The Living End ‘Roll On’ @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (16/12/2012)

The Living End are positively mad. In celebration of their longevity as a one of Melbourne’s most iconic rock acts, they decided to play not one, but all of their albums in full. For the home town crowds (and just to demonstrate how keen they are) a few encore shows were added to the pile, including an additional run through of their break-out record Roll On. Smashing the Corner Hotel record for most sold-out shows in one tour, it was obvious how much love there is for the local trio; both from the diehards forking out the big bucks for the full six-show ticket and those wanting to relive just a small piece of The Living End’s catalogue.

With a swag of rotating support acts to keep things varied for those hitting multiple shows, the Sunday night Corner crowd was treated to the so-hot-right-now rock work of Kingswood. Quick to make an impression, Kingswood blasted out a few numbers before even acknowledging that a sizeable crowd had gathered for a gander. Singer Fergus Linacre’s voice was in sublime form, with sharp screeches and soulful wailing complementing his more melodic talents. Linacre complemented the band, whose sound resembled a kind of Soundgarden-meets-Queens of the Stone Age aesthetic.

After a lengthy wait and eventually a deafening ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ signaling the end of the DJ set, Roll On was introduced to the crowd. It was obvious from the video that preceded the show that the next hour would be a true celebration of what the 14 tracks represented for the band at the time they were fresh from the studio; the highs (their breakthrough into an international market) and the lows (the departure of Travis Dempsey on drums and Chris Cheney’s life-altering car accident).

“A show for old fans that could have easily won over a room of new fans.”

Knowing this was to be a track-by- track run through, there was a level of predictability to the night’s proceedings, but this didn’t take away from the buzz in the room. The biggest song on the record, ‘Roll On’ set the bar high for the evening (on stage and off) and showed the band still had plenty of drive left in them, even as they approach the tail end of this tour.

“Hope you’ve been to church, ‘cause we are here to worship the devil’s music!” Chris Cheney gives a fitting introduction for a Sunday night performance before the band launched into rarely heard songs like ‘Riot on Broadway’ and ‘Staring at the Light.’ For an album with only one really notable single, the tracks together made for a really varied and winning set; from the racing rockabilly riffs of ‘Carry Me Home’ to the surf-tinge on ‘Don’t Shut The Gate’ (a song still just as lyrically appropriate 12 years on), through to the reggae verses of ‘Blood On Your Hands’ and pub-rock parody ‘Uncle Harry’ (the winner of the evening, no less).

There were a few additions thrown in along the way to bulk the night out, starting with an onstage proposal from a couple of old fans (she said “yes”); bits and pieces of crowd banter made more genuine with the smaller venue size; and a few covers thrown in – including rock classics from Queen, Eddie Cochran and Stray Cats ‘Rock This Town.’ Riffs and laughs aplenty throughout, The Living End produced the full entertainment package; a show for old fans that could have easily won over a room of new fans.