Photography by Kierra Thorn @KierraThorn
The Living End taught me something at their Enmore show on Saturday night – punk rock is certainly not dead, and is seemingly more alive than I expected in a room crowded with old and new fans alike. Growing up in a house that blared some of the greatest rock groups of all time, I have been a fan of the band since I was in primary school, so saying I was excited to finally see Chris Cheney, Scott Owen and Andy Strachan was an understatement. Supported by 131’s and Bad//Dreems, the night promised to be a sweaty, pumped up mosh fest that paid tribute to everything punk.
Taking the stage first was 131’s. Although the group have only been playing together for eight months, their performance made it seem as though they have been tearing up stages for years. Reminiscent of Green Day in their early days, they roared through their set with instrumental precision, crisp vocals and even a song dedicated to the Ramones. The Melbournians did an incredible job of warming the crowd up, with the floor almost full by the time they wrapped up their set.
Next up was Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems who straight off the bat, with the help of front man Ben Marwe’s luscious mullet, turned the stage and theatre into a dirty grunge party. Their energy levels never dipped, reverberating through the now almost full theatre with a few punters starting the moshing early. Playing crowd favourites ‘Hiding To Nothing’, ‘Cuffed and Collared’ and ‘Dumb Ideas’, they also threw in some brand new, hot off the press tracks that received just as much love. The band has such a mesmerising stage presence, which is amplified through their gritty and raw sound that translates so well in a live setting.
After a bit of a break that saw suspense levels rise, The Living End walked on stage. They were welcomed with one of the biggest cheers I have heard at a gig in a long time. Touring in support of their recent album Shift, I was surprised at the amount of people who knew every word to the new tracks. They opened with ‘Monkey’, which immediately blew the roof off the venue, making it clear that things were about to heat up quickly. Older singles ‘Roll On’ and ‘Hold Up’ followed before jumping into another new one, ‘Death’.
Considering how long this band has been around for, there were no signs of them being ‘past it’ or just going through the motions. The energy levels they delivered were insane, with Cheney continually running back and forth across the stage. One particular highlight had to be when bassist Scott Owen stood on top of his double bass, and continued to play as though nothing had happened…I don’t think I need to say how mental the crowd went for this. Together, the trio delivered such an intense punk rock vibe that was teamed with such seamless sounds and near perfect showmanship, and as the show went on, the hype just kept elevating.
They went on to play old favourites ‘All Torn Down’, ‘Moment In The Sun’ and ‘Second Solution’, that were intertwined with new tracks ‘With Enemies Like That’, ‘Staring Down The Barrel’ and ‘Keep On Running’. ‘Prisoner of Society’ and ‘White Noise’ were the band’s two final tracks before they momentarily left the stage to ready themselves for the encore. Returning with a blended mix of ‘How Do We Know’, ‘West End Riot’ and ‘Carry Me Home’, they somehow continued to amp up the energy levels.
The crowd seemed to get more excited with each track, and considering the heavy punk rock nature of the music, aside from a couple of sloppy drunks and one confused lad who jumped onto the stage, it was clear that everyone was there for a good time. With no hint of violence or aggressive behaviour, the show had one of the best vibes I’ve experienced in a long time.
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The Living End are an Australian rock band based in Melbourne, Victoria. They formed in 1994 and the current lineup consists of Chris Cheney (vocals, guitar), Scott Owen (double bass, vocals) and Andy Strachan (drums). The band rose to fame in the late 1990s after the release of their double A-side single, “Second Solution/Prisoner of