GIG REVIEW: MAY DAY MASSACRE Live at The Tote, Melbourne
The wonderful thing about the Melbourne music scene is its resilience to things like a silly little worldwide pandemic. From what I observed last night, it was like one never occurred. Many friends and varied groups had come together to have a good time while playing audience to a wide variety of music styles presented by the night’s acts which ranged from slow doom to frenetic death metal. There were a couple of unfortunate incidents during the show due to one idiot which I’ll touch on later but apart from that, there was plenty of headbanging, dancing, and spilled drinks bookmarked by conversations and laughter.
Kicking off the show was Squashed Moth, a 5 piece Doom band clad with haunting screeches of violin, dual droning Bass, the processive marching of drums, and massive growling vocals. Their set was slow, pounding, and unrelenting at least while they were playing their tunes. It was interesting to hear such a sound followed by Spyke being a sweetheart between songs. That follows for the rest of the band really, a lot of the subject matter was dark and depressive but they glanced around each other smiling throughout, especially at one point where Lou was gazing upon Spike while she was on the floor howling.
The surprisingly packed room was getting in on it with many stone faces grinding along to the tempo of the tracks, nodding heads with solemn understanding. It was as though Squashed Moth were exercising the bad vibes from the room and allowing all patrons to fully engage with each other.
Next up was Sepsis who blasted into their set with crust punk madness! Unfortunately, that triumphant thrust didn’t last long as some jerk decided to jump onto someone’s back, throwing them into an unsuspecting bystander causing her to fall, hitting her head on the corner of a seating box, and knocking her out for a minute or two which was scary to see. The band had only gotten 10 seconds into their next song when this occurred and unfortunately, they lost the rest of their time. This wouldn’t be the end of our idiot’s antics for the night however, more on that shortly.
Taking the stage next was Sanctioned with BLAZING Grindcore Crust greatness that was impossible to not get into! With the band being made up of luminaries from Undinism, The Kill, and F*ck… I’m Dead, it was kind of expected that Sanctioned would be a highlight of the night and they did not disappoint. Nor did they give two sh*ts when our resident idiot was called out by the guitarist and ordered to “Calm the f*ck down mate”. Another audience member spoke up saying that he had punched her in the back of the head, It wasn’t long before the entire room was telling him to f*ck off and he was escorted out by security to a barrage of well-deserved insults and jeering. After a momentary pause, the band launched right back into it and the room came to life with more moshing and dancing than before. This show is on the heels of their recently released album Annexation which is quite frankly fantastic and definitely worth a listen.
Last on was Extinct Exists, continuing the thread of Crust that tethered the night, they were the most energetic of the event with a healthy mix of punk and near thrash to their sound that spurred on the attendees even harder. They almost didn’t stop between songs and were an imposing presence on stage but that’s hardly surprising considering the band has links to Jason Fuller of Blood Duster and various members also feature in Terror, Pisschrist, Nuclear Death, and ABC Weapons. It’s also possibly the very first time I’ve seen a band in person where members were wearing feminine clothing with the singer looking FANTASTIC in his sparkly top and drummer looking sultry AF in what appeared to be a nightie and extremely long eyelashes.
Making her second appearance of the night, Elle from Sepsis joined the band in performing the title track from their recently released album Anthropocene.
It was a fresh night of music with all bands having releases this year which can be found on Bandcamp:
Squashed Moth is expected to have a release soon. Keep an eye on their Facebook for an announcement.
Note: After I’m told that Sepsis went back on stage after Extinct Exists for a short but thrilling set. I’m gutted that I had already left the venue when this occurred but am extremely pleased to hear they got to play a few more tunes!