Live Review: Circles, Rival Fire, Ebonivory, Caution: Thieves

16 July 2019 | 11:04 am | Rod Whitfield

"Melbourne’s mighty Circles are insanely loud tonight."

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It is Circles’ Winter tour, but the vibe inside Max Watts is warm and the music is hotter than hell. Caution: Thieves are a real surprise packet. They don’t fit comfortably into any category - too heavy for alt rock, not really metal or even metalcore, and definitely not punk (although they combine elements of all of the above and more). They just do what they do and they do it very well. The vocals are big, their sound is huge and their 30-minute set starts to warm things up rather nicely. 

In a similar way, although with a wildly different sound, Ballarat’s Ebonivory are indefinable. Combining elements of a unique brand of progressive rock and metal with punk, power-pop and more, they stir the creative melting pot around until it creates a very heady but cohesive whole. The sound is explosive, you can get lost in it, and the performance kinetic. They slam through their 30-minute set, leaving no one in the room unimpressed. There is something special brewing here. The term ‘next big thing’ may be cheesy but it may just fit here.

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Ebonivory @ Max Watt's. Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.

Main support Rival Fire are different again. Meat and potatoes alternative rock, their sound creates a straightforward, driving energy that spreads infectiously through the room, and provides a great contrast to the more eclectic sounds swirling around them. Frontman Rob Farnham is in fine fettle, his voice rising sweetly above the rock as he paces the stage like a sleek, blonde cat in an oversized white T-shirt, and the band locks in tighter than a highly wound snare drum behind him.

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Rival Fire @ Max Watt's. Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.

For some reason, Melbourne’s mighty Circles are insanely loud tonight. But it is a sweet, high-quality loudness that doesn’t grate on the eardrums, a sound that fills the big, open Max Watt's band room and envelopes the listener in a huge wash. It is unfortunate that, just as their set is building to a fever pitch, some overzealous, karate-kicking mosher injures himself and things are put on halt while the paramedics are called in. Band and crowd alike stand around helpless, looking at each other, not sure what to do or say, concerned for the young man’s welfare. Apparently he is indeed ok, and that’s the main thing. 

Much kudos to Circles too. After the floor has been cleared and the young man taken away on a stretcher they soldier on, smashing out another few ripping tracks for the vast majority of punters who have stuck around. Well done for carrying on and giving people their money’s worth.

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Circles @ Max Watt's. Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.