Belle Haven: ‘Nobody Likes A Hospital’ Tour @ Workers Club, Melbourne

It’s so nice to be back in the swing of live music again! Saturday night saw music lovers hightail it to the Workers Club, and it didn’t feel like we’d been without it for a year, give or take. Familiar faces, those bendy floorboards, the unisex toilets.. yep, we’re home.

I arrived a little later than I should have, unfortunately, walking in to the band room to find Future Static in full swing. I couldn’t tell you when it was that I saw the band last, but they seem to have been working some magic behind the scenes since then. Completely owning the stage, with new vocalist Amariah Cook in tow, it was so great to witness. Every single band member seemed 100% into the experience; having a good time, relaxed and present, and fully loving their music. The impact of seeing that in action was wowing, and honestly a little tough to word.

Equally at home in raucous moments as they were in the more chilled parts, the Future Static set was a really good time, with air kicks and dance moves the icing on top. I won’t let Melbourne roadworks keep me from seeing more of this magical experience next time, and I urge everyone who reads this to do the same. Get thee to a Future Static experience, STAT!

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Unashamedly, I thrashed Alt.‘s “nothingwithoutyou” song from the moment I first heard it. While their debut EP dysfunctional unfortunately wasn’t seven tracks just like “nothingwithoutyou”, the band have something special about them, and I was keen to see what they could deliver in a live setting. In fact I don’t think I even knew what the guys looked like before this moment.

Giving an immediate good impression, the vocals were a standout, as was the cohesive feel the band members had with each other. They made music that was undeniably easy to move to, even if not immediately grabbing or energetic. Repeatedly pulled to focus toward the vocals, it seemed that Dan ‘double PUMA’ Richards was the leader here for Alt., pulling all the threads together and guiding focus.

Alt. got better as they warmed up, and the live versions of their songs felt really good, particularly the energy they poured into “chasing safety” and (my beloved) “nothingwithoutyou”.  At one point I watched this set, wondering if it was my red wine talking, thinking I could see this band in a festival setting; seeming confident, well-seasoned, with a huge crowd shouting their words back at them.

That solid mental image had me wish I knew the words to give something back to the crescendo and soaring peak that was happening at the time. Ultimately, the set left me (still) feeling like Alt. are onto something good and should keep following where their creativity takes them.

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Again unashamedly, I LOVE Belle Haven, and more specifically, I love “The Carving Knife”. So starting their set on this high was a buzz for me, with frenetic activity on stage, even though it seemed over way too soon. Treading more into You, Me and Everything in Between territory and straight into “Selfmade” had me want to listen to that beauty of an album more often. Already feeling sweaty and awesome in this sick set, vocalist David De La Hoz verbalised that he was having the same feeling.

There’s nothing like a sweaty Workers Club bandroom to spark nostalgia, and that’s what was happening. Belle Haven threw it back into “Hunt for Health”, with the 2015-released song and its lyrics seeming very much relevant to the themes being unfolded with upcoming EP Time Changes Nothing. Seeing Belle Haven rock out on stage, with every note slammed home with the stage lighting, felt so great.

Ripping out “Burn the Witch” erased the concern from my mind whether that ‘No Standing’ sign I parked underneath was valid on a Saturday. Belle Haven pulled our focus to that room, that chanted lyric, and the on-stage manoeuvres pulled off by bending and spinning musicians. With sweat pouring down my back, I loved seeing bassist Tom Mitchell dive at the mic for “Take Your Pill” (are they referring to the mysterious ‘answer pill’?), and Benjamin Masters on drums shift gears from bombarding to chill.

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David took a moment to open up about his and the band’s experiences with COVID-19 related impacts, such as how the music videos for Belle Haven’s newest singles happened a year ago (!). He used a sweet metaphor of dogs having ‘zoomies’ with excitement about the return to normalcy, as part of an extended story … so that Christopher Vernon could replace a broken guitar string.

Thrown back into the wildness, it was then time for “You.”, with the wild lighting being beautifully on point for the song’s chaos. With a crowd fully into the experience and barks coming from David, it was a moment to lose yourself into, with some fury directed toward whoever has ever wronged you. The immersion to the set was too much to resist, and I was too busy singing “Forget Me” loudly with everyone else around me to take any specific notes about how great it was.

Ending their set with the reason for the tour – “Nobody Likes A Hospital” – the drums were so loud at times that it was tough to make out David’s voice, but the percussive noise worked well for capturing the oppressive hospital situation of the song. I enjoyed sinking into the momentary quiet of the bridge before it all blasted out again.

As yet another good time to sing along with this beautiful band, it was nothing but love for Belle Haven in that sweatfest of a band room. Live music is back and so are Belle Haven. Bring on Time Changes Nothing, hey?

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[Photos courtesy of Liam Davidson]
Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it. [Loved the read? Shout Kel a latte.]

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