With Melbourne in the midst of an oppressive heatwave with temperatures soaring into the very uncomfortable zone, the last place anyone would want to be was in a small Rock venue surrounded by a rabid Thrash Metal crowd – but that’s exactly where I found myself tonight.
I made it in time to catch the opening of Desecrator’s set. I have seen these guys a few times in the last few years and as always, they fail to disappoint. Riley is an amazing frontman full of positive, genuine energy and the band, again, put in a world class performance. Slaying through a set of classic old-school inspired Thrash, they had the rabid crowd in pure rapture.
Next on the agenda were King Parrot. A band I have heard of many, many times but one who I never bothered to give any time to actually seeing. Boy, what a monumental cock-up that was on my part because these guys were simply one out-of-the-box. Within seconds of them taking the stage… I actually feared for my life! The energy onstage was fuckn lethal. You don’t pay attention to what’s going on, you’re libel to leave the venue sporting a black eye. Insane high level energy by frontman Matt Young, sporting nothing but his boxer shorts and the making of a damn fine little beer gut he pierced the crowd with his physical presence a few times. Spit and sweat flew at high interval. Smashing his head with his hands, spitting out lyrics of anger, shoving fist and foot into the air – I dared myself to get directly in his line of sight and take a few shots. Fuck it I thought, if I get ko’d I’d leave the Hifi with a story to tell! Fuck they were good! Real good! I can assure you, I will be catching these guys again because seriously, they were one of the finest live Aussie acts I have ever seen. Phew!
And now it was time for Havok. Seasoned pros by this time in their career, you could close your eyes and be instantly transported to the glory days of Thrash Metal in the early 80′s. They wear their influences proud… Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, Kreator meshed into a blender and out comes Havok delivering a tight-as-fuck set as high-energy as you could possibly endure to a Hifi Bar crowd who sang/screamed every single lyric. Classic Thrash Metal in its absolute purest form built on a rock solid foundation of drummer Pete Webber who has to be seen to be believed! Phenomenal skinsman keeping it all together whilst the three up front are drenched in adrenaline fueled sweat after the very first song!
With thanks to Heathen Skulls head honcho Rob Macmanus, I was treated to a VIP pass allowing me full access to the night’s proceedings. I humbly have to thank Rob for always looking after his media people and showing them respect. If only other promoters could take a leaf from his book because every gig of Robert’s I have photographed has always been nothing but a pleasure! Thank you sir!
I went backstage for the last few songs of Havok’s set and wanted to try and capture the band from behind and the crowd in front. It was great being backstage at a venue I have photographed at so many times but I have never had the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes.
I knew from the outset that tonight’s photos would ALL be black and white. I made that decision long ago and Thrash Metal for some reason, just lends itself to be in black and white. I wanted tonight’s photos to look photocopied, like they had been plastered onto the pages of a Thrash fanzine from 1984! Heck, I even shot in monochrome tonight wanting to see the images as plain and stripped as possible. Not having a three song limit tonight also made things a little easier so I could spend some time seeing what was being captured by the camera and not rushed to get as much as possible within your usual allotted time frame.
All in all, I had a fuckn blast! Superb night and another classic touring bill from Heathen Skulls!