Max Watts is a venue that has a LOT of musical history and last night, they added another piece to that list: the mighty Venom Inc. were in town and keen to cause more mayhem as they continued on their Avé Australis Tour. Whilst there was a slight delay in doors opening, it only meant that those who were waiting got more and more excited for this history breaking moment to take place!
Melbourne’s own Black Jesus were the first taste of music tonight and they blew their way through a nice tight 30 minute set, made up from a mixture of older and newer songs. Even though the pit was quite empty (thanks to the bar getting a good workout!), everyone in attendance was head-banging along by the end as riff after riff flew from the stage! If you are a proud supporter of local music, make sure you look for Black Jesus at an upcoming show as you will not be disappointed; this reviewer is most definitely a newly acquired fan and can’t wait to see them perform again.
After Black Jesus’ opening set, tour wide supports Desecrator had to be on the top of their game and they didn’t disappoint; they showcased the talent that the Melbourne metal scene is well known for! At this stage more people had made their way towards the rail and the intimacy that Max Watts has started to really show, as vocalist/guitarist Riley Strong called for people to come and join in the fun to be had instead of missing out by sitting back. Those on the rail were starting to get a little friendlier as Desecrator extruded high energy for their entire set; Strong, second guitarist Anthony Finch and bassist Gerad Biesboer were making the most of every available centimetre of stage space, whilst Jared Roberts was pounding the skins of the drum kit like a man possessed!
Next thing you knew, Desecrator are drawing their set to a close and lights were dimmed once again in anticipation for Venom Inc.; this was a good opportunity for people to have a quick refuel before the onslaught that was upcoming. As lights completely faded out, Mantas was the first to grace the stage and receive the loving cheers of long time Venom fans; Demolition Man and Abaddon came out not long after, the later proudly carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels out with him. As the trio got themselves set up, the intro to Ave Satanis played in the background, signalling that the mayhem was about to kick off; those in the pit were really letting out their long pent up excitement as they were treated to a mixture of Venom Inc. songs, as well as songs from the Venom back catalogue. Delving back to where it all began, Welcome To Hell was the second song before the trio bought it back to current album ‘Ave’ by performing Metal We Bleed.
Fan favourites were being played left and right, as Die Hard, Live Like An Angel, Blackened Are The Priests and Carnivorous exploded from the speakers, much to the cheers of everyone in attendance; whether you have been a fan of Venom from day one or came along for the ride later on was completely irrelevant as there was something for everyone! The energy in the venue was just electrifying, as everyone was feeding off each other; this was evident as both the crowd and the trio on stage were moving around more and more as the night went on.
Warhead came with some instructions from Mantas that were delivered before things kicked off; the crowd was instructed to chant “Warhead” when the lyrics came up. Before the last opportunity, Mantas told the audience to make sure they gave it all they had as it was the last chance they would get to do it for the night and the crowd did not disappoint, chanting so loud they would have raised the roof off Max Watts if possible! Don’t Burn The Witch was the last song from the older catalogue for now, as Demolition Man introduced the newest single War to the ever appreciative fans before making their way back to the classics with Leave Me In Hell. Mantas introduced Black Metal to the audience by pointing out that “some of you might remember that thirty five, thirty six, however many years ago it was that I wrote a song that some say changed the face of music together”, before Countless Bathory drew the set to a close.
After taking the time to walk around stage and show their appreciation to the fans, which included Abaddon sharing his bottle of Jack Daniels with a select few from the front row, Venom Inc. walked off stage; this lead to those in attendance chanting for one more song! Thankfully it was only a couple of minutes before Abaddon, Mantas and The Demolition Man graced the stage again, delivering a two song encore consisting of Sons of Satan and Witching Hour; these last two songs were the cherry on top of what was already an amazing evening that those in attendance will never forget. The fans continued to show their upmost appreciation for the experience as the band made their way off stage for the second time this evening.
However, the night was still not over! Abaddon has graced the stage for a third time and taken up residency behind a microphone before announcing to the Melbourne crowd that if we wanted one more song, we had to make sure that Mantas and Demolition Man could hear us from the green room upstairs. The massive roar from those in attendance resulted in the Melbourne audience getting a tour first as Bloodlust was performed as a second encore! Abaddon has then made sure that the rest of the bottle of Jack Daniels was shared with fans along the rail as both Mantas and Demolition Man took time to meet fans and shake hands before fading off into the night.
If you weren’t there last night, you missed out on an experience that this reviewer will remember for a long time to come. If you are in Adelaide and Perth, don’t let the opportunity to see Venom Inc. pass you by!
Welcome To Hell
Metal We Bleed
Live Like An Angel
Blackened Are The Priests
Don’t Burn The Witch
Leave Me In Hell
Sons Of Satan
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Photos By Dylan Martin
See more of Dylan’s work at Dylan Martin Photography