Live Review: Stray From The Path, Hellions, Antagonist AD, Void Of Vision

18 January 2016 | 4:06 pm | Will Oakeshott

"The most admirable facet of SFTP's performance was the social awareness in each song and the meaning behind them."

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Australia really has to be unquestionably thankful to the excellent folks at We Are Unified (UNFD). Besides the obvious and incredible notion that these committed music devotees work endlessly to deliver the best alternative music from around the globe to enthusiast's ears, they have thankfully pushed the boundaries even further. The annual Unify Gathering festival showcases both Australian and international talent to thousands of fans in Victoria. Although exclusive, UNFD decided that one show is nowhere near enough, so why not organise tours for the majority of the acts in the festival so that the artists talents are shared nationwide? For that Australia is forever grateful.

Melbourne's post-hardcore act Void Of Vision had the honour of opening this event and proved themselves to be the best choice for the role seconds into their opening track. With a sound that combines the melodies of Hellions, the progressive hardcore stylings of Counterparts and the technical prowess of Volumes, their live execution is invigorated, passionate and, most importantly, delivered with full conviction. Due to the early start time VOV were sadly met with a smallish crowd, but they were certainly spirited, embracing ninja mosh moves and climbing atop each other to sing songs off the Broken // Bones EP. The use of a backing track suggested a very professional live set-up, but it was unnecessary, especially with the spiralling bodies the five men on stage consistently and impressively paraded. The quintet's upcoming full-length should be on the most wanted list for fans of the genre.

After over a decade together, arguably New Zealand's hardest working band Antagonist AD climbed on stage to really incite chaos within Fowler's to near dangerous levels. A long-time favourite for Australian fans of hardcore music, the quintet launched into their traditional opening tracks of These Cities, Our Graves and The Walking Dead, which provoked the ninja mosh athletes in the crowd to the next level. The consistency and perseverance of the five-piece after the somewhat rollercoaster of a career they have undergone is very impressive and, as vocalist Sam Crocker made very clear between songs, the outfit are forever grateful for the support but it was more than evident why. Nothing From No One was headliner quality, but the real standout was the emotional For Anyone Who Hurts, a song that sees the band furthering their songwriting within the mosh-core formula, bringing a level of sophistication unheard of in the sound. Crocker had said during the set that Fowler's is Adelaide's house and the audience's to own. Well, Antagonist AD made it their home tonight.

Sydney party-hardcore-punks Hellions seemed a little out of place on the bill. Not at all because of their abilities, but because they're a band who heavily utilise melody within their musical recipe. However, all doubts quickly dissipated when the fun-loving five-piece hit full flight. It is the main reason why Hellions have become so nationally adored and are gaining an international following; their live performance is similar to watching kids at a playground, complete amusement to an infectious degree. 22, although suffering from an average mix, was contagious and Consigliere was beautifully refreshing. Hellions was electric, showcasing the band's forever improving stage agility. But the real highlight was Hellions' salute to Fowler's as a venue, with the sad news being announced that this outstanding site will soon come to an end. The band were sure to make a point of thanking everyone involved and the audience happily joined in.

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It had been a long time coming but this evening was the first time that Long Island's Stray From The Path headlined in Adelaide. The quartet were certainly not going to waste the opportunity and with a sizeable crowd now in tow, it was always going to be extremely appreciated. They opened with The New Gods from the utterly stunning album Subliminal Criminals released last year, and being stationary was an absolute impossibility. Instantly the four-piece's maturity and clarity was acknowledged and their presence grew because of it. Outbreak was bass heavy but also complete mayhem, which was maintained throughout the remainder of the setlist, which included Hellions' Dre Faivre appearing as a guest vocalist during Eavesdropper. The most admirable facet of SFTP's performance was the social awareness in each song and the meaning behind them; Shots Fired conjured up some saddening yet hopeful words about the Paris attacks, which provided strength in a time when the world is rather frightened, and DIEPIG showed distain for musicians like Front Porch Step and Ian Watkins for their predatory actions towards their youthful fans. SFTP's message was clear and their encore, These Things Have To Fall Apart, cemented exactly that.