Live Review: Dead Letter Circus + 10 Years + Guards of May – The Forum, Melbourne (10.10.15)

On the back of their ARIA top 10 album Aesthesis, Queenslanders Dead Letter Circus hit Melbourne’s Forum Theatre with 10 Years and Guards of May in tow to deliver three hours of straight up alt-rock goodness.

Hitting the stage first up were Guards of May, and if ever a band has existed whose style is perfectly suited to support Dead Letter Circus, it’s these guys. In somewhat typical nature the earlycomers were about as receptive to the openers as most crowds are, however their reactions were not at all matched to the quality of the performance. These guys pack some serious punch, showing off a sound that is clearly influenced by the headliners, yet in a way that shows their own style. If you’re a fan of Dead Letter Circus keep an eye on this five-piece, there could be big things coming for them.

Tennessee natives 10 Years occupied the middle slot of the night, delivering a highly energetic set that appeared to run slightly over time, although not to the disappointment of the steadily growing crowd. Having never heard or heard of the group before I immediately detected shades of Rage Against The Machine in their sound, which is hardly a bad thing save for the somewhat ‘noisey’ nature of their craft. For all the points 10 Years gained through a solid performance, however, they were lost when I realised the guitarist was wearing his own merch shirt. Not a good look, champ.

Interrupting my thoughts of the fashion faux pas of the night was John Farnham’s classic anthem “You’re The Voice”, and interesting yet effective method of getting the crowd’s vocals warmed up for the main performance, Dead Letter Circus. Opening with “In Plain Sight”, the pace was set high before leading into current hit “While You Wait”. Smoke machines were in frequent use, but their appearance was nothing compared to the frequency of the strobe lighting all throughout the night. Now I haven’t got a problem with strobes in moderation, but this particular lighting guy obviously has a serious thing for them, with up to 30 seconds worth of straight strobing on multiple occasions.

Credit has to be given to Dead Letter Circus for their setlist choices. Not only was the 15 song performance more than enough in terms of quantity, but more importantly the quality was right up there with not a single slow track to kill the mood. In terms of highlights there were plenty, including “Lodestar”, “Change The Concept”, and a killer drum solo while the rest of the band took an obligatory pre-encore break.

You don’t have to be a through and through fan of Dead Letter Circus to enjoy a live performance from them, I can promise you that. In the grand setting of the Forum in Melbourne their music was right at home, powering through a fast-paced set that defined what a live show should be all about – entertainment. Next time they’re in a city near you be sure to check them out, I doubt you’ll regret it.

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