From its release in October 2017, Movements‘ Feel Something hasn’t been far from our ears. Following on from their 2016 EP Outgrown Things, the Orange County four piece crafted an eleven track masterpiece that significantly added to their snowballing popularity. The love for Feel Something and its expressions of imperfection, honesty, and desire is a significant part of why Melburnians were drawn to the Evelyn Hotel to be present for this band’s first Australian tour.
‘Imperfectly honest’ may has well have been the theme of the night, as it seemed to be a lyrical link joining all of the bands on the bill, Melbourne locals Better Half included. Fronted by Christopher Vernon, with Matt Van Duppen and Joel Adams on guitar, Ben Guenther on bass, and Adam Pinzone on drums, the night openers set a tone of fierce strength. “Fixate” was where they began, with Christopher easily owning the stage and the entire band feeling solid and together.
Sharing songs from their Maybe I Was Wrong EP and earlier releases, the five piece made it easy for an attentive crowd to enjoy the set in their own way, whether that was moving around or just drifting into the vibes that were created instrumentally. With Christopher’s voice sounding great, and a tight sound from the band, it was a feast of emotive guitar and bass lines, and genuine lyricism. What you see/hear is what you get with this band; it’s big, brash, real, and honest, with a distinct lack of any manufactured attempt to create hype. This collective of musicians just get stuck into it, and it is what it is; no frills needed.
Along with Better Half, Adelaide melodic hardcore band Ambleside are a big favourite for myself and the Depth crew, so they were a really exciting addition to the Movements tour. Even from their soundcheck, the five piece had everyone’s attention. The set got underway and Ambleside shared what sounded like a new song. With this already a huge start, they hit more familiar territory with the roaring “Good Enough” from their 2016 EP Shape Me.
Several new songs showed up during the set, decidedly whetting our appetites for what’s to come, with an interestingly more melodic take on the band’s sound. In at least one of the new songs, vocalist Daniel Stevens had both Dean Lawrence (guitar) and Jackson Buckler (guitar) adding their voices to the mix, with bassist Jono Young losing himself in the music, and Ash Mayes’ intensity on drums easily setting the mood.
With gorgeous melodic guitar, and a vibe that easily shifted from floaty to punchy with their shifts of sound, the Ambleside set was a full-bodied reinforcement of how great this band are. Favourites like “Dear Mother” seem to have undergone a slight reinvention since we caught the band last, with a softer approach vocally that gradually swelled into something intense and beautiful; inspiring ALL the feelings.
I’m not entirely sure why, but hearing “Blur” again live made me almost cry. Stunning instrumentals hurt my heart in conjunction with Dan’s call out to “feel something, even if it’s pain”. Repeating “fall asleep and fall behind”, the Ambleside train emotionally slowed to a stop.
“Wash Away” was the final effort from the band, bringing it home with a lot of crowd love inspired by this relentlessly hectic track.
Newcastle five piece Eat Your Heart Out also had the pleasure of joining their Fearless Records label mates Movements on their debut Australian run. Their high-vibing and feelgood set kicked off with “Rust”; also the opener of their Mind Games EP. With free movements all over the stage, frontwoman Caitlin Henry kept the mood high and light, despite the darker lyrical content of songs such as “Cellophane”.
Through this bouncing set, an eager crowd soaked up great harmonies, impressiveness of bass from Dom Cant, guitarist Andrew Anderson going hard (seriously, is that blood? Is he okay?) and thunderous drum build-ups by Jake Cronin.
We also had the pleasure of hearing “Conscience” with Pat Miranda’s feature. This was amazing as I’d hoped it would be. When I spoke with Pat in June, he’d talked about how excited he was to do it, as well as get to hang out with his ‘internet friends’ in Eat Your Heart Out.
The band’s easy-to-sing-along-with songs were added to by a cover of Jimmy Eat World‘s “Sweetness”. Though I craved some more vocal oomph to back these great songs, and was unsure if this was a sound issue or something else, “Better Late Than Never” was a satisfying close to the happy and upbeat set.
The moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived: Movements on stage right in front of us! Opening with “Third Degree”, it was already a strong start. The band’s stage presence felt loose and limber, and also like they were scoping all of us out. I’m pretty sure they had no idea what to expect from Melbourne, only being told that our city has very .. invested gig goers, already proven by the fact that this was the first sold out show of the tour.
Another track from Feel Something, “Under The Gun”, had the crowd all rough and tumble and finger pointy in emphatically joining in with our Orange County favourites. The four piece sounded FANTASTIC live, on all fronts, with Pat easily hitting vocal marks and stunning instrumentation meeting our faces, ears, and souls.
Unfortunately, some people missed the memo that this show was about Movements and the momentous occasion of them being in Australia and sharing their music with us. Certain members of the crowd decided to take to the stage, for no apparent reason, and just hang out there, requring for Pat to literally tell them to get off the stage – repeatedly. The crowd backed their band though, and actively assisted in removing the loiterers, who gained absolutely zero cred with their stunt.
This band and its music were what we were truly here for. With a live rendition of “Colorblind” then coming at us, a responsively rowdy crowd in this hot and sweaty space showed masses of enthusiasm and appreciation. Though Pat and fellow Movements crew Ira George (guitar), Spencer York (drums), and Austin Cressey (bass), didn’t really give much away by way of their facial expressions, a glimmer of a smile at emphatic singalongs, or a momentary wide-eyed ‘wow’ hinted at how overwhelming this all likely was.
When they finally came to terms with the fact that this room full of people on the other side of the world were going insane and thoroughly loving their music, Pat verbalised: “This means the fucking world to us”. Stage dives were constant, as was moshing and crowd surfing, assisted by a low beam of the Evelyn bandroom that could very handily be held onto.
Gracing us with Feel Something numbers like “Full Circle” and “Deep Red”, Movements shared the exceptionally hard hitting “Worst Wishes” and “Nineteen”. These words reinforced by crowd voices that held nothing back seemed to make the songs even more potently meaningful. “Kept” was demanded by the masses and they got their wish.
While I expected I might be a crying mess through the set, I was more mesmerised by the surreal fact that it was happening, as well as taking in the wholehearted passionate enthusiasm going on around me (I did, however tear up during the powerful “Deadly Dull”). This is an incredible live band. Admitting that they were lost for words at all of this, Pat shared that from the start of them being a band, this experience was “all we’ve ever wanted to do”.
While Pat’s words were “This is all we have” before leaving the stage after the beautiful “Daylily”, hungry fans belting out a persistent “ONE MORE SONG” lured the band back out again. Seeming stumped about what music they had that they could actually play for us, they went with “Protection”; the first song they released, amusingly lyrically ad libbing “I fucking hate this song”.
I left on a high, grateful for these impressive bands and their genuine sharing of the unpleasant parts and aches of life with a stellar soundtrack.
[All photos courtesy of Liam Davidson]