Mudvayne and Coal Chamber – Fortitude Music Hall Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Nev Pearce

Photography: Luke Petty


Between the years of 1996 and 2000 were incredible times for heavy music, the Nu metal movement was in full swing and bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit were at the height of their fame along with Deftones and other bands of the genre.

Two of the bands that came out of that era that really hit hard with me were Coal Chamber and Mudvayne (who came a bit later), both bands had their own unique style both musically and visually and helped inspire my early musical influences in a big way that has carried on to this day.

When both bands announced their reunions I never in a million years would have expected the tour to hit Australian shores, so you could imagine the ‘holy shit!’ moment when the news dropped and it was a sentiment shared by many fans around the country.

The Kick off for the tour tonight in Brisbane is at the Fortitude Music Hall, a venue that has quickly become one of the most loved and respected in our state among music fans for its amazing atmosphere and killer sound, which is exactly what’s required for a line up such as this.

The night goes from zero to one hundred very quickly after the massive line rolls in from around the block for the sold-out gig.
There isn’t a local support for the show, but with two massive legendary bands back to back, the fans are going to want to get their money’s worth especially since it is apparently the last time Mudvayne will be touring down under.

As the house lights go down, The Cordettes Mr Sandman starts playing over the PA and then ominously morphs into the Halloween theme as our heroes enter the stage.

The familiar guitar and bass intro to Loco rings throughout the venue as the hordes of Chamber fans instantly lose their minds in anticipation for what has been a very long time coming.
Loco sets the pit in motion right off the bat before being followed up with Fiend and Big Truck which just ramps up the chaos even more and drives the fans even harder.
The last time I saw Coal Chamber was at Soundwave in 2012 and while I thought their set was one of the best of the day, they didn’t have all the bells and whistles of their full stage show which is being displayed tonight with with multicoloured illuminated guitar amps and at least 8 massive smoke canons which is really impressive.
Musically Coal Chamber are insanely tight and on point, the combination of Meegs Rascon’s monstrous guitar tone with Nadja Peulen’s ground-shaking bass and drummer Mike Cox’s heavy hits is something that has to be experienced live.
Considering Dez Fafara literally almost died a couple of years ago from COVID-19 amazes me.
He not only recovered but also managed to come back seemingly stronger, faster and better than before and on top of that is vocally on fire tonight as he leads the fans through classics and other bangers like IOU, Rowboat, Dark Days and Oddity.

At one point during Clock, Dez asks everyone to crouch to the floor but the problem here is some of the aged fan base such as myself can’t jump the fuck up like we used to 20 years ago, but you can sure as hell see everyone try because the man requested it.

Finishing their killer set with Sway, Coal Chamber absolutely brought the goods, hopefully, the band had as much fun as we did and their reunion will see them return to Australia a lot sooner than last time.
As the LD.50 opening sample Monolith plays through the PA, Mudvayne graces the stage donned in their classic early-era make-up and overalls garb to a thunderous reception and don’t fuck around going straight into the massive hit Not Falling.

I’ve always seen Mudvayne as a progressive metal band more than Nu metal despite being from that era and having those elements blended in, musically they were light years ahead of their peers with their use of odd time signatures, technical rhythm sections and complicated vocal patterns which is why I think they have appealed to a wider audience of not only mainstream listeners but also music theory scholars.

The collaborative musical minds behind MV of Greg Tribbett, Matthew McDonough and Ryan Martinie has always been a force to be reckoned with and combined with Gray’s emotionally driven lyrics created something unlike anything else.
To do all that and put in the energy onstage (special not to bass player Ryan Martini who didn’t stand still) has always been impressive to me, especially with such a long set of hits.
Internal Primates Forever, -1, Silenced and the fan favourite World So Cold are big highlights of the set and frontman Chad Gray spends a good portion of it at the barrier or in the pit connecting with his rabid legion of fans.
Vocally Mudvayne has always been challenging, the overlapping patterns, timing and sheer speed of the wordplay on record have always been impressive to me and something almost impossible to replicate live, but Chad does his best to make it all work somehow with a little help of backing vocalist and second guitarist Marcus Rafferty, it’s awesome to hear some of those calls and response and overdub lines being done tonight as well as the fans singing along to each part of their choosing as each pattern is like it’s own choose your own adventure.
Dull Boy from The New Game is an absolute pit slammer and then swings things back around to Determined, which I’ve always thought was their nod to Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill and one of my favourites
Death Blooms is an absolute emotional roller coaster, with an extended outro jam and heartfelt singalong, there is never a time that track doesn’t move me and looking around at a few others in close proximity, their reactions echo mine.
As it comes to the closing of the night Chad screams ‘Can you dig it?’ which is the firing gun for one of the most hectic mosh pit moments of the night.
As soon as the signature ‘brr brr deng’ bass line of Dig is heard the whole room is just bodies and pure chaos, it’s hard to argue that it’s one of the best metal songs ever written and I never get tired of hearing it.
Wrapping up the night with Happy? You can’t help but be both stoked to have had such a great night seeing them but also a little sad if the word of it being their last tour is true.
Mudvayne is truly one of the greats and loved by so many, it was a privilege to have seen them again tonight and felt the same way about them as I did when I was in my teenage years, here’s to a band that is not only influenced so many but also spoke to them in their darkest moments and it would be a shame for anyone to miss them while they are here.

That truly was a night to go down in the history books.

February 16: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
February 17: Festival Hall, Melbourne
February 19: Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide
February 21: Metro City, PerthHERE for info and remaining tickets

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