In Hearts Wake @ Arrow on Swanston, Melbourne (Ark All Ages Tour)

In Hearts Wake have put together a fine little tour here, with the “Ark All Ages (AAA)” tour taking off for three shows in Sydney, Brisbane, and finally Melbourne. All age shows seem to be few and far between these days, and I can’t imagine the pain that youngsters in the scene must feel every time there is a new tour announcement that has no AA dates on it. It is fantastic that they put on these all ages shows, and it was great to see some young people at this show having a great time.

Inside Arrow on Swanston, the merch tables were flat out with customers, and you could tell straight away it was a great environment to be in. Punters and band members alike all standing around chatting and laughing. A real sense of togetherness was in the air, as everyone was excited for the music that we were all about to witness.

Opening the show was The Beautiful Monument. I had immersed into some of their music in the Unify pre-season but didn’t end up catching their set at the festival, so was quite keen to see what they could put forward. Launching themselves straight into the music, the energy given out by them was high. The guitarists and bassists moved around the stage, as if choreographed. They played off of each other, and all appeared to be lost in the music as they moved with the instrumentals, clearly in their element. The vocals were strong all the way through, and the passionate five piece were very strong musically. Unfortunately crowd participation was very low, so there wasn’t that added intensity for them that comes with watching the passionate fans loving it. I could tell that many were seeing them for the first time however and they were no doubt enjoying their introduction. Thanking the other bands for taking them on the tour, The Beautiful Monument closed their set with “Manifestation,” which was visibly enjoyed by a whole lot of people. Hips moving and the heads nodding may not seem like much, but to a new audience that is a start, and shows that The Beautiful Monument have something good going here.

After a fun break of trying to find phone reception and chatting with some lovely people, Thornhill were up next. The room was a bit fuller now, and repping my new hat I’d bought from their merch table no more than half an hour before, I was quite keen. As soon as the opening riff of “Reptile” kicked in I tried to get close to the front and was given the stink-eye by several people nearby. Musically, Thornhill put on a great set; featuring the stellar vocal stylings of Jacob Charlton, slick guitar-tistry of Ethan and Matt, and Nick’s buoyant bass work.  Noteably, Adam Pinzone who was filling in for usual drummer Ben Maida impressively nailed the band’s songs.

Though I personally thoroughly enjoyed Thornhill’s set, the crowd around me weren’t necessarily familiar with the band and weren’t as actively into the band as I’d love to see. Nonetheless, Thornhill still received loud applause, with songs like “Temperer,” and “My Design,” receiving strong reactions. The majesty that is “Lavender” featured guest vocals from Void of Vision‘s Jack Bergin and began to get the crowd pumped. The pit opened up, and things got rough. The powerful set put a smile on my face, and definitely warmed up the crowd.

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Justice for the Damned were the final act before the headliners came on and thoroughly added to the flickering fire that the previous bands’ fire had already stoked. The heavy Sydneysiders captivated the room from the very start, courtesy of the lighting, state presence and heavy instrumentals. Moshing was a permanent staple of this set.

Vocalist Bobak had the crowd in his hands from the second he walked on stage. Demanding circle pits, moshing, and stage diving, he had full control. The groove filled breakdowns mixed it up a bit, switching the pace commonly between really fucking fast and seductively slow. The band were very active on stage, headbanging together and dancing together. “Horns in the air” was a battle cry, summoning the raised hands of most of the audience, which was a very cool sight. Justice For The Damned know how to pump up the crowd and get our adrenaline going. The band closed their set with “Please Don’t Leave Me,” ending on the high note of a deliciously filthy breakdown.

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What seems to be becoming a tradition at In Hearts Wake gigs is the pre-set audience singalong of “Livin on a Prayer”. A fun way to warm up the vocal chords, it sent anticipation sky high and the room already full with a whole lot of love for one of the bands that got me into heavy music.

