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Live Review: Trophy Eyes, Dear Seattle, Maddy Jane, STUMPS

22 October 2018 | 1:03 pm | Emily Blackburn

"It's a sensory overload that we'd gladly experience over and over again."

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There’s no easing us into the tunes tonight as Sydney indie-rockers STUMPS’ wall of sound smashes onto the stage with mighty gusto.

Singer Kyle Fisher’s voice paired with the thrashing rock melodies, sounds like if The Smiths made a love child with Arctic Monkeys, and the influence is clear in song Piggyback as lyric, “My life is falling apart,” is sung over a funky bass line conjuring the perfect angsty dance track. 

Rainbow lights flash across the top of the stage for Conversation, Conversation as the infectious set comes to a close. 

The opening note soaring out of Tasmanian singer-songwriter Maddy Jane’s throat stops everyone in their tracks as Not Human At All encapsulates Jane’s charismatic stage presence and carefree attitude. For only 22 years old, she’s a natural born performer.

We pick up the pace with grunge-rock single Drown It Out as Jane’s vocal range is pushed to the limit, executing every note with incredible precision and grunt. 

A wave of dirty grunge rings through as Sydney alt-rockers Dear Seattle bring their garage rock to centre stage with The Things You Do. Frontman Brae Fisher’s croaky and gritty vocals are just what we needed to really get in the mood for tonight as pulsing blue lights flicker across the stage during Concrete, their rough punk tones cranked up. “I’m fuckin' knackered,” Fisher states before stepping back into slow jam Quiet, a reflective piece sung with heart and passion. The first of the crowd surfers are up for heavy-hearted The Meadows, while all three guitarists make use of their long locks to headbang along violently.

The stage goes dark and the deeply haunting opening notes of Trophy Eyes' Cotton Candy Sky flips into the anthemic Lavender Bay as smoke shoots up from the ground and gold streamers burst into the air. "Five years later we're at The Forum with this fucking thing," vocalist John Floreani gestures to the giant Trophy Eyes album art covering the back of the stage; it seems like he still can't grasp the concept of playing here. Naturally, they lead into Something Bigger Than This as Floreani jumps, dances, spins and kicks around the stage, it's astounding how he even has breath left to sing with the amount of stage he covers. 

The production gets even wilder with scorching pyrotechnics as the crowd chants to Miming In The Choir. Heaven Sent takes us back as two friends on shoulders sway along to Breathe You In, arms around each other, beers in hand. "I'm still breathing," rips through the crowd for Chlorine as a fan crowd surfs, bypasses security, runs on stage, hugs Floreani and stage dives back into the crowd; it's wild out here. There's a big dance party for latest single Friday Forever as the boys leave the stage, only to return for the forcefully demanded encore. 

A fan is up on shoulders doing a shoey for You Can Count On Me and as final song I Can Feel It Calling is let loose, fire, smoke and streamers blast around the room. As the final notes ring out and a guitarist smashes his guitar on stage, it's a sensory overload that we'd gladly experience over and over again.