Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Halifax, Haste The Day @ Billboard, Melbourne (22/11/2008)
There was a bite to the cold Melbourne air on this Sunday night, and with reports of an energized and insatiable underage gig earlier in the afternoon, all anticipatory antennas were tweaked with great expectations. This gig was set up to be such a big bill of bands performing, citing such big post- hardcore names as Halifax and Haste the Day from the US, closer to home it was Melbourne locals Closure in Moscow who were up first.
To a flurry of my own disappointment, these guys played before I had arrived to a desolate standing area. Young, impish guys no more than nineteen years old populated what appeared quite a dismal turn out. It was Sunday after all, and it became apparent that it was either back to work or school for these kids on Monday morning, so not many bothered to enthuse themselves, even after several trips to the bar. Halifax were not impressed by the crowd’s lacklustre turnout and general apathy, and so Chris Brandt retorted with sarcasm “you guys are energetic and packed with enthusiasm tonight!” He then offered a vaguely good idea, “drink some more booze and we will sound better”.
The front row consists of a group of kids a mere two rows deep. Finally, as the set closes up, some young guns come bounding down to the standing floor, bumping and jumping in a short lived attempt to pump things up, however, it was great to see these guys enjoying themselves well throughout the gig. It was almost with a sigh that Chris Brandt commented “This is the last song on this tour, we love you, thank you very much”. With his Iron Maiden shirt proudly worn, it was his wicked solos that engaged us the most, intent on leaving all with a lasting impression, despite a lack of intensity.
With their set now over, My Mind’s Sedate by Shihad picked up over the speakers. It was almost a standoffish crowd, not something Australians are known for. “The under eighteens killed you on that one retorts vocalist Brennan Chaulk, and it was with a wild thrashing and maniacal presence that Haste the Day took up the stage like wild animals. Brennan grabs the microphone and demands “let’s have some fun tonight!” This is what it’s all about, you can’t expect people to be enthused for little reason, this band knew they had to outperform and pretty much ram chaos and wild bursts of mayhem down throats and in faces to get a reaction. This standing room assembly gravitated to them like wild fire to a dry bush. The new song called Mad Man played and it entailed a kind of unified majesty, now, the fire was lit, but could they keep it ablaze?
Chris Brandt of Halifax looked on from above and behind glass, beer in hand, while Brennan lets it be known that they are a Christian band, to a slight murmur of disapproval after his announcement. I had de ja vu from such performances as UnderOath. “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” he shouts, as several souls scattered about the venue softly reciprocate the call. Half hour sets never seem long enough, especially from a wild and exciting band such as this, and Brennan shouts “this is your last chance, so sing it!” And thus ends a highly exuberant performance. It is eleven thirty and the ear drums are ringing insanely, the humidity grows like a growling dog on heat as Photograph by Van Halen becomes a pre-cursor to Scary Kids Scaring Kids, amid warm up riffs and peculiarly, Butterfly Effect’s Always.
A loud “Woo!” goes up and the ‘symphony’ as they are dubbed, rise to their spots. A lead of synth has the crowd at seven rows deep while the kids jump and squeal, could you hope for more from Scary Kids Scaring Kids? My Darkest Hour goes off and The Deep End precedes the next song featuring a mesmeric intro called A Pistol To My Temple that adds to their anticipated set-list. “You guys are absolutely amazing. This is our last night in Australia, so we will all be getting drunk, you are more than welcome to join us” Tyson Stevens comments. A Breath Of Sunshine becomes ascension of chaos and uplifting musician ship that is like a bright wall of sound. The next track is Degenerates, one that intensifies as a crazy pit forms. “You guys have a wonderful night, thank you so much” the very vocal Pouyan Afkary exclaims. An abrupt mock goodbye has most still glued to their spots, they come back, and SKSK play on announcing “this song is called Faces”.
The atmosphere was stale and mostly uncomfortable to put it nicely, but Scary Kids made the night seem like a proper gig with their abilities to uplift and elate. A word of advice, if you are to see your favourite band, try not to make it on a bitter Sunday night, when even most of the young patrons can appear as though they are jaded thirty- somethings, that is unless you ply them with alcohol and put the headline act on straight away.