Review : Jackson Price
Photos : Dan Maynard
It’s a humid Wednesday night in Fortitude Valley and a mass of black shirt wearing metal fans are making the pilgrimage up the hill along Constance Street towards the Tivoli, for tonight is Brisbane’s turn to see Arch Enemy for the first time since 2018 in support of their latest album Deceivers. As the lights go down and the night begins, the almost packed-out room is met with the pounding drums, tin whistle and huge riffs of Brisbane’s own Valhalore.
With their heavily melodic style of catchy folk and power infused ballads, the local 5 piece have the audience participating in everything from epic choir-like sing Along’s to circle pits to headbanging jigs. And with the amount of Valhalore shirts seen amongst the crowd, it would be safe to assume there are plenty already well versed in these antics, while also safe to assume there is a bunch of new recruits to the Valhalore horde after tonight.
As the final notes of the folk metal opener are fading out and the stage lights come up, energy is high in the auditorium. The crowd is warmed and the anticipation for tonight’s headlining act is beginning to fill the air. Stage crew begin preparing and a noticeable surge towards the front barrier begins. If anyone was to survey the room around them at this point, one would notice how not only most of the floor area is now standing shoulder to shoulder, vying for a good vantage point, but also the entire upstairs balcony, stairs and any other standing room offering a view of the stage is filling quickly.
Before long a faint intro track can be heard, swelling in volume as 4, what would seem to be, giants take to the stage. Brandishing their respective instruments and the crushing opening riff of Deceiver, Deceiver from Arch Enemy’s latest album is met with a roar from the crowd. This crowd reaction only superseded when Alissa White-Gluz marches to center stage and unleashes a mighty scream to signify the melodeath quintet have begun and aren’t interested in taking any prisoners.
By the time the second song has come around the whole room is in participation with the high energy show. Crowd surfers have started to file over the front rail (which I might add, the security and crowd controllers were really good sports with the crowd. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a good chemistry between amped up metal concert attendees and the crew at the barrier. 2 thumbs up for everyone involved there), the mosh pit in front of the stage is moving and the balcony is filled with headbanging and drinks held up in salute.
The setlist for the evening is comprised of songs spanning most of the bands career with a few tracks from 2002’s Wages of Sin album and 2005’s Doomsday Machine thrown in along with everything else up to last years release Deceivers. The choice of songs was obviously a winner for fans old and new by the reactions as each offering was performed. It was a fantastic dive into the writing and guitar wizardry of founding member and driving force Michael Amott, while leaving very ample room for guitar powerhouse Jeff Loomis to add some of his own personality to older songs and really spread his wings on the new material. And at no stage did they ever miss an opportunity to show off some dual guitar hero moments.
At shows end, it feels like the night has been too short, as is always the case when a concert is this much fun. And it certainly didn’t feel like we had just witnessed almost 20 songs from the last 20 years, however my watch and the setlist on the ground in front of me is a reminder of just how much we had witnessed in what felt like a flash. As the outro track plays and all 5 members walk back out on the stage to say farewell to the fans and throw out some guitar picks and setlists, the punters start to leave on quite a high. This will be a night a lot will remember for a long time, because it was such a good time. If you have the opportunity to see any of the remaining dates on this tour, I strongly recommend checking it out.
Friday February 17th – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre
Saturday February 18th – MELBOURNE – Forum Theatre
Sundy February 19th – FREMANTLE – Metropolis