A very wet and moody Friday evening in Newtown saw a diverse range of dedicated metal fans flock to the iconic Enmore Theatre for a 15-year anniversary tour of Killswitch Engage’s second album: Alive or just breathing. The tour is all the more poignant for original vocalist Jesse Leach, who re-joined the band in 2012, as he was unable to complete the original album tour back in 2002.
Perth-based Cursed Earth open strongly with their unique WA dark hardcore breaks. It is great to see a relatively young band open for such strong following acts and it is clear to see why they have cemented themselves as a leader in the Australian hardcore scene. Progressing through the set, the crowd begins to warm up and also realise that the throaty screams are coming from female vocalist, Jazmine Luders. This realisation incited heavier moshing and certainly ensured Cursed Earth would gain new fans from their opening set.
By the time Fallujah took to the stage, the room was almost full; and it was easy to see why. The absolute audio, physical and visual assault of Fallujah is something to behold and stopped the Enmore Theatre dead in its tracks. Every member of Fallujah has a unique musicality and does their own thing when playing; the beauty is how it all slots together perfectly. The 3 men on the strings had an impressive head full of hair apiece and were certainly not shy of showing the crowd. Vocalist Alex Hoffman reinforced the bands death metal heritage with his powerful screams and was also a great crowd mover; he asked and we obeyed. Circle pits followed and the crowd were now certainly warmed up for Killswitch Engage.
The time had come for Killswitch to take the stage and they came on with full force. The uniqueness of playing an album from start to finish in the order it was on the album gives rise to anticipation of the next song and you could sense that through the crowd. Sydney had missed Killswitch Engage and they certainly brought the party. Even with a barrier and security, people still managed to jump off the PA stacks and stage dive with one unlucky punter being caught in mid air as he left the stage. The pit was hectic and did not stop but you could see the smiling happy faces, young and old alike, who were thrilled to be there with their mates, old and new to experience the occasion.
Adam Dutkiewicz was his usual amusing self; prancing around the stage with a sweat-band adorning his head. The occasional mid-song exclamation of ‘balls’ almost putting Jesse Leach off a couple of times; the chemistry between the two of them was amusing. Adam started spouting on about 1000 Koala and Kangaroo cocks to which Jesse jumped in calling him ‘the biggest cock’ and the next song swiftly started.
Jesse was brave enough to talk about his depression and how the music was for others to find some solace and was, as usual, interrupted by Adam who said he ‘masturbates and drinks a 12-pack of beer’ when he gets depressed; quickly cueing the next song. These little quips amusing the crowd and made everyone laugh fostering the feeling of old mates.
The final song from Alive or just breathing was stirring after the front man’s direction to the lyrical content. Lyrics that were especially poignant on Mardi Gras weekend; ‘I believe love will overcome’. The crowd did not disappoint and sung their hearts out.
The next 7 songs were a mix of classics and songs from the newest album Incarnate which were all received with gusto, finishing on an appropriately paced melodic song, The End of Heartache, to round off the evening. This saw the crowd sing with the full force the Enmore could offer and with singer Jesse Leach only needed intermittently!
Killswitch then managed what few can and performed a proper encore. The whole of the floor opened up into a massive circle pit with the smashing riffs of Rose of Sharyn echoing through the room.
An absolute smash of an evening with the crowd hoping the lyrics of the final song, Rose of Sharyn, being sung sincerely. Hopefully, It won’t be long, we’ll meet again Killswitch Engage.