Atreyu / Bad/Love / These Four Walls – Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Alison Gustavson 
Photography: Luke Petty

After four years, Atreyu returned to Brisbane on Friday night with their highly anticipated ‘We Want Your Skulls’ World Tour. Joined by Melbourne’s Bad/Love and Gold Coast based These Four Walls, the Brightside Outdoor Stage was bursting at the seams with excited metalheads.

Opening the evening was These Four Walls, a four piece from the Gold Coast and its surrounding area. Between guitarist Gray Vickers’ extraordinary dance moves and vocalist Steve Gibb’s electric energy, the band certainly set the bar high for the evening. Playing songs like ‘Carousel’ and ‘Marigold’, there was a sea of headbanging.

Next up was Bad/Love, who brought in some of the heavier elements of what was yet to come. Their use of tracks made their set feel like a headliner in itself, while their stage presence had everyone in the venue moving. On the back of their new EP release ‘Mono No Aware, Pt. II’ last year, the quartet played fan favourite ‘Saints’ that had the entire crowd singing along. Before closing their set with brand new single ‘UNIGOD’, they called for the first circle pit of the night which appropriately set the crowd up for Atreyu.

To say that Atreyu is a band that is unapologetically themselves would be an understatement – this is a band who is not afraid to have fun, have a laugh, get the crowd chanting ‘Fuck Melbourne’ or include a bit of light stripping on vocalist Brandon Saller’s part; as he said, “[he] should have charged extra for that”.

With an almost entirely sold-out Brightside Outdoor Stage belting out the entirety of ‘Drowning’, we were well on our way to stealing Melbourne’s place as ‘number one city of the tour’. Throwing it back some old ones, ‘Becoming The Bull’, ‘Right Side Of The Bed’ and ‘Ex’s and O’s’ had the audience singing louder than Saller himself and had the energy level at an 11.

From guitarist Travis Miguel’s ability to continuously run across and move onstage, to guitarist Dan Jacobs and bassist Marc McKnight’s constant interactions with the audience and fellow bandmates, this band is easily one of the most entertaining acts of the decade to see live. The banter between the band members and Saller’s conversations with the audience had everyone in stitches all night.

It’s not often that a completely improvised circle pit breaks out in between two songs, but when the band mentioned Melbourne had taken the cake thus far for the best crowd, we Brisbanians couldn’t help ourselves. Starting with a ‘Fuck Melbourne’ chant, Saller and Jacobs quickly encouraged a ‘Fuck Melbourne’ circle pit mid set that saw almost half of the venue open up. On the back of the chants, it’s no surprise the crowd was more than willing to shout out ‘Save Us’ as loud as possible. Spoiler alert: Brisbane took the cake for the tour, sorry Melbourne!

Arguably one of the most energetic and best performed songs of the night was ‘Two Become One’ which saw yet another huge circle pit breaks out, along with McKnight and Jacobs running across the stage. From ‘(i)’ and ‘Bleeding Mascara’ to ‘The Time Is Now’ and ‘God/ Devil’, there was a great mix for new and old fans alike.

It was an incredibly special moment to have Saller back on the drums and McKnight on vocal duties for ‘Bleeding Mascara’, before having Saller walk and sing through the moshpit in ‘The Time Is Now’. Not to mention it was great to see the crew like guitar tech Mitch Bowman become an honorary member of the band with his dancing skills in ‘Gone’ and ‘Blow’.

Between the improvised rendition of Limp Biskit’s ‘Break Stuff’, the classic shoey responsibility that fell upon Saller, allowing the audience to pick a song from the hat – which ended up being ‘Comedown’, and Saller’s testing of the crowd’s vocal ability, this show was incredibly unique. The band also had a very important message to share before playing ‘Warrior’, which is that everyone goes through tough times, but the important thing is to wake up every morning and keep going.

To close the night, Jacobs performed a saxophone medley solo that welcomed the band back onto stage with alcohol, and a pink Hello Kitty guitar and box of Krispy Kremes for Miguel (which he proceeded to give out to audience members). Their final song was the perfect way to finish the huge party that was the Atreyu show – a cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’.

With a crowd of people from 18 years old all the way up to 60, it was amazing to see multiple generations of metalheads bonding over a shared love for the band and the incredible legacy they have built over almost 26 years.