Words: Kelsey Trevan
Photos: Nicole Smith-Walker

It’s official! Melbourne is the live music capital of the world. Last night was no exception to this rule as an epic lineup of talent from Melbourne and Sydney thrilled a capacity crowd at Melbourne’s Max Watts. The weather outside may have been cold and dreary, but inside it was electric! It was the second last stop for Sydney’s Hellions on their ‘Rue’ album tour, and they brought along fellow Sydney siders Yours Truly, as well as Melbourne’s own DREGG and Between You And Me.

Before they head out to the U.K for a short run of shows supporting pop punk giants Sum 41, Yours Truly kicked off what was promising to be a fantastic night. You can always trust that Melbournian’s are going to show up early and support all the bands on the lineup and that’s exactly what they did for Yours Truly. The four piece have been hard at work gathering a follow in their hometown and Melbourne, and their Melbourne fans were more than happy to singalong to the bands set. Playing a mix of old songs and newer songs from their EP ‘Afterglow’, including guest vocals on their track ‘Delusional Paradise’ from Jake Wilson of Between You And Me, frontwoman Mikaila, along with her bandmates guitarists Teddy and Lachlan, and drummer Bradley did a great job of warming and hyping up the crowd.

I don’t think the crowd were ready for what came next when Melbourne’s DREGG took to the stage. The five piece hardcore outfit are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and took to the stage complete with face-paint, shiny stage outfits, masks and even a crop top! In such a competitive industry its always great to see a band that’s challenging the norm, and there’s no doubt that that’s exactly what DREGG are doing. Their aggressive playing style was accompanied by aggressive vocals and their sound and vocalist Christopher Mackertich encourage moshing, as well as the first circle put of the evening. Mackertich made a point of talking about how Hellions are doing their own thing and daring to be different, and you can’t argue that that’s what DREGG are doing as well. You know you’re doing something right when you have a crowd that isn’t necessarily yours off their feet and screaming along with you. A refreshing and invigorating performance from the five piece and I know I can’t wait to see what they do next!

‘Five bad boys with the power to rock you’ from British boy band Five’s track Slam Dunk Da Funk is what plays through the speakers before Between You And Me take to the stage, and the crowd is ready. A rapid change of pace from the hardcore DREGG, the other Melbourne boys on the bill are a breath of fresh pop punk air. With vocalist Jake Wilson, guitarists Jai Gibson and Chris Bowerman, drummer Jamey Bowerman, and the always charismatic James ‘Bassy’ Karagiozis on bass, Between You And Me have worked hard to get to where they are, and the energetic and excitable home town crowd were more than happy to mosh, rock and singalong. The bands set included a new and heart-warming song Floral Glass which Jake dedicated to his aunt who passed away, and there were a fair few tears shed by the crowd during the emotional performance. It’s tradition that Jake ends the set by backflipping into the crowd, and he made sure that there was someone there to catch him, not that there was any chance they wouldn’t. Between You And Me were a fabulous addition to the bill and were the perfect choice to hype the crowd for the headliners.

The crowd spent a lot of the night singing along, and that wasn’t limited to while the bands were playing. While the stage was reset for the headliners, My Chemical Romance classics ‘Teenagers’ and ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ played through the speakers and the sold-out crowd screamed along. Finally, it was time for the main attraction to take the stage, everything went dark before drummer Anthony Caruso, guitarist Matty Gravolin and Josh Campiao, and then finally vocalist Dre Fairve came onto the stage and kicked into ‘Rue’. All it took was the first line before Dre could take a break because the crowd were almost as loud as he was, without the help of a microphone. It is a testament to Hellions, and the relationship they have built with their loyal fans, that it only took 1 line of their opening track before the crowd started singing. The crowd didn’t stop singing for the entirety of the set, and it was a truly beautiful thing to witness. Max Watts isn’t the biggest venue in Melbourne, but with how packed it was from the sold out crowd, and the impressive lighting rigs on-stage, it felt bigger than it was. From the pit, to the back, all the way to the balcony, the venue moved like an ocean from start to finish, and during ‘(Blueberry)’ everyone raised their arms and it was a sea of limbs. Another great example of how passionate Hellions fans are about the band was how happy they were to obey instructions to start a circle pit, quite a feat in a packed venue!

It was about halfway through the set that Anthony took the opportunity to take to the mic, giving the powerful message “Look around you. This is your support network. These are the people you reach out to if you’re struggling.”, giving a shout out to mental health organisation BeyondBlue, and Girls Rock, an organisation that empowers and inspires young women, lesbians, transgender and non-binary persons to follow their dreams in the music industry. It was a magical night for a few reasons, including guest vocals, much to the crowds delight, from Northlane’s Marcus Bridge, and because it’s Matty’s last show. The band parted on good terms and at the end of the show Josh hugged Matty tight, and Dre stated ‘that’s real love right there’. There were also a few funny moments during the set, the best one being when Josh described the band as members of the Friends cast. According to Josh, Dre is Ross, Matty is Joey, Anthony is Rachel, and he is Chandler, so try unseeing that next time you see Hellions play! DREGG’s Christopher pointed this out earlier in the evening, but it’s even more obvious when you watch them – Hellions are unlike anything that’s out in the music world at the moment. They are genre-blending and genre-defying, and the show wasn’t just a gig, it was an experience that the band made sure their fans loved. With 2 songs left to play, Dre took his in-ear monitors out so that he could properly hear the crowd singing, and the pure joy on his and his fellow band-members faces was beautiful to see. One of the absolute stand out shows of 2019 so far and for Hellions, the only way is up!

SYDNEY! Don’t miss out, the last show on this tour is this Friday May 17th, pick up your tickets HERE!

Yours Truly

Dregg

Between You And Me

Hellions