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So, I’ve made it. The final night of this six-day The Living End bender, and as I write this, my body is definitely thanking me for giving it a breather. Fittingly, the last album I get to see performed live is the first one which I bought (or won in a magazine competition, I’m not 100% sure) – their pounding second record, Roll On.
Warming up the stage tonight were triple j-approved rockers Kingswood, and man did they impress. Mixing the grunt of Wolfmother and the fuzz of Tame Impala – the boys tore through tracks off their EP Change Of Heart – with singles Yeah Go Die, Medusa and She’s My Baby going down a treat. Like TLE’s management mates Children Collide – who warmed up for TLE on a tour in 2008 and are now stars in their own right – I can see big things ahead for these guys.
Crowds can be so deceiving. In the build up to tonight’s show, there wasn’t as much visible excitement on the floor, which made me think Sunday-itis had understandably washed over everyone, and tonight wasn’t going to be as full-on. How wrong I was. From the moment the title track kicked things off, the Corner turned into a sea of sweaty bodies bouncing up and down in all directions.
And somehow, the hardcore fans up the front managed to keep their spots, and began waving these weird speech bubble signs with different sayings in them. My guess is it was some sort of random planned attack by forumers to get the band’s attention – but it worked, as after a storming rendition of Pictures In The Mirror, Chris Cheney pointed out the bubble that simply said ‘Go!’ in it. He replied: “We got 11 shows here and we’re only six shows in… I ain’t goin’ nowhere. We’re just getting started.”
It wasn’t the only unique moment of the show – mid-way through the set, the announcement of ‘raffle winners’ delivered couple Tim and Rachael on stage to collect a poster. It ended up being a sneaky decoy for a marriage proposal… a successful one to deafening cheers. Although, despite being next on the album tracklisting, Dirty Man may not have been the most fitting track to follow up with!
The bone-crunching riffs in Carry Me Home (predictably starting a fight circle) and Don’t Shut The Gate kept the momentum going, as did the singalongs in Riot On Broadway, Revolution Regained, Silent Victory and Killing The Right. A brief medley of covers – namely a rock-a-billy flavoured take on Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love and a tribute to their idols with Stray Cats’ Rock This Town – were also well received.
And, for a fitting finish, the place went absolutely bonkers for the much-loved album closer Uncle Harry.. ensuring the lines “UN-CLE HAR-RY, PISSING IN THE BATH.. WOOOAAH, PISSING IN THE BATH” will be etched in everyone’s minds for at least the next few days.
One of the standout quotes which appeared in the introduction videos over the last six nights came from the author who said they “don’t think it will ever be possible to get sick of seeing these guys live.” I wholeheartedly agree with them, and as this tour has proved, The Living End can still turn it on, night after night, no mater what album they are playing and who they are playing to.
I thank them for taking me and so many others (aka the Big Red Ticket holders) on such a unique live music experience – one which I doubt any Australian rock band will be able to execute so well if they attempt something similar in the future. Enjoy that champagne on Saturday night boys – you’ve well and truly earned it.