I could kiss whatever powers that be that have allowed for gigs to still be held at the AC/DC Lane home of Cherry Bar. Such a great venue that feels like home every time I’m there! Is it permanent? I’m not sure, but time will tell, I guess.

Upbeat rock was pouring off the stage when I arrived at Cherry, with local band Placeholder already in full swing. Energy was off the charts with lots of movement both on stage and also in the crowd. Impassioned vocals seemed to be the driving force for this band, and also pulled my focus throughout the set.

Clearly happy to be there and enjoying what they’d revealed was their second show, I found it a bit rough going as a listener. There was something off with Placeholder’s timing the band didn’t feel unified. The messiness detracted from the songs themselves, unfortunately. Even with their single “Room For Doubt”, which I was looking forward to hearing live. It unfortunately felt like more practice is needed by Placeholder to present something fully cohesive.

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Vermont have been a favourite of mine for awhile, so it was a treat for me that I’d get to finally see them live at this show and at this venue! From their wowing instrumental introduction, Vermont’s set was a good one. They felt strong and together and I was thoroughly enjoying the guitar tone and noise.

Each song felt like a slowly unraveling story, with each line and lyric something to savour. Though it seemed at times like the microphones weren’t loud enough (? or just not picking up their voices), frontman Joshua Swanwick’s live vocals were fantastic; a warm velvety voice that easily shifted into something more fireful. There was a really good sense of deliberately building atmosphere as Vermont progressed. The result was then something goosebumpingly spectacular when they landed into the intensity of it.

Coming with the band’s three released singles on Spotify (“Adored”, “Breathe”, and “Lonely Mind”) were new songs (including “Solace”?) which I’m going to need to hear again ASAP. Clearly having a great time on stage, the Basement and Citizen worship was apparent (including a cover of “Spoiled”), while still keeping their own identity as a band. Vermont are definitely a band to watch!

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A good disclaimer for me to include here is that I struggle with pop punk. As a genre in general I find it hard to get into, and that’s kind of what happened for me with the Loose End set. I’m going to hazard a guess that this was more my issue than any criticism of the band’s performance though, because Cherry Bar was going NUTS over Loose End and it was a wild time all round!

My preferences aside, Loose End’s set offered a delicious opportunity for people to rock out, courtesy of the full vibrant energy that was beaming out from the stage. Hectic and fast paced, there was an infectiousness to the songs, seeming custom designed to throw yourself around to. Big instrumental build ups and delish bass tone featured here, as well as sweet guitar solos. Kind of a bit of everything!

It was Loose End’s first Cherry Bar show, so they were stoked to be here. Enthusiasm rippled out, even though they shared that they were all sick and needed help with the singing of their songs. I definitely couldn’t tell they were unwell, and neither it seemed could the bouncing crowd around me screaming “The Stress & The Envy” along with their band.

“Identity”‘s spoken word moment was a stand out to me, hitting home emotionally. The beautiful melodic guitar and harmonies of “Jordan Street” were also memorable features. The latter has a great chorus that’ll sweep you away, and many many voices reiterated this fact – making for a really feelgood end to the set. Loose End received cheers and whistles of appreciation as they left the stage.

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Melbourne based Reside may come across like (loveable) dorks in their social media posts, but this band are wonderful. They were here to celebrate the release of their The Light That You Saw EP, so the EP’s opening track “Brevity” was a perfect place to start. Sounding full and huge, frontman Liam Guinane made deliberate eye contact with an enthusiastic crowd as searching guitar filled the space. Even early in the set, my feeling was “This is the strongest I’ve ever seen them”.

Giving some love to their ‘day one-ers’ by playing their earliest songs, it was clear to me that Reside seemed much stronger in their more recently released tunes. But the wild scenes from Sale Brown and the more hardcore fierceness made “Burn” an absolute treat. Fierce and full, it was then a shift into the more contemplative self-detesting “Late Night Driving”.

Basement fans would be loving this show and its covers. Reside made “Covet” their own in all of its defeated angst. It was suitably steady, bass-tastic, and fraying at the edges and it sounded great. It was yet another example of Reside flexing their capabilities as a band, then heading into hefty hecticness of older music, the three voices working brilliantly together. I found myself thinking that the Reside I was seeing in action could have been a different band to the last time I saw them. Confident, happy, and owning the stage, there was nothing apologetic or uncertain about this set. Reside felt at ease and at home, with nothing but strength from each of them, including the band’s newest member Will Eggleton on guitar.

Liam took time to share about The Light That You Saw and what the EP and its songs meant to him. ‘The light’ was how he referred to what helped him out of his personal struggles, and a shift between dark and light is apparent across the EP. As seemed fitting for this moment, Reside played “The Light That I Found”, which sounded great live through to its roaring end.

“In This Moment” and “Replace Me” are my favourite Reside songs, so it was a pleasure to have both at the end of the set (with “Replace Me” as their encore!). Clearly audible bass does something to me, so do feels-tastic vocals. Throw in a big chorus to sing along to and I’m set. I wasn’t alone in this, based on all the voices filling Cherry Bar, and it felt great to take this collective Reside-love in. All pieces of the band worked brilliantly together.

From the sweet guitar tone of its introduction onward, “Replace Me” is such a feelgood and hopeful song to me, and it was exactly this in the flesh. You kind of wouldn’t think something would be goosebumpingly optimistic and soaring with a band room collectively singing “GIVE UP, LIFE MOVES ONNN”, hey? But that’s indeed the facts. Strong and impressive, I loved every second of it and it felt like one big celebration for this band and their music, just as it should have been. Happy EP release, Reside. ❤️

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[All photos courtesy of the legendary 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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