Wow! I’m standing outside the Evelyn Hotel in Melbourne having just walked out from one of the best local gigs I’ve been lucky enough to witness. “What did I just witness?” I ask myself. I’m on a high that no drug could possibly produce. We stand reminiscing with our pairs. The air has changed. Australian music is in good hands.

There were a couple of acts I hadn’t previously been exposed to in my time in Melbourne, but it was with the words of a dear friend that I sincerely trust that I got my arse down to the venue early to catch Terrestrials. As I walk in the door the band is just hitting the stage and there is a very good crowd in early, and it is hot! Yes, temperature hot, but that’s not exactly what I am talking about. You see, when your favourite bands consist of names like Karnivool and Tool, or Dead Letter Circus and Butterfly Effect, Terrestrials fulfils your every desire and more. The driving guitars and pulsating rhythm section are punching me in the chest. Vocalist Scott Alexander lifts your mind into a place of anticipation and solidarity with fellow fans in the room.

This was just the beginning as Mushroom Giant take the stage shortly after. There’s no lights, just a projection behind the band that trips you out and takes you into a trance within the space that their instrumental Prog rock takes you through. The songs are dynamic and emotive, and as you close your eyes and listen to the world they have created your desires change as a story comes to focus in your head. Mushroom Giant take you on a journey with their music not unlike bands like Jakob blended with The Cure. This band will reach some great heights so remember this name.

It wasn’t long ago Orsome Welles were releasing their latest EP Rise which we celebrated at this very venue just months ago. Their unique, dramatic and operatic blend of Prog rock stands out from the crowd, and with numerous tours under their belt now they are a world-class act. They set the pace and tone for the headline act to come and the near capacity crowd in attendance are glowing. Vocalist Michael Stowers makes them roar, makes them sing. Oh we’re awake, we’re partying and we are one.

Well we’ve certainly witnessed the fitness, but nothing prepares you for the dramatic, theatric and emotive performance being produced by headline act Acolyte. This is a celebration of their career to date, spurred on by the first album Shades of Black, a closing of one chapter as the next begins, and after the extensive ‘Space and Time’ Australian single release tour the band have gone all out with a spectacular light show not seen at venues like the Evelyn Hotel, and all the bells and whistles you can think of.

Opening track ‘Monolith’ is a highlight of the night and we’re only beginning. It’s like a dream. I feel vocalist Morgan-Leigh Brown‘s emotion as her voice soars through the venue. Her voice and confidence have grown so rapidly and elegantly as she shares a connection with everyone in the room.

We are treated to a mixture of the band’s latest album and tastes of new material, and after a few line-up changes it did not disappoint. There are not many artists that you can compare their new sound to. Acolyte are finding their feet and are creating a launchpad for true worldwide success.

Guitarist Brandon Valentine, who slotted in for the ‘Space and Time’ tour, does not look out of place and the dynamic within the band inspires a new level of stage presence and connection. It is not lost on me the way the band have honed their craft and if they continue to show the same commitment, intensity and connection with their fan base there is no reason they can’t take over the world and inject some much needed life into Australian music.

As they say, strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. Tonight was an inspiring insight into exactly that.

 

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MARTIN