GIG REVIEW: MAX & IGGOR CAVALERA’s ‘Beneath The Remains & Arise’ Live at The Valley Drive In, Brisbane
There can be little denying that 30 years ago Max and Iggor Cavalera, then as part of heavyweight band Sepultura, changed the landscape for groove metal forever with the release of the album Beneath the Remains. They would then go on to release Arise a few years later in a move that would cement them in the annals of metal history forever. Just shy of being 30 years to the day for the release of Beneath the Remains, and as part of a celebration of the history of these two albums, the brothers and their band took to Brisbane’s The Valley Drive-In to perform songs from these watershed albums for their Australian fans.
Before the headliners got the chance to take to the stage, local openers Amicable Treason held the fortuitous duty of opening the evening’s proceedings. Amicable Treason has been around for a while, albeit being a little quiet on the live front lately, but anyone in the crowd wouldn’t be able to tell because the band put on a very polished performance. Following a slower start to their set, the crowd rapidly got involved and there was a lot of crowd surfing and moshing going around. Probably the only criticism with Amicable Treason’s set was that the venue didn’t really accommodate their sound well. The hollow acoustics of The Valley Drive-In meant that the guitars were very indiscernible at times. But while the overall mix was well balanced, the percussive instruments were amplified in such a hollow setting and drowned a lot of the other musical pieces out, something I hope that gets addressed for future shows. In saying all of that, the band did a great job in warming the crowd up for the Cavalera Brothers and were worthy of earning this support slot.
Much in the same way as had occurred in their Return To Roots tour in 2017, as soon as the support band had left the stage space up front for Max and Iggor Cavalera filled out. After a relatively short changeover, the headlining act assumed their positions on stage, and from their opening note had incited a torrential flurry of bodies in a raucous mosh. The energy at this time was palpable, and it was great that it managed to remain this way all throughout the set.
Max Cavalera was on fire. Being able to sing these songs after so many years with the same, and if not greater passion really demonstrates the type of artist he is. His guitar work was also precise, and he made every effort to engage with the fans. I’m sure that many people there already knew the calibre of artist that Max was, but seeing the way he performed I think it would have been very difficult for anyone to leave that wasn’t enamored with him. It wasn’t just the Max show though, with Iggor looking and sounding energetic on drums, and both Marc Rizzo and Mike Leon on guitar and bass respectively bringing their own personality to the performance.
The acoustic issues that compromised Amicable Treason set didn’t have much of an effect on the groove-laden and percussively strong songs off Beneath The Remains and Arise. In fact, it seemed like the band’s sound flourished that bit more under the venues circumstances, which was a good thing as open-air venues tend to have an ability to deflate the sound of these sorts of songs.
One thing that was refreshing to see was the fans embracing the music. For such a varied crowd that canvassed a broad spectrum of age demographics, including many in attendance who wouldn’t have been born when these albums were released to come together in a harmonious fashion and enjoy a performance was really refreshing to see. Seeing circle pits, stage divers, moshing and singing along all demonstrated the different ways these songs reverberated with everyone present. The Cavalera Brothers seemed to acknowledge this with their performance and it was really good to see the back and forth between crowd and band. While we are on the subject of crowd reaction, it was important to note that reactions were relatively high all night, but did reach peak levels during the encore when the band performed Refuse / Resist and a cover of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap back to back.
The set went by relatively fast for its 15 song duration, with many fans still sticking around after the band had left stage hoping for a non-clichéd encore to take place (which unfortunately never happened). When the band had finished their performance Max did take a moment to thank the crowd, tell them how much he appreciated them, and let them know that he would be back soon. This statement received a massive cheer, so hopefully, for the fans sake, Max makes it back to our shores relatively soon!
When you consider that performing songs from albums released near-on three decades ago is a feat many artists will never get to accomplish, and one which many artists may steer clear of due to not knowing how well their music is going to translate with the crowd after so long, you truly understand how important this show was. The fact that the crowd was still going wild for these songs like it was early 1990 speaks more volumes that can be quantified. Max has said it best himself that “These are the soundtracks to people’s lives” and if the crowds’ excitement and the band’s enjoyment at performing these songs is anything to go by, then this statement couldn’t be any truer. If you have the chance to witness this special evening, you should make sure you do it — if not for the songs, but for the atmosphere itself.