It was only a week or so ago that their latest album Rue was released, and already the pillar of modern Australian punk that is Hellions have hit the road, playing three intimate album release shows along the East Coast this last week. Melbourne was a major stop on the tour, and the packed out band room of the Northcote Social Club showed the band how much their return has meant to the fans.
While the crowd filed in through the supporting DJ sets, their was a visceral tendancy to mull around the back of the venue. But the response to Hellions jumping up onto the stage was an emphatic one, as the packed out Northcote bandroom converged toward the front of the stage to all get as close to the band as possible. The atmosphere quickly became electric, with Hellions’ lead singer Dre pumping the crowd up with the intro track to their new studio album, “Blueberry”.
The hard punk sounds of “Odyssey” followed; the mosh pit evolving in mere seconds, a trigger pushing the crowd into overdrive with deathpits, crowd surfers and waves of swaying in the mass crowd a constant from the first moments Dre opened his mouth to sing the opening line “I’m Mr. Fahrenheit/Taking my time among the delicate”.
Following the path of their album; Rue, the rhythmic yelling of Dre cut into “X (Mwah)”. The crowd writhed forward as Dre broke into the verse, tempting the crowd to further push the boundary between the ground and the stage.
Finally, Hellions broke away from the new album, and allowed the crowd a moment to reminisce in the older sounds of their precious album Opera Oblivia. One of the group’s more popular entries, it was easy to see how Hellions’ music had influenced their adoring fans as “Lotus Eater” and the following song “Nightliner Rhapsody” sent the packed band room into a tizzy. People jumped, thrashed and flat out ran their way to the front, creating a question for those in the who’d been there most of the evening: do I hold my own and stay close to my heroes, or give in and fall into the burgeoning mosh?
“25”, “Furrow” and “24” made up the middle of Hellions’ set, further developing the energy in the room toward breaking point. It finally hit it, during a throwback to their 2015 album Indian Summer and a track titled “Hellions’”. Dre was electric as he pumped out the screamed punk vocals, as the band thundered that heavy Hellions’ guitar-driven sound, providing the real grunt and edge that remains an important part of the band’s sound.
“Smile”, Hellions’ lead up track to Rue took us into the final number of the night, but the newly popular track was a memorable moment as a room nearly bursting at the seams was more than happy to scream the lyrics back in Hellions’ faces… “If we can shut the fuck up/Maybe we can learn to smile for once” thundered through the walls and made the Northcote seem as if it suddenly transformed into a bigger venue.
The set came to an end through “Thresher”, but it did so with the stylistic flair fans have come to expect from Hellions. As the soft picking of Matthew Gravolin’s guitar gave way to the shredding through the first verse, confetti burst into the crowd and the mosh came alive for one final time that night. “Thresher” was the band’s connection to their older sounds, as the refreshed punk of Rue momentarily gave way to a fan favourite off of one of the Hellions’ all time, great albums.
The beer-laden sweat and bruises from the mosh weren’t going to outlive the memories from this Hellions’ performance, where each member of the band put their heart and soul into delivering a night of true punk that those at the Northcote Social Club will never forget.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Rue is out now. For more details about the band, head to their Facebook Page.
The reviewer attended the show at the Northcote Social Club on 24th October.