wrong time, wrong place, wrong side of the tracks to be?
Hands Like Houses @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 09/02/2019 written by Brendan Lewis.
“Wrong time, wrong place, wrong side of the tracks to be”? Is it all just a bad dream? Will my inner monster be freed from its confinements? Will I drift into insanity? Will this glasshouse I’m in break? Or will Hands Like Houses remind me of who I am and what I stand for?...
That’s the theme I had intended for this review, you know, my usual quirky but oddly accurate adjectives to portray an image of the concert in present-tense. I’ve seen Hands Like Houses before and this “theme” would’ve been perfect not just for their music, but for their live performance too - dark, wicked, exciting, taunting, vicious, mind-bending, infernal, but this time, it’s different.
The show starts off like I expected, with a musical bang with the band all rocking out and racing around the stage, feeding the audience with a volcano of energy! The crowd respond accordingly, jumping, dancing and singing along, which the latter makes hearing the lead singer Trenton’s vocals even harder to hear thanks to the dull sound mix. Why dull? Well because a good sound mixer doesn’t just make all sounds perfectly even, they highlight the vocals so they sit nicely above the other sounds, and if a song/songs have a heavy distorted bass line, you need to be careful it doesn’t drown out the other sounds. Tonight, all the sounds are even with each other including Trenton’s vocals, which from what I can make of them, are exact and sharp-edged like in the recordings, and luckily in ‘Through Glass’ with slightly more stripped-back dynamics to the sound, Trenton’s powerful outcry of passionate vocals do stand out a bit more prominently, but otherwise, unless he shows off his iconic ferocious scream, his voice gets swept away in the musical storm brewed by the band (which is bloody impressive yes).
The crowd were already fully charged, feeding off the band’s colossal energy and throwing it right back at them, this is evident by my notes being very barely legible, that’s a sign of a good rock show! Yes, but like everything, there’s a line, you know, “it’s all fun and games until...”. An audience at a rock show are like toddlers yes, toddlers. You see, the crowd follow the bands example and energy, if the artists aren’t giving the crowd any energy, the audience won’t give them any. And I’m used to crowd surfers as much as I hate them landing on top of me, but seriously, it might make for a memorable experience and look pretty awesome from the outside, but imagine you, yes you, having a fully-grown 80 kilo man, bit more if they’ve been to the bar a few too many times, land on top of your head/neck/shoulders, dangerous right? Well, now imagine that happening to a five-foot nothing teenage girl on a diet consisting of nothing but celery? NOW, imagine that EVERY FIVE SECONDS!!! It makes it pretty-damn hard to enjoy the music when you’ve got some random guys shoes in your ears believe me! This example was set by the guitarist literally crowd surfing, jumping into the crowd with a surfboard, and literally crowd surfing! So add that extra weight plus the possibility of being speared by the front and back of the board! AND if the onslaught of bodies falling from above ain’t bad enough, you have guys that throw respect and decency out the window, and decide they want to barge you out of the way so they can be where you are at the barrier, digging their elbow into your chest and putting their weight against you to push you aside! Honestly, it got to the point where I just gave up trying to write notes and I was considering leaving!
I’m guessing I’m going to have at least one person that reads this and says “well that’s what happens at a rock show, it’s your fault for being in the mosh!” This is my 372nd show, 75th review and no, disrespecting others, bullying and jeopardising the people around them’s safety in the name of “having a good time” is not a typical occurrence at a rock show and it’s really not okay! I and others, shouldn’t need to risk their safety and be subject to that behaviour in order to dance, rock out and have fun up close at a gig! When people act like they did in the audience, it really ruins it, so please keep that in mind everyone.
Regardless of this, I absolutely love Hands Like Houses, and they put on an amazing show filled with razor-sharp vocal hooks and guitar riffs, earth-shattering high-calibre drum techniques, psychedelic lighting and intense energy!