I never thought I’d see myself back at BANG! again especially after all the bad experiences I’ve had there in the past. From being socially excluded to trying my hardest to be a Destroy All Lines promoter (and failing to connect with the other elitist hosts) to rude security guards on power trips, things didn’t really end on a positive note for me. I also was finding that the loud nightclub vibes inside the venue just weren’t aligning with my own! I just didn’t fit the mould of most people who attended BANG! (extroverts, party animals, millennials, smokers, obnoxious drunk people, superficial people with huge egos). Plus I am getting older!
Now at 33 (and turning 34 very soon), going out to night clubs isn’t high on my priority list these days! In fact, I’m usually ready for bed by 9.30pm. Plus I’ve also had significant health issues from depression and anxiety to fatigue and insomnia. All of the things pose a threat to me continuing to attend local gigs especially late at night! I’ve literally had to use stimulants such as caffeine and pre-workout supplements as a crutch just to stay alert and not doze off into the evening.
So when this show came along, I was initially hesitant especially when I saw that the doors would be opening at 10pm. How on Earth was I going to stay awake and focused until then let alone when I got inside the venue? This week I had the double whammy of deciding to stop taking my prescription sleep medication due to increased side effects and dependency.
Plus my roster at work has recently changed to early starts on Sunday and Monday as well as afternoon starts on Tuesday and Wednesday! I’ve also had a fairly hectic schedule with grocery shopping, cooking, housework, appointments with my OT, support worker and counselor and gym sessions to fit in too. That’s a lot of stuff to adjust to in one week but I was determined to persevere and push through the struggles and the sleep deprivation.
I chose to come out to BANG! again tonight partly because I wanted to support the bands playing (It’s a pretty stacked lineup). But also because my social life has significantly suffered lately. Namely, I miss hanging out with friends and band mates. I truly do! I’m learning to take more chances in life because holding back just leads to disappointment and regret. Maybe I will have a good time tonight. There’s only one sure way of finding out.
After my boxing class with CinFull Fitness, I made my way down to Jordanville station to catch the train into the city. Thankfully the class actually gave me a much needed boost of energy and stamina. Lining up outside the venue with the usual riff-raff, we didn’t get inside until quarter past 10. Then we were forced to wait inside the beer garden area until they were ready to open the main bar area. It honestly felt like being herded in a cattle pen and it was slightly uncomfortable until I met up with my friend Jordy Shore. It was nice to have someone to break the ice with.
One of the biggest things that continues to annoy me about BANG! is that they never run on time and tonight was no exception! Heartline were meant to start at 10:15pm but got pushed back to around 10:30pm. Of course some people would see that 15 minute delay and think “big deal” but it’s difficult when you have to rely on public transport to get yourself back home safely. Plus I’ve always been a very structured person and that includes keeping to a schedule and being conscious of what the time is.
Once we got inside the main bar area, my worries seemed to deflate and I actually felt pretty chilled out for once. My brain was still in sensory overload mode though, taking in the emerald green chandeliers with forest-like foliage hanging from the ceiling and the crowd of familiar face. I was positively buzzing when it came to meeting all my friends and band mates. I’ve really missed them all so much!
I’ve never found it easy to stand out in a crowd so I have to rely on making eye contact and finding the right moments to speak up. My anxious thoughts always tries to derail moments like these “Don’t interrupt anyone! You don’t want to piss anyone off!” Of course when it comes to local gigs, musicians are always busy and therefore the “perfect” opportunity to say hello to them simply doesn’t exist. I had to be brave enough to JUST DO IT, just put myself out there and I did it.
Honestly the vibes tonight were so friendly and positive that all my past perceptions and bad experiences about BANG! seemed to dissipate into the background. I was legitimately surprised that I was actually having a good time tonight but I was also very glad that I was. I really needed this. I guess I’m growing to like this venue again and that is saying something.
HEARTLINE…This was the band that I was most giddy to see perform live! I’ve been supporting this Melodic Metalcore band from Adelaide, South Australia since the middle of last year and tonight was their first ever show in Melbourne. Their stage presence was majestic, confident engaging and passionate. Frontman Luke Taylor did an awesome job getting the crowd pumped up and they were equally as excited to participate. They simply blew my socks off tonight and I was super proud of them all for finally breaking into the Melbourne scene! Set List: Twenty Two, Crystal Eyes, Weightless, Essence, Covert. https://music.apple.com/us/album/essence-ep/1478821238
TAPESTRY…Formerly from Darwin and now relocated to Melbourne, this five-piece Melodic Hardcore band just never seems to disappoint. They are lovely and humble musicians with supreme talent and high quality songwriting. The band played tracks from their 2018 EP “Ghost of Me” for the final time tonight plus a few other surprises for older fans. The audience was immediately captivated, singing along to many of their songs. Eventually frontman Tom Devine-Harrison launched himself into the crowd of people near the stage, making a physical and personal connection with them. They were amazing! Set List: Ghost, Ember, Dark Shade, Retrospect. https://music.apple.com/us/album/ghost-of-me/1353365058
WINDWAKER…Even though their set was on really late (they didn’t start until 12:15am), I was determined to stick around for one of my favourite Melbourne-based Alternative Heavy Melodic Hardcore outfits. I was stoked that they managed to draw such a moderately large crowd for their headlining show tonight. They poured their hearts out in this 45 minute performance, covering both their “Fade” and “Empire” EP’s for the final time tonight. Frontman Will King was as passionate and inspiring as ever with a beautiful vocal delivery and a confident stage presence. He won the crowd over very easily and it was good to see the band send it tonight! Set List: My Empire, The Destroyer, Castaway, Arrested, Grey World, The Sitch, New Infinite, Bring Me The Horizon medley. https://music.apple.com/au/album/empire-ep/1448666181