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Live Review: Shihad

13 July 2015 | 4:49 pm | Montana Agustin

"A quarter of a century together, Shihad prove they still know how to play a great, dirty rock gig."

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An eclectic mix of young and older crew have braved what is said to be one of Melbourne’s coldest weekends all year to thrash around and rock out to Shihad (that’s Shihad, not Jihad and not Pacifier either), the four-piece alternative-rock band originally from New Zealand. The guys hit the stage and simultaneously the crowd breaks out into a ‘Shi-had! Shi-had!’ chant, the atmosphere is great and the swarm of fans loose their mind when the band starts to play. 

Frontman Jon Toogood really knows how to get a crowd going. He’s standing on the speakers at the front of the stage while leaning into the crowd belting out the words to Wait And See, sending the masses into overdrive, and there’s plenty of crowdsurfing, of course. Home Again is played with as much gusto as the previous song, the riffs are killer and the lyrics full of attitude. As the song comes to an end, Toogood yells out “That feels fucking good! Like fire running through my fucking veins!” This is very well received and things get even wilder in the mosh. 

What these guys get out of their guitars is something pretty spectacular and collectively, they produce a sound that’s so raw and rocking. Guitarist Phil Knight rocks out almost as hard as Toogood, whereas bass guitarist, Karl Kippenberger, has a real relaxed, cool vibe on stage, though you can tell he’s loving every minute, and he’s great to watch. Comfort Me is the standout track of the show, and the reaction of the crowd confirms this. Amidst the magnificent rock chaos, Shihad lead the crowd into a “tribute” to Tony Abbott and John Key (Prime Minister of New Zealand) that involves a lot of fighting words and an entire room full of middle fingers. It’s all pretty rock’n’roll. After what seems like 50 guitar changes Shihad exit the stage. The crowd doesn’t move – they wait, they chant and they stomp. Shihad come back out for their encore, because apparently you can’t go to a show without there being an encore anymore. In fact, encores have lost all of their spontaneity and are more of a pee break for the artists now. You can tell who the old school Shihad fans are. They’re older and don’t look all that impressed with the encore offering of Envy, while the new tribe of fans are jumping around losing their shit. 

A quarter of a century together, Shihad prove they still know how to play a great, dirty rock gig.

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