With the lights dimming and “Ark”‘s intro track hitting us all, everyone was palpably hyped. Running out on stage, Jake Taylor greeted us with the powerful opening lines of “Passage.” The crowd was immediately into it. The mosh was going off, as the flashing lights made the fast instrumentals and killer vocals of Jake feel that much more intense. I myself got goosebumps as the chorus came through, and being back with In Hearts Wake playing in front of me felt like home. “Healer” was killer, and the crazy thing about this was standing right in front of me. Two parents with their two kids on their shoulders, who can’t have been much older than 5 or 6 years old. One of them had the metal horns up, almost moshing while staying on his dads shoulders, and the other one was on the ground having a whale of a time jumping around.

Jake grinned down at the audience, each member scrambling over the other in an attempt to get closer just to scream a few lyrics at Jake. “Departure” overwhelmed me and I had to run forward and have a bit of a dance and a sing, along with everyone else. The pit was a very loving environment, with everyone grinning as they pushed off each other and jumped around. The rest of the band was clearly loving this too, all of them wearing visible smiles, which is always lovely to see.

After a strong performance of “Nomad” Jake went on to speak about the important of all ages shows. He said how he had felt lost at times in his life, and how as a young kid he went to a hardcore show and found his home. He thanked everyone for coming and said how good it was to have everyone there, especially the younger people. They are the future of the scene, and without all ages shows the music will die. This was followed up by “Skydancer,” which featured one of the best and most involved singalongs of the night. “Remember where you first called home,” came out of the mouth of everyone standing near me, and could be clearly heard throughout the whole room. The mosh was going off during the choruses, with everyone jumping into each other, pushing and shoving, whilst still singing and having the time of their lives. “Afterglow,” “Overthrow,” and “Elemental,” were all classy as hell, showing off the diverse musicianship of the band.

“Survival” is always something special, even more so when it involves Patchy the Second, the bands inflatable boat. The idea is that they put someone in the boat and they have to crowd surf to the other side of the room to deliver something to their sound guy, and retrieve the flag, then crowd surf back. This was when they invited a few of the really young kids on stage, including the ones I mentioned earlier. They stood there nervously throughout the song, clearly loving it but feeling rather shy about the situation. One of the older ones, probably about 10-12 years old, actually got into the boat and was the one that retrieved the flag. It was fantastic to watch and will no doubt be an experience that will stay with these kids forever.

“Let me hear your war cry” was the question, and the answer was everyone in the room letting out an almighty roar. “Warcry” was as powerful as ever, and led into “Divine.” This featured one of the other best singalongs for the night, with seemingly everyone in the room joining in for a big “We are Divine!” They claimed this next one to be their last song, and after belting out “Breakaway” they left the stage.

Obviously this was a blatant lie, as some enthusiastic chants of “one more song,” “two more songs,” and “one more set”, were yelled, prompting them to return to stage. Jake promised two more songs, and then they launched into “Refuge.” People loved this song, with the pit opening right up and going off the whole time, even during the chorus. “Welcome to Mayhem,” what a line. The never ending energy of everyone present wasn’t looking like slowing down, and that’s lucky because the final song was “Earthwalker.” It appeared that everyone wanted to release every last burst of energy during this one last song, doing so with a big wall of death at the start. The singalongs were big, and the breakdown of “Earthwalkers, will never die,” went OFF. It closed out the night in a perfect way, and demonstrated everything the band has to offer.

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In the band’s words after the show, they shared their appreciation for their reception on the mini-tour as well as their personal gratitude for all ages shows: “Thank you for an incredible weekend Australia! So good to see so many youngsters out at these shows too. From as young as 12 we were going to local hardcore shows and it was at these shows that we all found our sense of belonging. We formed In Hearts Wake when we were 15 years old and without All Ages shows it would not have been possible. So to all the parents that brought their children, siblings that brought siblings and even the kids that brought their parents, thank you for your support on this mini tour!”

[Photos courtesy of Rowan Donohue @ The Triffid show of the tour.]

Josh Hockey

Melbourne based music journalist who is ridiculously passionate about music, and spends every possible moment listening to it, seeing shows, and of course wearing the merch.

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