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Live Review: Hawthorne Heights, River Oaks, Sienna Skies, Spitalfield

1 September 2017 | 1:50 pm | Mikaelie Evans

"Peer pressure don't work, bro. I don't even drink!"

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A chilled congregation of tattooed, tight jeans-wearing punters wait for this evening's opening act, Spitalfield, who produce a popping punk set with high-pitched melodies simmering above the crowd's banter.

Hits from the early 2000s play over the venue sound system until Sienna Skies appears. Frontman Thomas Pirozzi encourages us to move forward including a friendly reminder that the band don't bite. Introducing Misunderstood, Pirozzi's deep screams blend among the thudding introductory chords and also challenge the pounding of the instrumental breakdowns in their songs.

After a brief intermission, we reassemble in front of the stage and wait for the red curtains to open and reveal Hawthorne Heights. The band open with Life On Standby and we sing along for the entirety of their setlist, which is their debut album, The Silence In Black And White, in full. When frontman JT Woodruff speaks, we laugh at his comical exaggerated mispronunciation of what he labels the band's favourite Australian city: Melbourne. Woodruff then tells us about their first Australian tour, which began in Melbourne, and how the band quickly became obsessed with Lord Of The Fries.

Niki FM takes us by surprise, all bellowing screams as we jump to the rhythmic patterns of intermittent breakdowns, but they seem to have skipped a track from this album. Woodruff concludes this portion of the evening by announcing they'll be selling merch.

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River Oaks takes the stage with his acoustic guitar. The solo project of Silverstein frontman Shane Told, we're delighted to hear him play some Silverstein material. Told's acoustic rendition of My Heroine brings the house down after a united singalong.

Hawthorne Heights begin their second set. We're told Woodruff is suffering from bronchitis, which is unfortunate given that this is the first night they've ever had to perform two sets in one night. Their second set sees the band performing their second album, If Only You Were Lonely, in full. A few songs in and punters encourage Woodruff to do a shoey. He remarks, "Peer pressure don't work, bro. I don't even drink!" Hawthorne Heights play Language Lessons (Five Words Or Less) and our moshpit really kicks off during this second set with Pirozzi back on stage doing mic grabs and stage dives. The band close with Ohio Is For Lovers, the track they missed from The Silence In Black And White during their first album-in-full set. We all sing along, feeling nostalgic.