Words: Kelsey Trevan
Photos: Dylan Martin

If there’s one thing that you can count on, it’s that the Melbourne fans will come out to see live music regardless of the weather. That was definitely the case last night as Newcastle punk band Trophy Eyes closed out the Australian leg of their ‘American Dream’ tour at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre. It’s steadily raining as the queue begins to build, the complete opposite of the brilliant sunshine and 28 degrees we had yesterday, but that’s not stopping anyone.

First up is Sydney four-piece indie-rock outfit STUMPS and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Who are these well-dressed fellows?” Vocalist Kyle Fisher, bassist Merrick Powell, guitarist Michael Sacco and drummer Jonny Dolan are not only well dressed, but they sound great as well. First impressions of their sound is a combination of The Maine and The Brobecks, with a little bit of The Smiths and Radiohead thrown in. Even though there’s only a small crowd so far, they’re extremely vocal right from the get-go and STUMPS are shown the love. STUMPS have seemingly come out of nowhere but are getting a lot of notice already and I look forward to getting to see them again.

The 70’s Britpop influences carried on to the next artist, Tasmania’s Maddy Jane. Dressed like Janis Joplin in a gorgeous dull-orange jumpsuit, Jane also sounded like Janis Joplin. There was also a little bit of Lily Allen, if Lily Allen was an indie-rocker and Australian. For a crowd that was very male heavy, Jane was incredibly well received and thoroughly enjoyable. STUMPS got us ready to dance, and then Maddy Jane and her band continued to bring the dance vibes. Jane gave a highly energetic performance, absolutely rocked and is incredibly flamboyant as a frontwoman. As far as rock frontwomen go, Jane is definitely up there with some of the best going around at the moment and could definitely stand up against other female rockers like Halestrom’s Lzzy Hale, and Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless.

Dear Seattle are up next and the crowd are already starting to get rowdy for these boys from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Led by vocalist Brae Fisher, Dear Seattle are high energy right from the start. Guitarist Lachlan ‘Simmo’ Simpson, bassist Jeremy ‘Jez’ Baker and drummer Josh McKay play counterpoint to Fisher in terms of the energy of the band, and all four work as a tight and cohesive musical unit. Playing a mix of new and old songs, Dear Seattle also pulled out a brand new song that everyone was jumping and dancing to as the first few crowd-surfers made their appearance. There was a lot of comedic banter happening on the stage and as they launched into their second to last song, Maybe, McKay messed up the drums and Fisher was quick to turn around and laugh with him before they launched back into the song.

As the lights go down for the final time, Trophy Eyes begin to filter onto the stage. Bassist Jeremy Winchester, guitarists Kevin Cross and Andrew ‘Pokket’ Hallet, and drummer Blake Caruso come first and as suspension builds, vocalist John Floreani takes to the stage. The crowd have been thoroughly hyped up by the time Trophy Eyes take to the stage and there is not a moment throughout the 18 song set where people are not dancing, singing, jumping or crowd-surfing. The pure joy and excitement on the band’s faces is hard to miss and they throw back to the crowd as much energy as the crowd is giving them.

Before A Symphony of Crickets, Floreani stopped and asked everyone to get their phone torches out while he sang and played acoustic guitar and it was a beautiful sight to behold. The Forum is an absolutely gorgeous venue and it looked just that little bit more beautiful with a packed crowd lighting it up with their phones. After Friday Forever the stage went black and Trophy Eyes went off while the crowd chanted “One more song!” not quite ready for the show to be over just yet. As the chants quietened down, the band returned to the stage and Winchester stepped up to the mic and asked “You didn’t think we were actually done yet, did you?” and the band played two more songs the delight of the entire crowd. As Trophy Eyes wrapped up their last song they took their bows, and Kevin Cross decided the right way to end the tour was to smash his guitar into the ground neck first and shatter it into several pieces. Not a bad way to end an excellent night of quality Australian punk rock!

Setlist:
A Cotton Candy Sky
Lavender Bay
More Like You
Broken
Something Bigger Than This
Hurt
Miming in the Choir
Autumn
Heaven Sent
Breathe You In
Suicide Pact
Day Dreamer
Tip Toe
A Symphony Of Crickets
Chlorine
Friday Forever

Encore:
You can Count on Me
I can Feel it Calling