Updated: Jun 10
May saw Sydney's RedHook come to town, in V-formation with Citadel & The Dead Love on either flank. As usual they rocked the house down and blew some minds with their trademarked pizzazz and an edgy flourish. At times explosive and others deep, the night was a journey for the heart and feast for the senses.
First up we saw Citadel, with their first track 'Eons.' They were actually surprisingly heavy, with fry screams and a 'punch somebody' attitude. They really get the crowd moving with the tasty chugs, bringing a good mix of post-hardcore cleans and the Ruthless Randy's from their Asmongold cosplayer on the mic. There's a big-dick 7-string guitar to the left, a miniature Travis Barker kid drum kit, and breakdowns where there should be. They sneak up on you.
The cymbal work was getting me hot n bothered, while the vocalist whips out some Hayley Williams cleans, straight into the brutality. They do a 'soft song' "About bein' sad n' stuff," and we get a slow build from drums & vocals. 7-string Big Dick comes in with the backup vox - feather-down purity - and then some Linkin Park shit tickles our clits with some big notes from the singer. Four whole bars of the words "NEVER RETURN" are held and we throw the trophy for Biggest Lungs at the cunt, before a 20-tonne Northlane breakdown dongs us on the head. And I'm talkin' Adrian-era. A serene piano sample outro whisks us into the next song: Running drums and an industrial guitar roll-in. The drum and bass jack in and we are all uploaded into The Matrix soundtrack. A blast-beat chorus punches us in the throat with the drummer creaming on the crash. A break down into a breakdown into a breakdown; 'Swallowing Razorblades' style.
They whip out their next song 'Sundered Souls' with some self-deprecating humour & incredible crowd work and we get some big movement from audience & band alike in the drop. "If you wanna move around, this is your last chance," we're told and they go into their last hoorah. The gutturals, son. The gutturals.
A quick dip in the smoker's area and now The Dead Love grace our stage. They have a frenetic pop-punk thing going down, with the ultimate Skater Dad on bass. This is not the last we will see of him, with Clint Ossington stealing the show whenever he pops up on stage. Put your pogo shoes on, because The Dead Love will get you jumping. And singing along, with their next track compelling the audience to lift up their hands and get those uvulas moving. We get a cheer for the music scene reviving after two years of setbacks. Then they play a song about 'not getting played on the radio,' called "Anyway." The crowd follows the bouncing ball and gets singing again, with a walking-bass solo riff and an actual thrash outro. A bit of a whiplash and a bit of crowd work, you can feel the music in your beer.
A few more songs, a few more pits. The throw of hair in the mosh is only broken with some crowd work and some schralpage. They go into another hit, 'Small Talk," and it's their heaviest yet. The Skater Dad is the true constant of the band, always poppin' off. That and the claps. The crowd is the hidden member of the band, croaking out the words in between sips and sloshing VB everywhere with each round of applause.
They take their bows and the chefs bring out the main course. RedHook are next and we prepare ourselves for their dazzling theatricality. Emmy whips up a frenzy from the first, with surprising gutturals off the bat. They do a breakdown, into the actual breakdown and I'd say we're off to quite the titillating start, old chaps. They eat us whole with a wall of guitar and a costume change goes down while a jam distracts us ravenous audients. The eshay lass-look comes flying out the wardrobe and they do an edgy Backstreet Boys cover. Which I'm gonna be fully upfront about, this is the best thing that's ever happened.
Emmy gets real serious with a DnM and they unveil their latest single, 'Jabberwocky.' Opening up to the audience, this song is about sexual abuse and trauma. It is an all-too-real reminder of the prevalence of this behaviour in our society when so many female members of the audience chime in with "that's how it happened to me too!" or "Same!" The song rocks though. But it is a tragedy that so many have been affected by this bullshit. I'm glad that someone is finally speaking out about it and giving us an outlet to healthily let it all out with the power of dance. At the very least it is comforting that something so harrowing has brought so many people together. Feet hit the floor and the breakdown splinters boards.
The next song features a rambunctious AFI scream solo and the knee pads are getting a workout. We get some nu metal hippety hoppety, a Limp Bizkit cover, and a saxophone circle pit. Then everyone's favourite 'Bad Decisions' comes force gripping us to a galaxy far, far away. Everyone from every band finds a spot on stage, and the guitarist takes over as frontman for five minutes. A wild jamboree mix-up goes down, with members of each different band swapping instruments and getting freaky. A comedy laugh-riot of crowd work and mindwarping takes place, and The Legend, Clint, makes his valiant return. This time on the mic. What follows is a nu metal duet for the whole family. Bring your nanna and bring your dog next time, because RedHook are a sight to behold.
All three bands of the evening really delivered, with different genres and styles but always making the crowd move. If you haven't seen them live, you've got to get your hands on a ticket next time they tour. The first domestic leg of their tour is over, but RedHook are about to embark on their international crawl with dates announced in Germany, France and England. Coming back at the end of July through August and September, RedHook will be back in Oz with the final stretch of their tour, hitting up regional towns like Toowoomba, Byron Bay and country Victoria. They're probably coming to a town near you, so check out tickets HERE!
FOLLOW Citadel | Instagram