sure to check out a few of his slick photos from the night below!

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