GIG REVIEW: Paradise Lost, Caetera & Level H Live at The Triffid, Brisbane
Seven years ago Paradise Lost appeared as part of Australia’s Soundwave Festival. At that time it had been a few years since their last Australian tour, and this Soundwave performance shed some hope for Australian fans that they may get to see the band on a more frequent basis. Unfortunately, that was not to be and it would take another seven years before the band once again graced Australian shores, with their first stop being a Thursday night show at Brisbane’s The Triffid, supported by local acts Level H and Caetera.
Level H were a suitable opener for the night, and did a good job at rousing a respectable level of interaction from the crowd. Their sound seemed like a cross amalgamation of thrash and doom, with a few other genres sprinkled in, but it worked and worked well. This was always going to be a tough crowd to win over as the night’s opening band, and the fact that Level H managed to deliver a performance that elicited a reasonable response from crowd so early in the night is a true credit to them.
Caetera were next, and you could tell that there were a few people from the crowd that had come to see the Brisbane locals’ as the energy in the room lifted during their set. Their style of technical brutality was faster and more in your face than their predecessors, and that proved to be one of the winning elements of their set. Their dual vocal delivery helped command an element of attention that is oft missing from live performing band’s these days, and the fact that there were many in the crowd that were moshing or crowd surfing indicated that their set was a resounding success.
While the support acts were suitable additions for the night’s proceedings, the inescapable sentiment throughout the venue was that the crowd was there purely for Paradise Lost. Crowd anticipation reached fever pitch as the band’s introduction theme kicked in, and the resulting cheers as the band took the stage didn’t falter until well after opening track From the Gallows had begun.
While it may have been seven years since Paradise List had last set foot in Australia, it seemed like their absence had done nothing but make their Australian fans that bit more excited for their performance. Vocalist Nick Holmes worked wonders on the microphone, doing a good job at showcasing his harsher and softer sides to his voice; and guitarist Gregor Mackintosh rightfully had a crowd beneath his feet sprouting ‘spirit fingers’ in appreciation of his guitar work for the duration of the set. Aaron Aedy and Stephen Edmondson were both quiet in their motions on stage left, but didn’t let that interfere with their musical delivery one bit; and capping out the band was drummer Waltteri Väyrynen, who proficiently and effortlessly showed a maturity well beyond his years, and never skipped one beat behind the kit.
Paradise Lost themselves were great. As a band that speaks more through its music than through stage movement, it was good to see that they focused all their efforts into making sure that the performance was at an impeccable level. With the exception of a few minor technical hiccups, and one major guitar hiccup during Blood and Chaos (which was quickly rectified), the band was sonically amazing. The only negative aspect of their performance musically was that at times the vocal delivery at times was quite difficult to hear due to its low placement in the mix. However, this is something that is more attributable to the front of house sound engineer, rather than any moment of Holmes’ vocal delivery.
The way in which the band handled themselves on stage exemplified the true showmanship that they have tirelessly crafted during their career. Amidst the constant stage intrusion of crowd surfers and the constant cheers from the crowd, the band managed to brush the distractions off and not have it interrupt their performance. At one point a fan had crowdsurfed to the stage towards the ending of a song and then walked down the stairs side stage, rather than jumping from the stage back into the crowd to which Holmes claimed “Kids these days, too posh to Mosh”. Even when the crowd started a repetitive Yes chant following Holmes remarking that there was an “Australian Viking” in the crowd (a fan dressed like Odin), the band didn’t let the interjections slow down their progress through the set list.
While on the subject of the set list, this was a set that catered to fans of all eras of the bands history. Tracks like The Enemy, Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us and Beneath Broken Earth appeased the bands longer fans, while newer tracks Blood and Chaos, Medusa and The Longest Winter from latest offering Medusa bridged that gap for those newer fans that the band had gained since this album’s release. This was a setlist curated for fans who had not had the opportunity to see the band for some time, and the energy from the fans throughout the night was enough to repay the band in kind.
Paradise Lost might have taken seven years to make it back to Australia, but if the first show of their return is anything to go by, then this tour will be a resounding success — especially knowing how the crowds in Sydney and Melbourne can be. Armed with an expansive back catalog, and touring on the back of a critically well received album, Paradise Lost was always going to come into these shows with a bang, but their performance in Brisbane reaffirmed that this is a band that means business, and a band that continues to stay at the top of its game.