Given the powerful impression that After Touch‘s You Wish This Was About You EP had on me when I reviewed it, I was keen to hightail it to Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar to see this brand new iteration of Easy Life in action. The UNFD signees are celebrating the EP release with a nine-show tour of Australia, alongside (new best friends) Vacant Home.
It was the first show I’d been to at Last Chance, and I was initially surprised to find such an intimate space, but quickly got accustomed to the cosy vibe and readied myself for openers Reside.
It would have to be one of the most daunting tasks there is; taking a sparse room of people standing around awkwardly and bringing them to life, but Reside managed to do that. Easily. They opened with the hectic intensity of “Fidelity”, and a quick glance around already found attentive faces and bouncing heads.
Continuing with “Home”, the five piece made the most that they could of the tiny stage real estate, and used their three vocalists to express the shifting emotional dynamics within their songs. Veering from an edgy and wild vibe, Reside shared something more heartwarming with a new track. It was angsty regret painted by harmonies and repeated lyrics, and we are very keen for this when it comes!
It was a pleasure to watch Reside having a good time and confidently bringing us along with them, including a crowd-pleasing cover of Movements‘ “Kept”, and more tastes of new music on the way. I’m a big fan of the feels-fest inspired by spoken word vocals coupled with emotive drum build-ups which drop into multi-layered choruses. Reside just keep getting better!
Another first for me was getting to see ATLVS in action. The Melbourne band started with their most recent single “Love”; a strong metalcore track with huge fat expansive breakdowns, sweet melodic pockets, great clean vocals, and sick technical guitar work. It was just as impressive live as it is on the recording, and was a pretty quick way to be won over by this band. Instrumental backing flowed from song to song, keeping the vibe high throughout the set.
It was during the second song of their set (which I unfortunately don’t know the name of), that I felt a lot of love for ATLVS’ guitarists. Impressive is an understatement, and even more impressive was that Nick Fitzgerald managed to rip out a punk jump on that tiny stage without damaging anything or anyone.
I came away from the really solid and unified set thinking that ATLVS are very underrated. It was easy to fall into their set, with them holding nothing back, and balancing out the polish of clean vocals with thunderous beats and the beefy riffs and grounded intricacy of their guitarists. I was glad to see a mosh going for the band and passionate voices joining in.
I knew Vacant Home from the gut-wrenching “Knife’s Edge” single, but also from having dipped an ear into Reflect, Respond EP. All I knew was that this band are creators of really great melodic hardcore. This was affirmed to me as the Perth five piece dove into their set with fierceness and strength, somehow managing to fit this gigantic mass of energy in a tight space. But maybe they didn’t fit, because vocalist Callum McGivern spilled out into the crowd, hitting us with his movement and force and ‘wow’-level powers of spoken word and screams. All the while, impressive harmonies persisted throughout this punchy-paced set.
With this band being so passionately all-in, it was a set perfectly crafted to throw yourself into too. It was a sick blend of metallic harshness and emotive vulnerability that crafted a space where you become so spellbound you could easily forget that anyone else exists aside from you and Vacant Home. I fell for the shifts in pace and the drumming, as well as the emotive climbs where every smashing beat and riff was another ache at the chest.
The crowd of course went nuts through the set as we soaked up the blistering pace and hectic ache of tracks like “Shiver”. So many awesome moments here accompanied by impressively great (and pained) guitar tone made for an unreal set; the kind where you look at your friends afterward wide-eyed and say “SO good”. Well worth catching this Perth band whenever you get the chance!
By this point of the night, getting to see After Touch was icing on top of the metaphorical cake of an incredible showcase of great music. As well as Last Chance being the first stop of the Shellharbour band’s tour, it was the first show ever for the band under their new identity of After Touch. We were witnessing something pretty special in this humble bar.
Having virtually memorised You Wish This Was About You from repeat plays, I was pleasantly surprised that the live versions were as good as I’d hoped they’d be. With a great backing track, and some choices made to handle the vocal layering of the studio versions, the songs maintained their strength and emotional potency, as well as being unique enough that they weren’t just ‘listening to the EP’ live.
Pulling the very hooking “I’m Fading Away” into the set along with the newly released tracks gave a chance for more emphatic singalongs and climbing all over each other. “Use Me” copped a surprising amount of crowd love, and it was great to see the new music be so heartily (and rowdily) embraced. It was a very good time at Last Chance, where you could either soak it all in sedately, have a dance and sing, or be all up in After Touch’s faces.
The set was a massive step up from when I last saw this band; when it seemed like everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Vocalist Max Pasalic pulled off the demanding clean vocals of the new tracks, including the longer held notes, showing a strong progression from their earlier sound already. As ‘first’ shows go for a project, this was a good one, with even better times ahead as After Touch continue to progress and find their feet in this new era for the band.