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Live Review: Pennywise, Face To Face, The Menzingers

11 April 2013 | 10:12 am | Samantha Armatys

Tonight has a clear message: never change, never compromise, never grow up.

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As the sold out room fills with the familiar smells of beer and decade-old t-shirts, the Sunday night line-up at the Coolangatta Hotel promises to leave a dull ringing in the ears for days to come. First up is Philadelphia act The Menzingers, who formed in 2006 and bring a little bit of 21st century spirit to the otherwise '90s affair. Opener The Obituaries, off last year's On the Impossible Past, showcases their rugged brand of melodic rock. The few onlookers at the front of the stage bring in I Was Born with rapid handclaps, and Burn After Writing is the tightest number of the set. There's a hint of Japandroids or Titus Andronicus just underneath the surface and the band show visible growth from their earlier catalogue. When followed by two veteran acts who've made little discernible change to their sounds in the last twenty years, this just might be the highlight of the night. 

Next up Face To Face are met with a thunderous welcome. Frontman Trever Keith unleashes an artillery of tracks that are almost indistinguishable at times. Sure it's all supposed to be loud, but the volume and sound quality means that even a small, thrashy step away from the mic renders the vocals inaudible. Blind from the 1996 self-titled album sees the mosh pit engulf the floor. With such a lengthy discography there's plenty of material to cover, and the crowd grow restless quickly during an anecdote from Keith. He shrugs it off with a “fuck you guys” and delivers old favourites (I Want, Ordinary, Pastel) as well as first cut Drop from the brand new Three Chords And A Half Truth.

When Pennywise finally take the stage punters are raucous and ready after the long-awaited reschedule of 2012's tour. Original frontman Joe Lindberg rejoins the band and the brief seperation instantly seems like ancient history. Wouldn't It Be Nice sounds even faster than the recorded version (if that's possible) and sweat spirals above the sea of heads. Same Old Story gives a shout out to all the skateboarders and surfers, which going by the returned roar could be just about everybody. The set encapsulates the no holds barred mentality that pumps through the veins of this group, most apparent during Own Country, Fuck Authority, and Society. Clear crowd favourite is the closest thing you could get to a ballad, Bro Hymn, about friends and bandmates lost.

Tonight has a clear message: never change, never compromise, never grow up. While many have lost interest in these bands over the years, those present show their gratitude to these Peter Pans of the musical world with one last hoarse cheer.

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