Live Review: Dead Letter Circus, Clint Boge, Rival Fire

22 August 2016 | 5:00 pm | Samuel Connor

"Stewart Hill's throbbing bass and Luke Williams' jumpy drumming are the heroes."

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170 Russell may as well be a stadium because each of tonight's three acts make it feel like one, flooding the room with different, yet equally impressive, types of powerhouse rock.

After a long wait, the crowd are a bit sluggish and almost drowsy. A dose of Melbourne's Rival Fire soon fixes that. A couple of songs into their set and the crowd move along to the upbeat beats and shake off the winter chills. Rob Farnham's voice acts as a rallying cry as the band rip through songs off their debut EP Riot and songs off their upcoming debut album. With a drum beat that drives the rock'n'roll guitar riffs, Rival Fire's sound as polished as a veteran band, but still perform with all the energy of the up-and-coming band that they are.

A short interlude gives way to ex-The Butterfly Effect singer Clint Boge and his former bandmate Glenn Esmond, each armed with only an acoustic guitar. The crowd greets them like royalty, as if they could have been the headliners on the tour. It's no wonder, then, that Boge and Esmond bring some of The Butterfly Effect's biggest hits on stage with them. Each song becomes a singalong followed by the crowd's booming uproar - we're immersed in nostalgia. Weaving in some songs off Boge's EP, Songs Of A Delicate Nature Volume 1, and also songs from Esmond's new project, A Family Of Strangers, brings a performance that merges new and old and leaves the crowd more than satisfied.

On the back wall of the stage, a white-LED open palm sigil lights up in heavy contrast to the menacing red lighting that floods the stage. Before long, Dead Letter Circus arrive on stage and kill it from the first moment. As the band churn out song after song, Stewart Hill's throbbing bass and Luke Williams' jumpy drumming are the heroes. Kim Benzie yells out all of Dead Letter Circus' lyrics, his voice adding so much emotional integrity to these songs, and that's just what this band are about. When the cover art from Dead Letter Circus' Aesthesis' album — a broken heart — graces the back wall of the stage, it's an emotional sensation.

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