It’s hard to believe the first month of 2018 is already done and dusted. The summer air is still around Melbourne, even after a cool start to week. Everyone’s walking around in shorts and shirts yet I don’t think that’s going to help much tonight. As much as its hard to believe that January 2018 is already behind us, its crazy to think that tonight’s headline act We The Kings from Florida, USA, have been around for over 10 years and, to celebrate, are playing their debut self titled album in full. It’s definitely a night that all We The Kings fan’s wished for.
Kicking off the eventful night is the local Melbourne alt-rock and punk-pop outfit TERRA. Formed back in 2014 and having a strong start for 2018, it seems like this may be the breakthrough year for the band. After a jittery start to the set wish some tech faults, they quickly jumped in and showed why they were picked as the nights local support. Lead vocalist Cassie Sutton’s vocals were easily heard with the heavy riffs from lead guitarist Liv Fraser and rhythm guitarist Joey Knight. As much as the start was jittery and left looking a bit nervous, the stage presence of the band as a whole is amazing, not letting one part of the stage untouched. The crowd was also highly enjoying the show being put on especially when an incredible hard cover of Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles‘.
This was only one act of three for the night so it was a good indication for everyone how the night is going to go. If you didn’t catch TERRA supporting Four Years Strong in January or during We The Kings, be sure to check them out as they remind myself of early Tonight Alive and only will move up if they keep up this energy.
Pop-punk band Miss Adventure from Ballarat in country Victoria came out to many cheers from the crowd. They are a very fun band to catch as they reminded me of bands like Bowling For Soup with a bit of A Day to Remember break downs. It may have just been the venue but it seemed that lead vocalist Liam Kelly was a bit off key yet still held it on well.
The one thing I will never understand that happened in the set is the downright disgusting thing that’s gone crazy lately, the Shoey. Kelly and bassist Jake Crawford dared guitarist Bailey Crawford to do a shoey on stage and it’s never a great sight to watch. Many people in the crowd chanted for it however so it had to happen much to this writers disgust.
They were bringing the crowd into the show more and more by busting out a pop-punk cover of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ which, as much as people were asking “what why?” had them join in. They’re a good band but great performers and know how to entertain which, for band as young as Miss Adventure, is a big compliment and brings a bright future for the band hopefully.
Before We The Kings came on stage, there was possibly the best introduction by a voiceover done giving out “ground rules” like clothing will remain on for the first song as well as a countdown to the first song which happened to be the bands number one hit ‘Check Yes Juliet”’ which was a surprise to kick off with as usually songs of that caliber for the band are held on for the end of a set.
Following up with ‘Whoa‘ off their self titled, it was easy to see it was pure die hard fans here. It may not have been a sold out show but those in attendance were easily some of the biggest fans in Melbourne.
One of the best things about this album-in-full shows was the fact they could easily play cover-to-cover yet decided to mix things up by playing mid-album track ‘All Again For You’ which, until this tour, had never been played on Australian shores. It’s nice to still have some surprise factor to a show even when you know that all songs off the album will be eventually played.
Yet again the crowd started the chant for the disgusting (as always) “shoey” that had guitarist Hunter Thomsen doing the unlucky activity of drinking from his shoe to which even lead vocalist Travis Clark called the crowd crazy. It was right after that when Clark decided to tell a story about himself and his girlfriend in their teenage years in Tetris metaphors. This was done so his daughters “won’t ask about things posted on the net” according to Clark. I never thought I’d ever hear a personal adult story done in Tetris metaphors but it happened and was pretense to the song ‘Secret Valentine’.
Sell out shows are incredible but having a venue like 170 Russell not sell out has this feel of intimacy to them that can’t be matched. It was absolutely beautiful be just stand back and listen and still feel so close to everything.
When ‘Don’t Speak Liar‘ and ‘This Is Our Town‘ were played it was an absolute treat to all Australian fans who have never been able to hear until this tour and, compared to the studio release, sounded better than ever.
Another highlight was the video screens everywhere showing topical videos for each song yet it was with ‘Stay Young’ that had footage from the last 10 years played in the background and showed how far the band had come was really nice and showed the dedication the band had to each other as well as fans.
The final song of the album set ‘Skyway Avenue‘ had the crowd in the bands palms as the floor went crazy with everyone jumping. Still surprising that they didn’t finish this set with ‘Check Yes Juliet‘ but still was a great way to finish an album in full.
The first song played that wasn’t off the self titled album was ‘Just Keep Breathing‘ from the 2011 album Sunshine State of Mind which had people from front to back jumping and joining in and for good reason. The song and the message that accompanies it is just absolutely beautiful. It’s easy to see why it’s a fan favourite. This followed into 2013’s ‘Sad Song’ which had everyone singing with their phones out and torches on.
‘Say You Like Me’ and the cover of Jimmy Eat World’s famous ‘The Middle‘ were great ways to bring the night to a finish. It was the last song of the night that I found to be conflicting. We joke about bands and artists playing their number one hit over and over as their set yet We The Kings wanted to keep tradition going by book-ending their entire show with, yet again, ‘Check Yes Juliet’. It’s an amazing song and the crowd loved it but with 7 albums over 10 years, there’s so many other songs that could’ve helped finish the night.
As much as it ended like that, it was an amazing show and one that people should go see as its only once that a debut album turns 10.