Live Review: The Living End w/ Bad//Dreems & 131’s @ The Tivoli
Rebel-rousing high spirits, barely-contained anticipation, and a seemingly endless supply of drinks flowed through The Tivoli last Friday night as dedicated ‘Living End fans rocked up hours early to the sold-out gig to claim the best spots in the house. This was the first show in the Aussie rockabilly legends’ nationwide tour to launch their seventh studio album ‘Shift,’ and there was no better place to kick off the festivities than in Brisbane’s capital night hub.
First off the rank were Melbourne punk rockers 131’s, who were a cross between The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, and the headliner themselves. The tattooed, black threaded quartet didn’t muck about as they smashed through a series of attitude driven, punch-you-in-the-face tunes. Determined to amp up the crowd to his level, the lead singer climbed over the stage barrier during the last song and threw his arm around a random bloke while moshing it out.
Main support act Bad//Dreems looked like they just stepped out of a hillbilly catalogue with mullet hair, messy beards and trucker caps. Even though the Adelaide quartet’s ‘outsider rock’ comprised catchy melodies and impressive guitar riffs, the attention was focused on the lead singer’s crazy antics. It started with OCD-style stage pacing where he seemed to be mentally counting each step, until he gradually progressed into tugging his shirt as though it was infested with fleas, grabbing his crotch like he was constipated, and staggering across the stage with the mic in one hand and a beer in the other. At one point a guy from the audience came on stage and he and the lead singer were lost in a deeply intense man-brace before the guy attempted to dive back into the audience, only to have everybody move out of the way.
As entertaining as the support acts were, there was no question where the crowd’s devotion laid when lights dimmed, the backdrop of totem monkeys in suits was unveiled and The Living End strolled on stage. The trio opened with the fast-paced, bass-heavy puncture of One Step before quickly transitioning into the ape-tastic frenzy of Monkey. Frontman Chris Cheney dedicated angsty number Up The Junction to those who actually bought the album, the crowd responding in cheers and sheepish smiles.
Of course amongst all the newbies were the classics, and boy did security have their hands full when spontaneous crowd surfing took place during Second Solution. The audience were only spurred on when bassist Scott Owen rode his double bass like a surfboard while simultaneously playing the beastly instrument like a boss.
Cheney made a honourable mention as to how The Tivoli was saved from demolition earlier this year. “It’s a f*cking result or we would just be playing in rubble,” he said, before appropriately starting the first bars of All Torn Down. The song was a crowd favourite due to a killer guitar solo, rowdy call-and-responses, temperamental dynamics, and a flourished ending with the last chord ringing out.
There was a diverse mix of songs throughout the set. Latest single Keep On Running was achingly compelling, while How Do We Know sounded like a bazooka in action. Drummer Andy Strachan stood out in the country baked rock jam Moment In The Sun as he implemented staccato breakdowns and oddly timed drum stops.
The rockers ‘finished’ with their iconic rebel classics Prisoner Of Society and White Noise, raising the roof as the crowd thrashed about and out-sang the band during the acapella ending. Before the band had even left stage, an explosion of whistles pierced the air followed by crescendoed clapping until the trio returned for a 3-song encore closing with Carry Me Home, during which Cheney had his turn surfing the double bass and a drunken fan proudly climbed his way onstage.
By the end of the night the boys had inspired the crowd to rebel and defy in all-consuming rockified glory, well at least until Monday.
The Living End ‘Shift’ Tour Dates
FRI 24 JUNE
The Forum, Melbourne
SAT 25 JUNE
The Gov, Adelaide
Get Tickets HERE