GIG REVIEW: Drowning Pool, A Breach of Silence & She Cries Wolf Live at Max Watts, Brisbane
So after 14 years it has finally happened and Drowning Pool has finally made it back to Australian shores. There has been a lot that has happened since the band last set foot in Australia. The iPhone has been released and the Global Financial Crisis has been and gone, not to mention that the band has undergone several vocalist changes and released a handful of records since then. But what hasn’t changed is the intensity of an Australian audience at one of their shows, and while the last time they were on Australian stages was the Big Day Out in 2002, the intensity at Max Watts House of Music on a Thursday night in Brisbane 14 years later was exactly the same.
If you arrived at the start of the night you might have been fooled though, as the line that normally shoots from the door to the back of the venue had only a handful of people in it. It’s always difficult to gauge a Thursday night show, and after seeing the line for the entrance I must admit I had my concerns. Thankfully more and more people showed up as the night progressed, to provide a suitable sized crowd for the bands on offer.
I really tried to latch onto opening act She Cries Wolf, but just wasn’t able to. The vocals and some of the guitar tones were coming through a bit soft from the speakers (a house problem and not the bands), but visually I found myself focusing all of my attention to one side of the stage. The band was performing for the meager early crowd, but the energy of the guitarist and bassist on stage left just trumped everything else that was happening on stage and in the room during their set. This is a band that I have seen before, and enjoy watching live, but while their set is normally killer there was just something amiss on this occasion and they didn’t hit the heights I know that the band can reach.
A Breach Of Silence were up next, and boy did theintensity of the night lift from there. The Brisbane locals are no strangers to performing alongside Drowning Pool, having spent 8 weeks with them in the United States at the end of 2015, but you couldn’t help but feel like that outing had prepared these guys to know what to expect and how to warm up a Drowning Pool crowd before. Their set was incredible to watch, and while I have seen these guys a few times before, this was easily one of the best performances they have put on. There was this electricity about their performance and stage presence that drew you in like a magnet and just wouldn’t release you from its grip. The icing on the cake was watching the band continue to perform seamlessly while Drowning Pool drummer Mike Luce gave each member of the band shots – which just highlighted the comradery between these two groups.
After a quick changeover, Drowning Pool came out on stage without all the pomp, grandeur and excitement that most bands like to employ, and it highlighted the kind of band that Drowning Pool is — a band that just wants to get out on stage and have a good time. Launching straight into the classic ‘Sinner’, they quickly engaged everyone in the venue and you could tell that this was going to be an enjoyable night.
There was just something about the way that Drowning Pool played that held me in awe. There were no passengers on stage and each member had some aspect of them that made them absolutely infectious. Frontman Jason Moreno was superb, and it’s not difficult to see why after so many years of trying to find the right vocalist, that the band has finally settled on Moreno. Not only were the vocals incredibly tight, but his stage presence was in line with some of the best in the business,instantly drawing parallels to the like of Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, or Chad Grey from Mudvayne/Hellyeah.
Not to be outdone by Moreno, guitarist CJ Pierce continually found his way atop the beautifully placed stomp box at the front of stage and launched himself off it multiple times throughout the night while bassist Stevie Benton casually played away off to his side of stage and Luce managed to find some time to stand up from behind his throne to beckon the crowd to get louder.
It was pretty also pretty amazing to watch each member of the band with their own microphone pitch in on vocal duties, which is a rare sight but was something that Drowning Pool pulled off to great effect. Even Luce behind the drum kit had his own headset and was helping during some clean sections, but Moreno is to be truly commended. Not only was he able to sing the material that he helped write, but he was also able to perform older material made popular by the previous vocalists and successfully transform it into his own. Many of the people in the crowd were there to hear the ‘old Drowning Pool’ as Moreno put it and judging from the crowds reaction,each time the band launched into the older material,he didn’t disappoint with his vocals.
The band didn’t flirt with material that wouldn’t elicit a great crowd response, and the night flowed from anthem to belter to giant sing-along as they blazed through the show for the Brisbane crowd.Closing out by getting members from A Breach of Silence on stage, as well as a few of the bands new ‘friends’ from the crowd to help perform the band’s signature hit ‘Bodies’ was just another way in which Drowning Pool took what could have been a run-of-the-mill metal show to the next level and is something that is going to be remembered by a few for a long time to come.
While there might not have been the massive turnout that you would expect for a band following a 14 year absence, there was still plenty of action for this show and after the reception that they got I somehow think we might be seeing Drowning Pool back on Australian shores sooner rather than later.
Catch Them Live on Tour:
Saturday 30th July Melbourne – Max Watts
Sunday 31st July Perth – Capitol