Live Review: Erra

28 September 2022 | 4:09 pm | Rod Whitfield

"Erra are tighter than a clenched fist and hit even harder."


First up, another big pat on the back to Melbourne punters for showing up, selling out, and packing this venue to the back on a cold, wet Tuesday evening. 

Regional Victorian band Atlvs are up first, blasting out their brand of dark, vicious metalcore to an ever-growing Stay Gold crowd. Their sound is relentlessly abrasive, with throat-rending vocals howling over the top until they hit a welcome mid-set dynamic moment (which itself isn’t exactly a ballad, just a slightly ‘slower’ one). The mid to late-set vocal trade-off between frontman and bass player works a treat, and their closing tune is an absolute stomper, almost one long pounding, heavy breakdown. When you’re an up-and-coming band, and you get an opportunity to open for an international band at 7:15pm on a Tuesday night to a very solid throng of punters, you grasp it with both hands and make the biggest impact you can, and that’s exactly what these guys do. 

Grindy industrial techno heralds the arrival of country NSW’s Diamond Construct. This band is an explosive, gnarly hybrid of nu-metal and metalcore, deftly combining the two sub-genres and making a damn good fist of coining one of their own, ‘nu-core’. Whatever box you want to put them into, it cannot be denied. This five-piece (vocals, guitar, bass, drums and a DJ/producer slamming the decks and the electronic percussion) are quite spectacular at what they do: they are percussively dynamic, the guitar lines are crazy, discordant and anxiety-inducing, and in Kynan Groundwater, they have a frontman who demands attention and spits controlled fury. 

The bludgeoning, devastating chaos of Submerged is the highlight of their set.

DC are lean, hungry and extraordinarily angry. They channel their rage into an intense but laser-focused sound and a volatile live performance that, like Atlvs, makes the absolute most of their 25 minutes. 

Melbourne’s The Gloom In The Corner open with a rousing, anthemic singalong before turning brutal. Despite their name, their vibe is very ‘up’, their sound is very live wire, and they deliver it with a punch of exuberance that fills a room that is at bulging capacity. Their songs are all heavy, frenzied anthems until we get another welcome mid-set moment of light and shade, a track that further shows off cannonball frontman Mikey Arthur’s vocal versatility. He is equally at home screaming, doing guttural lows, singing clean and melodic and even pulling out brief but impactful spoken word moments. 

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TGITC’s stomping, slamming music, and over-the-top stage performance is an ideal lead-in to the main event. 

America’s Erra have been touring like road dogs for more than a decade now, and it shows. They are tighter than a clenched fist and hit even harder.

Surprisingly, this is their first ever Australian headlining tour.

Blessed with two superb lead singers, frontman JT Cavey on the dirties and guitarist Jesse Cash handling the cleans, the live vocals are absolutely dead on the money for the entirety of their hour-plus set. Cavey screams like a man possessed, sings with true commitment to the cause, and Cash’s cleans are ethereal but soaring and powerful. Behind them, the rhythm section locks in, pumps, and punches like a finely tuned V8 engine-fed rocket fuel.

When you see a band like this, who’ve been around for so long and have such an illustrious back catalogue behind them, it makes you realise just how many fabulous, iconic songs they have as said tunes come rolling out at you, over and over, in joyful waves. Each song is an anthem, each song features musicianship and songcraft of the highest order, and each song comes alive and grows another leg or two in a live setting. And they save the best til the last song of the set, the almighty Snowblood, which blows the roof off the venue and lifts the audience to the very heavens.

The band leave the stage briefly before the hyped-up crowd demand a return for ‘one more song!’ They duly comply, ripping out a blistering version of Hybrid Earth, and we all turn around and file out with huge smiles on our faces.

Damn, that was satisfying!