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Live Review: Live, The Tea Party

7 March 2018 | 9:48 am | Tom O'Donovan

"Throughout one song frontman Ed Kowalczyk pleaded with the sound guy to turn up the volume on his foldback, eventually gaining his attention."

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The Tea Party was the demonic and edgier half of tonigh's double bill and warmed the crowd up well early on.

Charismatic frontman Jeff Martin implored the half-full stadium to clap and dance through the band's ten songs and, to the band's credit, they performed as if playing to an Ed Sheeran-size audience. Sister Awake came with a well-executed middle section of The Rolling Stones' Paint It Black, while Heaven Coming Down featured a surprise extended cover of U2's With Or Without You. Martin caressed a bow over his electric in a distorted rock-off with drummer Jeff Burrows before closing out with Temptation, the band leaving at the top of their game.

Having sold eight million copies of their 1994 album Throwing Copper in the US alone, Live dominated the heavily populated '90s post-grunge landscape, albeit with limited commercial success thereafter. And the band's recent re-formation of the original line-up was met with great expectation for their run of Australian dates.

Kicking into All Over You after a countdown intro, all signs pointed to a kickass set from the Pennsylvanians. But just as the crowd got comfortable, the mix descended into a melange of overly loud and distorted sounds, with electric guitar, bass, drums and vocals all melding into a muddy mess. Throughout one song frontman Ed Kowalczyk pleaded with the sound guy to turn up the volume on his foldback, eventually gaining his attention.

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Covers of Cash's Walk The Line and Audioslave's I Am The Highway chunked-up a set already littered with the band's own hits such as The Dolphin's Cry, I Alone and Lakini's Juice. Live returned for an encore highlighted by Lightning Crashes, but nothing could save the band from such a downright poor mix on this occasion.