"Sykes launched into the crowd as lasers and confetti cut through the air."
Judging by the small crowd filtering through the doors of Qudos Arena, most punters were unaware that the Royal Easter Show had begun this very day and were no doubt still trying to find a car park as Newcastle pop-punkers Trophy Eyes took the stage. “Everybody to the front,” yelled frontman John Floreani, the crowd chanting back the refrain of opener You Can Count On Me. Clad in black, Floreani whirled and twirled through the opening slot of what is their largest arena run to date, closing with the party anthem Friday Forever.
Though the top was curtained off, tonight’s show was close to sold out, and rightfully so as the punk whirlwind that is Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes catapulted into every cranny of the arena for a set that can only be described as incredibly fun. Never standing still more for than a split second, Carter led the charge from front of stage and, at times, from the crowd. “Taking a walk,” is how he put it, standing on the shoulders and heads of the front rows, the back rows surging forward with outstretched hands. In what was the first of a trend for the night, Carter urged to crowd to get down low, exploding into a frenzied mosh on cue. A love song “dedicated to all the people in your life who you fucking hate” wrapped the set up, along with a promise to return in December. (Good Things perhaps?).
Looking more like a boy band than a pop-punk/metalcore outfit, UK five-piece You Me At Six bounced onto the stage and into the arms of the plethora of young girls that had replaced the male portion of the front several rows. Fast Forward, Straight To My Head and the poppy I O U had the now packed-out floor bouncing like crazy. The band were joined by Oli Sykes on Bite My Tongue, the crowd positively charged at the appearance of the frontman.
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“Do you want to start a cult with me?” The recorded voice delivered its spiel, an invitation to Mantra. As it rained confetti, Bring Me The Horizon took their positions on the multi-level stage and the pit exploded for those opening minutes for what is certainly the heaviest track on their latest offering, Amo. Frontman Oli Sykes - his face tattoos silhouetted by the pulsing light show - appeared like a skeleton, menacing. His flowing white top whipped as he hit every inch of the stage in mere minutes.
Avalanche and The House Of Wolves may have shocked the uninitiated, the triple j fans, with security working overtime to pull crying people out of the crowd crush. Happy Song, Mother Tongue and Wonderful Life followed, the last with a giant animation of Dani Filth igniting fuel on a background of swimming fishies and cartoon gardens.
With a small interlude between two parts of the set, a rowing mosh opened up, causing many confused faces and many cheers. Shadow Moses saw plenty of circle pits open, the crowd crushing from front to back. As Australian audiences are wont to do, they began chanting “Shoey!” incessantly. Sykes was confused, asking what “chewy” was and eventually becoming disgusted when he found out. Nevertheless, shoeys were done on stage, though not without a jab at the owner of the Everlast shoe in question.
Closing the second part of the set with an acoustic version of Drown slowed things down a little, but it was just a brief reprieve before the third and final part of what had been a non-stop rollercoaster of a show. Then came Doomed, before an incredibly heavy take on Medicine. Normally their most radio-friendly song, they turned it on its head and cranked it to 11. Closing with the anthemic Throne, punters started down low on the ground then burst upwards in unison while Sykes launched into the crowd as lasers and confetti cut through the air.
When Bring Me The Horizon asked if we want to start a cult, Sydney followed blindly and gave it their all.