Dead Letter Circus/ sleepmakewaves

Red Hill Auditorium

Thursday, January 23, 2014


If rock ‘n’ roll is a religion, then this show was a mass, with the people coming to worship at the altar of their gods at the last leg of Karnivool’s Polymorphism tour.

Sleepmakewaves opened the night and began the ceremony. Complex guitar lines intertwined each other as they began an energetic live performance. Taking place at Red Hill Auditorium with the heavens above, the sun began to descend in time to the music.  As sleepmakewaves loosened the crowd, bodies began to slowly move as alcohol sales picked up.

Dead Letter Circus followed and the crowd was treated to the taste of the band’s own take on the rock ‘n’ roll genre.  The performance was hotter than a Perth summer with the crowd energetically pumping the air.  Lead singer, Kim Benzie, neglected to wear a shirt, showing how much hotter this set was about to get. Frantic rock intertwined with self-assurance, Dead Letter Circus know they have arrived at the scene and are making it last. Delivering an energetic performance filled with passion and tingling with simple desire, they were the very image of rock and roll.

Yet these warm-up acts were nothing compared to Karnivool’s return to their native town. Like the prodigal sons of the Perth rock scene, Karnivool have returned home after an extensive European and Australian tour.  Glad to be back, they played old and new favourites to a crowd that took them in with open arms and cheered them on.  The mosh pit built up and emotions ran high as heavy sounds filled the venue. Known for their soaring melodies and complex tracks, Karnivool delivered. Ian Kenny’s vocals were clear as he dueted with the audience, who shouted out the lyrics in time to the music. This live engagement with the audience shows the special connection that Karnivool has with their fans.

The band’s latest album, Asymmetry, is critically acclaimed and was influenced by the great acts. Whether or not Karnivool can be defined as great is up for debate; they have an original sound that has found them recognition nationally and internationally but they take their time in releasing new work. Still they have managed to maintain a raw and honest sound year after year despite the wearing of time and the natural evolution of things.

However, while Karnivool’s performance at Red Hill Auditorium was good, it failed to convert new listeners into fans. Loudness and familiarity was more important than substance, with the bass somewhat deafening at points.  Rock architects they may be but this performance could have been better, with a tighter set and slight sound adjustments. Yet this didn’t stop the energy of the night with the crowd whipped into a wild frenzy with a Mexican-wave effect at play and a fair amount of thrusting occurring. A vital force to be reckoned with, this band revolts against the status quo and rewards its worshippers.