Trophy Eyes + Bad Juju + Easy Life @ UOW Unibar 11/05/18 (Live Review) amnplify_writer
+ Bad Juju
+ Easy Life
Reviewer: Aaron Christensen
Newcastle punk-rock five piece Trophy Eyes played a one-off show at the University of Wollongong’s Unibar on May 11th. With them were Melbourne punk rock group Bad Juju and Shellharbour locals Easy Life. First on the bill were Easy Life, starting hot and heavy with a raucous half hour set. Parts of their performance were reminiscent of Northlane, a delicate balance between metalcore instruments and screamed vocals of Discoveries, while others were similar to Node-era Northlane, particularly the clean vocals bearing a striking similarity to vocalist Marcus Bridge.
Next up were Melbournians Bad Juju, characterised by their incredibly tight drumming and tasty bass lines. A solid mixture of clean and screamed vocals, Bad Juju delivered a tidy set with incredibly distinct clean vocals, with the softer, lower notes bearing similarities to both Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil) and Steve Kilbey (The Church).
Finally came Trophy Eyes, bursting on to the stage and launching in to Counting Sheep from their seminal sophomore album Chemical Miracle. The crowd was absolutely insane; the moment the music started there were people, almost comically so, flying and jumping all around the crowded mosh pit, death pits erupting all through the tiny venue and limbs crashing into everything and everyone. The crowd went even wilder (if it were possible) when the second song started; Nose Bleed, everyone screaming the lyrics at theta of their lungs. Vocalist John Floreani has an amazing and immense stage presence, his energy and passion visibly influencing the already incredibly rowdy bunch in the bar. After the explosive opening, the tone shift down a gear as the band launched in to Breathe You In, one of the softer songs from Chemical Miracle.
The next song was Home Is, the opener from their 2017 Home Is Australia tour, with a soft, slow start before erupting into Trophy Eyes’ signature loud, thrashing style with John Floreani’s gravelly, screamed vocals bursting forth, pushing the crowd in to even more intense levels of moshing. At the end of the song security came on stage to speak to the band before there was a short, five-minute intermission while security repaired the barricade that was broken by the intensely zealous crowd.
The band then launched into Bandaidfrom their 2014 EP Everything Goes Away, again, sending the crowd wild. Throughout the whole gig the crowd didn’t stop singing once, with seemingly everyone singing in unison the entire time, filling in some of the gaps left by an endless energetic and breathless John Floreani.
After this came their latest single, released on November 8 last year, Hurt, which takes a much different approach to the rest of their back catalogue, being a much softer, stripped back rock song. This is opposed to the explosive, raw and unbridled fury of their early work and the perfect mixture of eruptive, explosive punk and exposed, raw and emotive rock that was Chemical Miracle. Following on from the softer atmosphere was the heaviest song from the album, Rain On Me, before one of the interlude tracks, Miracle.
The crowd was absolutely insane the whole of the gig, with the bands energy feeding the audience and vice versa, hitting a fever pitch throughout Suicide Pact from Chemical Miracle and In Return from the bands first LP Mend, Move On. The final two songs of the night were the anthemic and emotional Daydreamer and the first single from their sophomore release and fan favourite, Chlorine. Throughout the song the crowdsurfing got a bit hectic with people going over the barricade head first, somewhat ironically as the chorus of “I’m still breathing” rang in.
The energy was amazing, and the atmosphere Trophy Eyes cultivate at their gigs and through their music is something to behold. The showmanship of the group, in particular John Floreani engages and excites the audience to ridiculous levels that it is in no way surprising that the band have such a loyal following. It was the most ‘punk’ punk gig I’ve ever witnessed.