The city of Melbourne was abuzz with movement on Saturday 23rd of September! The weather was sunny and quite warm so people were at the beaches, plus there was an epic battle between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants underway at the MCG. Those who couldn’t get a spot in attendance were scattered all throughout the CBD at numerous pubs showing their support for the gladiators. To top it all off, Melbourne was about to get hit by a hurricane all the way from Brazil, as Max and Iggor Cavalera were in town for the Return to Roots tour!
The line was of a decent length when this reviewer arrived at The Forum just before 7 pm for the opening of doors at 7:30, the crowd funnelling in hard and fast to the merchandise table as there were only 50 Meet and Greets available on a first in, best dressed basis! Those who made a bee-line for the rail were mentally psyching themselves up for the onslaught they were going to receive that night, whilst those who wanted to stay alive made their way to the bar or claimed a seat in The Forum’s numerous semi-circle shaped booths.
Skindred have the honour of opening up for the Cavalera brothers on this tour and they did not disappoint! Fans were warmed up to the oncoming British onslaught by having ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ played over the speakers, before the ‘Imperial March’ belted over the speakers and symbolised that things were about to change gear. After walking out on stage at 8:30, Benji Webbe got the crowd warmed up and moving from the opening seconds and this didn’t stop for the full hour set that Skindred played! Nine songs were played during the set, however that doesn’t include the intro to ‘War Pigs’ or the time that Webbe got the crowd to ‘Jump Around.’
During the middle of the set, Webbe took time out to have a good heart to heart with those in attendance; he went on to express how, “We are here to live in the moment! I don’t care if you’re black, gay, Christian or Jewish; we’re all here to enjoy ourselves!” The Melbourne audience also got a small treat; Webbe went on to explain how Skindred recently wrote a new song for an upcoming TV show’s intro and that it was the first time playing it live. The lyric sheet taped to the stage in front of Webbe’s feet made sure that ‘The Machine’ was perfect from start to finish! The Melbourne crowd really showed their appreciation for that little gem.
Leading up to the interlude of their final song for the night, Webbe commented how, “I may have said a few things during the night which may have upset some people… if you were offended at any stage during the night you can fuck off and grow some balls!” before introducing Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe as a guest vocalist on ‘Warning.’ Crane’s appearance on stage also included assisting Webbe in teaching the crowd how to do the ‘Newport Helicoptor’ (for old school AFL fans, you may know this as the Kevin Sheedy!).
Those in the mosh already knew that they were going to be in for a night they’d never forget; the fact that the mosh started a circle pit five minutes before the Cavalera brothers walked out on stage goes to show just how crazy of a night it was going to be! The crowd blew the roof off when Max and Iggor graced the stage, before it was launched into the stratosphere when the opening notes to ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ were played. It took less than two minutes before security were dealing with their first crowd surfer; by no means was it their last though!
Max replaced his guitar with a traditional instrument for ‘Attitude;’ it looked like a mixture of an old-fashioned hunting bow and the staff that Rafiki carried in The Lion King. ‘Cut-Throat’ and ‘Ratamahatta’ kept the bodies flying and the circle pits running; this mosh was so tightly packed at the front that being in a can of sardines is an understatement! The showmanship and energy exuded on stage was constantly being matched and raised by the energy the mosh was providing. ‘Breed Apart,’ ‘Straighthate’ and ‘Spit’ lifted the bar even higher as the mosh became sweatier and more frantic. By this stage, security had already dealt with numerous crowd surfers but it was only going to become more frequent from this point on!
‘Lookaway,’ ‘Dusted’ and ‘Born Stubborn’ sent the pit into absolute chaos; the circle pit had lifted to another level somehow and the surge / sway those on the barrier were experiencing was a sight for the eyes! Those on the rail last night were most definitely in harm’s way; not only were the crowd surfers constantly bombarding them, but the lack of space to keep yourself balanced / semi-comfortable meant that they were being pushed to the limits. Thankfully security last night were on their A game, protecting everyone and supplying them water quite frequently.
‘Itsári,’ ‘Ambush,’ ‘Endangered Species’ and ‘Dictatorshit’ marked an end to the Return to Roots chapter in the Cavalera story; Max and Igor were sounding just as aggressive and they completely punished their instruments like they did all those years ago! The crowd’s hoarse voices screamed along in unison alongside Max as he sang these last four songs and concluded the Return to Roots segment of the performance.
The encore was one of the most epic that this interviewer had ever seen! Starting with a medley consisting of ‘Beneath the Remains’ / ‘Desperate Cry’ / ‘Orgasmatron’ / ‘Policia,’ the Melbourne crowd was then treated to not one, but two epic covers: Celtic Frost’s ‘Procreation of the Wicked’ and Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades.’ Then to finish off the set, the crowd were treated to a sped up version of ‘Roots Bloody Roots’, which had a Max lead Wall of Death thrown in for good measure. Those who stayed back would have seen numerous flying bodies all night and those who braved the mosh are going to be feeling quite sore and sorry for the next few days!
‘Roots Bloody Roots’
‘Beneath the Remains’ / ‘Desperate Cry’ / ‘Orgasmatron’ / ‘Policia’
‘Procreation of the Wicked’ (Celtic Frost cover)
‘Ace of Spades’ (Motorhead cover)
‘Roots Bloody Roots’ (fast)