It was never a matter of if they’d
get back around to touring – rather, it was when and where. Perth
boys Gyroscope have been slaving away in the studio for the past
year or so, fine-tuning their fourth album, entitled "Cohesion". With two
singles already getting rotation ahead of its release, the band pulled
into Wollongong Uni on the second stop of another massive tour to stir
up some interest in "Cohesion". Given the roars of approval from tonight’s
set, though, one can’t be certain we really needed the invitation.
The old saying goes that “you’re
never too old to rock 'n' roll.” This might be true, but surely
the same thing can’t be said about making pop-punk? Wollongong locals
Crash Tragic kicked off the show with plenty of energy, but the
audio-visual didn’t match up. How so? Picture this: feigned American
accents that are heavily pitchy, scrawled chord progressions and boppy
choruses with lyrics like “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go all
the way!” …played by guys who look like they're well into their thirties. There
might have been a few nodding heads amongst the crowd (including a couple
of the Gyroscope guys), but there was a pretty good reason the dancefloor
was deserted – Crash Tragic, to put it bluntly, were playing all-ages
music to an eighteen-and-over crowd. It’s far too simple-minded and
obvious in its influences to really progress any further than the support
act billing. Nice try, though.
If Crash Tragic warmed up the stage,
A Death in the Family more or less started a bonfire. In glaring
spite of some technical problems in the mix early on, the four-piece
impacted with their particular brand of throaty, passionate and strongly
melodic punk in a substantial, well-paced set. The Melbourne band proved
to be a perfect fit as support act, drawing more and more punters from
the bar-lines and into a sweaty, intimate live setting with tracks mostly
lifted from their latest album, "Small Town Stories". Perhaps what's best
about ADitF, though, is the authentic, "what you see is what
you get" factor. This kind of band needs no whistles and bells
to whip up some energy, not even a “make some noise” or two. It’s
all grungy guitar riffs, bellowed vocals from each corner of the stage
and a genuine sense that this is a group of musicians who love what
Testosterone levels were peaking just
before Gyroscope took to the stage, with more shirts coming off and
surges towards the front of the stage becoming more and more frequent.
All it took was the first note of the first song - new single "Live
Without You" - for it to go straight into overdrive and for the sweltering
venue to rise even a few more degrees. Even vocalist Dan Sanders
had his shirt off before the second song had started - it was time for
a purely raucous and fun rock show. Given, a few Gyroscope traditions
remain: the "Beds Are Burning"
medley with "Fast Girl" and the two-word singalong of "Safe Forever"
would be familiar to anyone who's seen the band more than once. What
was good about this particular performance, however, was the fact that
all four of them were simply ecstatic to be playing live again after
so long away in recording mode. They came across as unhinged and loose
in their performance, in all the right ways.
The energy between the band members was palpable, to say the least -
one could even wager that drummer Rob Nassif
would have been dancing like a maniac were he not stationed behind the
skins. Guitarist Zoran Trivic
bounced around and leaned over the stage as often as possible to shout
the lyrics back at the punters, whilst bassist Brad Campbell
threw himself about in time with the music, stopping only to add a sly
banter remark or some of his trademark backing screams. Setlist-wise,
the singles/"hits" were all more than welcome, ranging from
2003's "Doctor Doctor"all the way up to 2008's "Australia";
invariably rousing a singalong of strongly vocal (and, occasionally,
drunkenly slurred) proportions. It was the inclusion of the new material,
however, that saw the band really tighten the screws - if only for a
few minutes - to deliver on some high-octane material that they're particularly
proud of. "I Still Taste Blood"
was the pick of the lot, although it's interesting to note just how
much better "Some of the Places I Know"
sounds in the live environment. Perhaps it's the extra grit that takes
away from the polished studio version, but it translated beautifully
in tonight's performance.
It's good to have Gyroscope back. Sure, they'll probably end up as yet
another band that plays absolutely everywhere once "Cohesion"
drops. Still, the difference lies in the fact that, even if you head
along begrudgingly, you'll always see the band putting on a fun show
for all involved.