"Witherspoon makes a request for The World's Most Polite Circle Pit to open up during Pieces."
Sydney metal band Graveyard Rockstars kick off the night. Despite the fact that people are still pouring through the door, the band play their hearts out and their set sounds like a punch to the face. They stalk around the stage like it's their own.
A buzz of excitement runs through the crowd as we wait for Sevendust. This is the band's first Melbourne show in six years and this show is sold out, which proves it's long overdue. The lights dim. The crowd erupt in a roar that doesn't stop when Sevendust finally grace the stage, instead it grows louder. Opening with Black, Sevendust play with the raw energy of a newly freed beast. There's a pause as the five-piece look out toward the back of this packed venue. A look of shock plasters across their faces. Frontman Lajon Witherspoon keeps uttering, "Australia," as though he can't believe he's finally here.
The set thunders on with chaotic energy. Each song is met with fans screaming back lyrics and clawing their way closer to the front. Sevendust are unrelenting. The band is tight, each beat hits and the heavy, gritty riffs provide backing for a vocal that demands you stop and listen. Sevendust work their way through fan favourites Enemy, Waffle, Angel's Son (which creates a quiet moment of reflection), Decay, Shine and Thank You (the band's latest, Grammy-nominated single).
Between songs Sevendust share stories, creating an intimacy that removes the barrier between fan and band. "Sevendust don't do concerts," Witherspoon tells, "We do family reunions. Thank you for making us part of your family." Witherspoon makes a request for The World's Most Polite Circle Pit to open up during Pieces. "I don't want anyone to get hurt," he stresses, "just walk around the circle." The crowd follow along, a little unsure. It doesn't last long; the pit disbands the moment the first chorus hits.
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Encore song Face To Face gets the most energetic response of night. At the end of the set, our ears are still ringing and Witherspoon shouts out, "Melbourne, Australia! We fucking love you!" Sevendust: we love you too, but please don't make us wait another six years between tours.