AU ABROAD

Children Of Bodom + Voyager + Darker Half - Big Top Luna Park (12.11.11)

Tonight at the Big Top in Luna Park was a night that was a showcase of all things Metal. First up Sydney Melodic thrashers Darker Half hit the stage and wowed the small yet appreciative audience. As the band tore up their 30 minute set, they proved without a doubt that they indeed belong on a stage as big as this. Lead singer Vo Simpson garnered particular interest and in a strange way reminded me of the master Ronnie Dio

Voyager were next to give us their blend of rock goodness and man was I impressed. They were as tight as my Dad's wallet and their set impressed with from both entertainment and musicianship vantage points. Their original compositions hit the mark and all those watching agreed. This is a band to watch.

Some of the guitar work showed maturity beyond their years and the unique stage presence of the band will hold them in good stead. Front man Danny Estrin epitomises metal and his voice is perfect for the sound they are producing. Voyager, who already have somewhat of cult following both here and abroad, would prove to be the stand out performance of the night. Playing songs from there latest release The Meaning Of I the mosh pit began to resemble a demolition derby.

To prove they are no one trick pony they threw in the best LIVE mashups I have ever heard. Starting off, they introduced us to Scatman John then morphing into the Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop themes. This followed by some classic Van Halen and AC/DC. As the fists began to rise they suddenly toned it back with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which had some confused. I loved every second of it. They closed the masher with Rage Against the Machines Killing In The Name Of... fantastic. The band was brash and the cocal sounds reminded me of Sebastian Bach during his prime with Skid Row.

The nights billing had already been kind to us and now it was time for those crazy angry boys from Children of Bodom to hit the stage. The hate crew had been well and truly primed and all were chomping at the bit to see their boys from Finland. The iconc and extreme metal band have always been well loved particularly in Australia. The overall musicianship from all bands on the night was exceptional, but it did not take long for COB to show us why they were the headline act. They enthralled the punters as they produced their signature melodic and virtuosic blend of metal.

These metallars are hardened tourers and you could see that on the night as they pounded through almost 90 minutes of angry, dark and majestic sounds. The must see technical ability of the band was a joy to watch and chief Vox and Songwriter Alexi Laiho is just a angry pocket of energy. The boys played a proverbial cocktail of hits both old and new. Drumming sensation Jaska Raatikainen was particularly enjoyable as his ability to pound through each song effortlessly was a joy to watch. Drum work on "Hero" was blistering. The oversized double bass getting particular attention. The heavy hitting went on through the set and the fans ate it up. Well laced guitar solos injected with the right amount of synth work made sure the sweet spot was well and truly hit. You can tell the boys like Sydney and tonight they turned it on.

The band uncorked crowed favourite "Relentless Reckless Forever" into the set. The more eager fans mouthed word for word. “Angels Don't Kill People” is my favorite COB track and they played that with the respect it deserves. The set continued the built up momentum and Jaska said it was time for some old and we were served with a medley of classics. This classic part of the program had the mosh pit turn more hazardous than normal and I stood well clear. Those who dared enter loved every second of it. Fists pumped as the night progressed with “Hate Crew Deathtoll” of particular impressiveness.

After the compulsory faux closer, the band finished up their set with plenty of appreciation. The eclectic mix of those gathered had seen a special night of three great bands.