Live Review: The Smith Street Band, High Tension, Grim Rhythm, Forevr

30 November 2016 | 1:24 pm | Antony Attridge

"We're sick of the nastiness in the scene; we want to show the world what beautiful people and music Melbourne has."

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Forevr are a weird and wonderful opener to what we know will be a high-energy evening. The flooding electro-pop engulfs Corner Hotel as singles Contest and Heart Of Ice are particular highlights for the now-swooning crowd. The organised confusion of the guitars and the hypnotic synths are welcomed.

Grim Rhythm walk on stage with amps set to 11 as the heavy-rock group drag us into dirty, rhythmic guitar riffs. This is an act that needs to be seen to be believed. Incredible guitar licks, a special guest spot from Wil Wagner himself and some creative merchandising (selling one of the drummer's dreadlocks, which is cut off onstage), make Grim Rhythm an instrumental rock initiative that very much get our attention.

Karina Utomo is captivating as High Tension take to the stage. A moshpit immediately forms as the progressive metal band perform singles from their last album, Bully, with Utomo haunting the crowd with her demonic screams. Utomo declares "surf's up" as she closes the set surfing atop her head-banging audience. A brilliantly executed set of hardcore indulgence that we can't cheer enough for.

Wagner walks on stage, triumphant, with arms raised. We feel welcome, immediately appreciated and as if we're all members of The Smith Street Band. The band open with new single Death To The Lads and the sold-out room jump all over each other and belt out every word. We're unified in the opening lyrics of Ducks Fly Together before we're treated to a first-ever live performance of new song called Suffer. Security staff have their work cut out for them with the amount of relentless crowd-surfers. Wagner tells us about the new record label his band has started: "We're sick of the nastiness in the scene; we want to show the world what beautiful people and music Melbourne has."

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We can't help but feel as if this is a best-of performance as single Sigourney Weaver transitions into crowd-favourite Young Drunk. Something I Can Hold In My Hands momentarily grounds us before the audience's singing almost drowns out Wagner. "Let's sing so loud Donald Trump hears us through his stupid fucking toupee," Wagner requests, attempting to encourage positive change, before belting out Wipe That Shit-Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face. Wagner gives us a brief insight into mental health issues, offering support before I Don't Wanna Die Anymore has us reaching for the ceiling once more. Closing with The Arrogance Of The Drunk Pedestrian, The Smith Street Band demonstrate why they are undeniably one of Australia's best live acts.