Originally published in Catalyst Magazine.
There was never any doubt that Violent Soho’s WACO tour was going to be huge.
After kicking off the sold-out run of shows in Brisbane, Soho (alongside tour mates DZ Deathrays, Dune Rats, and Gooch Palms) made their way down to Melbourne for the first of three dates at The Forum.
I had never listened to Gooch Palms, but their sound was enticing and filled with oddball energy. Their Wavves-with-a-hint-of-Queen-like sound was the perfect start to a rowdy night — not to mention the charismatic duo had a great pair of matching jackets too.
But the crowd really started to get pumped when Dune Rats came onto the stage. ‘Red Light, Green Light’ – one of their more well-known songs – was a clear highlight, alongside a cover of Violent Femmes’ ‘Blister in the Sun’. There was great crowd interaction from these guys too, with frontman Danny Beusa lovingly dedicating their cover to everyone “who doesn’t know any of our songs”. New single ‘Bullshit’ rounded out their set, and left the crowd keen for the next two acts.
DZ Deathrays’ set added to the crowd’s intensity. This could easily have been their headline show, what with the size of the mosh and the ability of the crowd to shout their lyrics back to them. I’ve seen a headline DZ show previously, but something about this time was so much better. Though one thing I wasn’t expecting was their cover of Blur’s ‘Song 2’. The cover seemed completely out of left field – with nothing other than the opening riff letting the crowd know that it was happening – but it worked. And finishing with the powerful crowd favourite ‘Ocean Exploder’, the excitement of knowing that the main act was still to come was a rare, incredible feeling.
Finally Violent Soho appeared. Opening with new album WACO’s opening track ‘How To Taste’, the calm intro riff was played from behind a white curtain which covered the stage. It was a little strange seeing frontman Luke Boerdam and bassist Luke Henery casually walk out from behind the curtain to their microphones, but Boerdam’s commanding “YEEEEEAH!” and Henery’s headbanging coincided with the drop of the curtain and the start of the set.
One thing to note is that it was incredibly well paced. They must’ve known that people were starting to get tired – as most, including myself, had been involved in the mosh from Dune Rats onwards – and slower tracks like ‘Fur Eyes’ and ‘OK Cathedral’ were played one after the other to break up the set. Most of the tracks came from WACO, as well as their breakout 2013 album Hungry Ghost, with ‘Son of Sam’ from 2008’s We Don’t Belong Hereand 2012 single ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ being the only exceptions.
My tip for #1 spot on the upcoming Hottest 100, ‘Viceroy’, absolutely went off – as did ‘Like Soda’, with Boerdam asking the crowd to help him sing it. Not like he even had to ask. Yet we all knew that ‘Covered in Chrome’ was going to be the highlight… and it was. The circle pit was the biggest that I have ever been involved in. There was no call for an encore – it wasn’t needed. It just seemed as though everyone was more than satisfied with the show they had just been a part of.
Next-day soreness is usually an accurate indicator of a great show… and it’s safe to say I’m very, very sore.
Believe the hype. This was, hands-down, the best live performance that I have ever seen.