Pierce The Veil / Silverstein / Beartooth / Storm The Sky
Big Top Luna Park, Sydney 17/08/2016
Review: Peyton Bernhardt | Gallery: Robert Birchall
Picture this: it’s 2010. Pierce The Veil are playing small capacity venues supporting Caleb Shomo’s old band, Attack Attack!, on their first ever Australian tour. Flash forward to the present, and PTV are hitting up venues five times as big as the ones they occupied six years ago on their national headliner. If you’re still wondering why everyone’s raving about it, it’s because you haven’t been yet.
Melbourne’s Storm The Sky kicked off the show in all their innovative glory, presenting a set reinvigorated by their unique new material. While the only song they played from their prior LP Permanence (“Alive”) solicited the biggest reaction, the way that their evolving sound has been accepted is best represented in this example: as quickly as members of the circle pit started fight dancing, they transitioned into a group of young people waving their arms along to frontman William Jarratt’s more sombre outpourings, happy to participate in any way they could. Though hindered by the house lights remaining on for the duration of their performance and security drip-feeding them a crowd until about halfway through, the newfound “death poppers” proved 100% that they deserved to be there.
There was a surprising number of kids who rocked up just to see Beartooth, but even if you’re not into the Shomo-fronted metalcore phenomenon, as soon as the act graced the stage you couldn’t help but feel like you were involved. There wasn’t a performance hiccup detectable, but at the end of the day, that wasn’t even what it was about: these guys lit up the venue like they were the headliners, pummelling through oldies like “Between The Line” and newies like “Aggressive” while preserving the thick vibe of angst and catharsis that they unleashed into the room. There was an undeniable chemistry between creator and crowd, as the pit submitted to Shomo’s every beck and call without hesitation.
Interestingly, there was a distinct difference between the way that the under 18 half of the venue responded to Beartooth and the way the came-of-age adults knelt before Silverstein. It was, prior, a questionable move to make Silverstein the support when fans the country over were scoffing at how they could fall under PTV on the line-up. That didn’t pose an issue. When they stepped on stage, it was like the venue travelled back to 2006: leave it to Silverstein to make you headbang ‘til you’re dizzy and give you respite only when frontman Shane Told tones it down for a softer verse. From “Smile In Your Sleep” to “Sacrifice”, the general consensus from the diehards was that the setlist paid its respects to the old while promoting the new… And that the Pokemon reference the scene vets made was legendary.
The thing about this show was, awkwardly enough, that Pierce The Veil didn’t even need to come on to make attending it a worthwhile experience. That didn’t mean they didn’t step up to their headliner status and absolutely slay, though. Where in the past their shows were a different beast, hinging on the glory of messy post-hardcore in a tiny room, this was a rehearsed, theatrical outlay. There was confetti – there was smoke – there was one weird moment where frontman Vic Fuentes tried to kill bassist Jaime Preciado during “Texas In Forever”.
To win the hearts they didn’t already capture, Fuentes invited a crowd member onstage to serenade her during ‘Bulletproof Love’, and switched up the lyrics on “Stained Glass Eyes and Colourful Tears” to “I cherish my Australian girl”. Perhaps the most special aspect was their acoustic rendition of “Kissing In Cars”, an early tune that didn’t officially get slotted onto any of their records. Even though they played mostly new offerings, and no one came out to guest on “Caraphernelia” or “Hold On Till May”, they did their job, which Fuentes articulated as ensuring their viewers were “able to let go of any kind of shit” in their life. Walking out the doors of the venue and through the mouth of Luna Park beside blissful showgoers, it certainly felt like they achieved that mission.