Live Review: SAVIOUR w/ OCEAN GROVE & AMBLESIDE @ Arrow On Swanston

Live Review: SAVIOUR w/ OCEAN GROVE & AMBLESIDE @ Arrow On Swanston

Written by Nick Dominko

So, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Perth metalcore quintet Saviour have reformed after a long hiatus. Exactly how long is a ‘long’ hiatus, anyway? Well, apparently it seems to be around the 12 month mark. Either way, they’re back, and this tour was booked to showcase the band’s history before they move on to a (presumably) new sound, one which will incorporate the likes of long time collaborator, Shontay Snow. That’s all well and good, but was it a good gig?

As I descended into the dark and phone signal-swallowing abyss that is Arrow On Swanston, I was immediately greeted with a guy asking me to take a photo of him with Saviour frontman, Bryant Best. After that pit stop, it was straight into the smaller room which backs onto the larger main room. Within minutes, local hardcore band Dregg began their set. Whilst you could call them an odd fit for the bill, they certainly got a couple of people moving, courtesy of their almost hip-hop influenced take on 90’s hardcore. Their bassist spent the entire set with his head covered in what looked like a white t-shirt, and before the last song, he stood staring at the crowd whilst the guitarists created feedback by messing around with their pedals. Ominous. But then they did it again, one song later, to close the set. I think you may need to trim down the ‘pedal feedback whilst the bassist looks at the audience ominously’ section to maybe only once a set, otherwise overall it was good. Speaking of obvious hip-hop influence in heavy music, next up was another local, Earthcaller. Now, I will admit I’m not a big fan of these guys, but they did actually put on a good show. They were definitely a lot better to watch live than I’d previously imagined, my only real gripes was with Josh’s stage banter being a little cringey at times, and also how he seemed to run out of breath easily. I’m still not won over yet, but we’ll see if that changes the next time I see them.

Once the locals had finished, it was time for the bands on the main tour package to begin. The first of these was Ambleside. I can’t say I imagined an aggressive pop-punk band would go down well with a crowd who had come to see heavier bands, but I was taken aback. There were a lot of mic grabs, stage dives, and a fair bit of crowd surfing. Even a cover of Good Charlotte‘s ‘The Anthem’ went over very well (god, remember when that band wasn’t completely awful?).

As soon as Ocean Grove kicked into their set with ‘I Told You To Smile’, it once again became very apparent why this band has received such a great reputation from their live shows. The intensity really stepped up crowd-wise, with the band relying on tracks from their stellar Black Label EP. My only gripe was the absence of Dale Tanner, which left the band lacking a little in terms of backing vocals, but it didn’t detract from the show whatsoever. Be sure to keep an eye on these guys over the next year or so if these recent live shows are anything to go by.

And finally, we have Perth’s very own Saviour. This being their first tour back, I expected a little rust, but the band powered through their 45 minute set without any real issues to speak of. Well, apart from these two things. As I mentioned, Shontay Snow was present at the gig, but did not sing with the band, despite recently being officially made a member. While I understand she did not sing on every Saviour track, it would’ve been nice to see her jump up to sing ‘Jaded’ at the very least, rather than stand on a chair and watch the band play with her pre-recorded vocals on a track and take some sort of video of the crowd. Honestly, it looked kind of awkward. Secondly, they didn’t play their newest track ‘Lovers’. I think this is indicative of the fact that the band will definitely be moving more in that direction, and as Bryant said at the beginning of the set, the tour and set list was built around celebrating their older tracks. So who knows, this may be the last time we see Saviour play ‘Vomit’ live. At least until they break up and reform again, right?

Live Review: SAVIOUR w/ OCEAN GROVE & AMBLESIDE @ Arrow On Swanston
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