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Live Review: Miles Away, Blacklisted, Shackles, The Gifthorse

20 May 2015 | 2:53 pm | Tom Hersey

"The dudes don’t waste any time getting reacquainted with Brisbane fans tonight, tossing the refined, technically proficient, newer cuts down alongside the blasts of hardcore aggression"

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After a cancelled all ages show that transformed into a secret show in the afternoon, Brisbane gets another chance to catch a stacked line-up compiled around Miles Away and Blacklisted. First up The Gifthorse take to the stage. It’s hard to not be taken in by the local punk heroes’ set. With tunes that have a powerful everyman appeal, The Gifthorse are adept at winning over crowds. Tonight is no exception, as the cuts from the band’s Give My Body To This Town album get a warm response from the crowd.

Shackles get up next and give the whole audience a shot of adrenalin. The sharp bursts of power-violence sound jagged enough to draw blood and the kids up in the pit aren’t complaining about this.

You don’t just watch a Blacklisted set, you experience it. The visceral misery of cuts like No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me and Matrimony comes at you like a freight train and hits you in the stomach. Here’s a band that seems very happy to be on the other side of the world playing shows, but also they give off a sense that it’s also very hard on them to do so. It’s a very compelling dichotomy, and not one you encounter regularly amidst all the simple sloganeering and unhelpful didacticism of the hardcore scene. As George Hirsch exorcises all his self-loathing and frustrations on stage, it’s hard not to feel awful along with him. The pit dries up and things get a bit contemplative. Even when Blacklisted hit the fast numbers featured on Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God, you can’t escape the weight of these songs’ meaning, and the mindset of the band that would pen them. But there’s a cathartic energy underscoring the emotional anguish. There couldn’t be many bands like Blacklisted, but it’s a great thing that there’s at least one of them.

Blacklisted make for a tough act to follow, but if anybody is up to the challenge, it’s Perth’s Miles Away. Though once a fixture of the hardcore scene, when at a point in the mid-to-late noughties it seemed like you couldn’t hold a hardcore show without them on the bill, the band’s now-sporadic touring has fans near-rabid in their excitement. It also helps that their new record, Tide, is the business. The dudes don’t waste any time getting reacquainted with Brisbane fans tonight, tossing the refined, technically proficient, newer cuts down alongside the blasts of hardcore aggression from the Consequences record. What’s most interesting when hearing the new stuff performed live is how, even though the band has evolved so much, their old material still absolutely holds up. Hopefully we won’t be waiting long to see Miles Away again.

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