CIRCLES – WINTER PROGMANIA TOUR w/ Ebonivory, Transience, M0DAL1TY & Red Lotus @ Sooki Lounge, August 2019

It’s been approximately four months since I last wrote up a gig review. I’ve legitimately had moments where I’ve felt like throwing in the towel for good including not attending local shows anymore. The last six months have been rocky to say the least. My sense of connection and importance to the local music scene has significantly diminished plus I haven’t been enjoying the last few gigs I’ve attended this year. My poor mental health, lack of motivation and low energy levels have all contributed to this. And so sadly I haven’t been out as much.

I’ve also become a lot more selective about which bands I decide to support and which venues I feel comfortable going to. The last time I attended Stay Gold in June, things really blew up in my face. For some reason, the loud and crowded club atmosphere of the venue was really making me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t stick around that long at all. Plus I felt really invisible, even with the few band members who recognised me, it wasn’t enough to leave on a positive note. I just didn’t have a good night overall.

So why do I keep doing this? Knowing that there’s a decent chance that I’m going to walk away feeling like crap again? Especially if I don’t manage to find some sort of enjoyment, social connection or feeling of appreciation? Simply because I love music and I love supporting local bands. I can’t allow my weaknesses, conditions and limitations to get in the way from living my life which includes attending local shows. Plus the Sooki Lounge is relatively close to home for me and a much more chilled out venue for me.

It felt humbling to know that people were pleased to see me even after a lengthy hibernation away from the local music scene. In a lot of ways, I don’t believe that I’ve truly left as supporting bands will always be a part of my life. And it felt good to be in a mostly positive state of mind tonight even when the venue did start to get crowded. I also didn’t feel much internal pressure to strike up conversations with every person in the room that I knew. Sometimes you just want to be left alone, to enjoy your own company and focus on watching the bands play.

RED LOTUS are a band I’ve seen a couple of times before. Some of the samples had a distinct Middle Eastern flavouring to them with heavy prog-rock riffs and breakdowns thrown into the mix.  Lead vocalist Steph shined throughout their set, showing off her wide, emotion-filled vocal range. Despite some brief technical issues with the samples, this was easily one of their strongest performances to date. Set List: Illuminate, The Furthest Shore, Symbiosis.

M0DAL1TY are a five-piece progressive rock/metal band from Melbourne. When I first listened to them, I could detect some strong influences from bands such as Karnivool, The Mars Volta and Closure in Moscow. I thought that the lead vocalist Nigel harmonised really well with backing vocalist and bassist Alicia throughout their set, balancing melodic cleans with harsh screams. Check out their latest single “Redemption” here:

TRANSIENCE are a heavy progressive rock outfit from Melbourne. The band have been established for seven years now but tonight was my first time seeing them play live. They had a relentless energy about them combining intense bass lines with passionate vocals. For some reason, they reminded me of an English based band, maybe something like Radiohead minus all the electronic stuff. Their songs were also quite lengthy and epic in scope. I enjoyed them a lot. Check out their latest single “Words” here:

EBONIVORY was the band I was most keen to see play tonight. In only four short years, the band has continued to grow and evolve from their modest beginnings in Ballarat. They combine perplexing guitar solos, vibrant electronics and jaw-dropping vocals with deeply introspective lyrics. After several lineup changes and a handful of singles dropped, they always manage to put on a live performance which is both entertaining and awe-inspiring. Tonight was no exception as the crowd seemed very impressed by their performance. Set List: Hanmer Street, A Colour I’m Blind To, Patting The Black Dog, Light The Fires.

CIRCLES are a four-piece progressive rock outfit from Melbourne. Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for their set tonight. However, you should check out their new album called “The Last One” which is available here:

“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun. And I say it’s all right.” George Harrison – Here Comes The Sun (1969)

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