Friday nights in Newtown seem to have a recurring wet weather theme but the weather certainly did not dampen the mood for Acceptance’s inaugural performance in Sydney, alongside headliners, and old favourite’s Taking Back Sunday.

Sydney locals, Endless Heights, opened well, albeit to a small, damp crowd. Emphatic singer, Joel Martorana threw himself around the stage with much gusto and certainly had the crowd bobbing along. The lack of bodies made the acoustics a little unfortunate but that absolutely did not detract from the quality of the performance and content. Endless Heights emo/punk/hardcore style was a great uptempo opener and it is plain to see why they have received great reviews from Triple J icons on their Unearthed page. Joel announced they would be releasing an album ‘some time this year’ so certainly one to look out for.

Acceptance have only released 2 albums; 12 years apart, were split up for 10 years and have never toured Australia. These facts are clearly irrelevant to the crowd they drew that sung along to every word. It took a couple of songs to warm up singer Jason Vena’s vocal cords/get the sound mix right but once that happened, these old friends shone together like they had never been apart. It is easy to see why their warm and comforting breed of rock music has amassed such a cult following and they were thrilled to be welcomed with such open arms. Guitarist Christian McAlhaney was a crowd favourite with a clearly larger crowd on his side of the stage. It may be through his popularity with Anberlin that he is adored so but, between his awesome stage presence, dashing good looks, rocking guitar and beautiful vocal harmonies; he is clearly his own man and a key part of Acceptance’s strong sound. They didn’t miss a beat and had the Enmore Theatre’s vocal cords warmed up ready for the headliners.

Taking Back Sunday’s 7th studio album Tidal Wave is certainly an evolution in sound to their older material. The 1st track from Tidal Wave was the opener and was attacked with the full force of the well oiled machine that is TBS. Tidal Wave is a more mature, cut-back, Rock ‘n Roll record with singer Adam Lazzara’s Southern roots peeking through. This evolution in style was received fantastically with the crowd singing and bouncing along.

Looking around at crowd, you could see an eclectic mix of people, ranging from teen girls to bearded, tattooed 30 something males. The latter finally moved around after Liar (It Takes One to Know One)’s unmistakable riff came through the speakers.

A large portion of the crowd were clearly there to re-experience their youth and the setlist was certainly put together with that in mind. Taking Back Sunday played all of their iconic tracks interlaced with the upbeat tracks from Tidal Wave which fitted in perfectly.


There is clearly a great relationship between Lazzara and lead guitarist/keyboardist/back-up vocalist John Nolan. They managed to squeeze smatterings of banter between songs in a jam-packed setlist of over 20 songs.

Lazzara’s Southern drawl was almost romantic when he spoke occasionally and briefly and he held the room on every word he said. His honesty and involvement was great to watch and he confessed that he was ‘having the best time’; which was clearly genuine by the huge grin on his face!

Lazzara was a whirlwind on the stage. His trademark microphone swings were impressive to watch and clearly storing the microphone lead around your neck is a convenient spot when you wish to talk with your hands! 

At one point, a new cigarette was thrown at him, which he clearly wished to smoke, but did not due to a concern over the rules and regulations of the venue, ‘the world is a strange place right now’, he said and moved swiftly into another song.

The clichéd typical encore and leaving the stage to re-return was disbanded with Lazzara citing more time for music as the reason, not before the crowd obliged with chants of ‘1 more song’; much to the bands amusement.

Closing with ‘Cute without the E’ and ‘Makedamnsure’ took the crowd to the next level and certainly reinvigorated old memories and created new ones in the crowd. Their live performance has clearly been honed over the years and they played faultlessly sounding just like their many records.

Taking Back Sunday are, quite clearly, still a force to be reckoned with. 

The Tidal Wave tour plays Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth with tickets still available: certainly one not to miss!

Chris Aitken.


Check out some snaps of Taking Back Sunday below!


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