Calling All Cars are one of those Australian bands that have an incredible amount of support in Melbourne, partly because they originate there, and also because they put on one hell of a show. The last big gig they played in Melbourne was the Big Day Out earlier in the year. A hair dye job, an APRA nomination, and three months later, they’re back to prove why they’re fan favourites.
The first opening act of the night, Arts Martial, were energetic if woefully received. One of the downsides of playing the first slot is that even if there is a decent crowd there, they usually aren’t interested, or drunk enough, to really get into it. Still, the Perth outfit did their best, treating their set like a headlining act.
Strangers, from Sydney, did surprisingly well. Frontman Ben Britton possesses the inherently theatrical, intense voice that just demands a stadium to fill. One of their highlights being when the band stopped playing allowing Britton to go a cappella for a full half minute.
Of course, it was the headliners everyone was waiting for, and in true Calling All Cars fashion, their set began more like a movie than a gig. Singer Hayden Ing jumped off the stage and ran through the crowd, climbing onto a platform in the middle of the room where he sang their first two songs, “Disconnect” and “No Sleep”.Their explosive energy triggered a mosh circle and it only got better from there.
Calling All Cars played good, solid rock and roll, and are incredibly rich sounding, demonstrating that a trio with the right dynamic and skill can make music just as powerful as a four or five piece. Their crowd interaction is also brilliant. One may recall the Sydney Big Day Out incident, where singer Hayden Ing was knocked out by an over-enthusiastic fan in the mosh. Apparently, when he regained consciousness in the ambulance, he begged them to turn around so he could finish the show.
From lads in singlets and backwards caps, to girls in floral dresses and suited up gents – there were a variety of fans there, showing that real music is appreciated by everyone. One of the band’s charms is that although they’re vastly talented and very much loved, at the same time they’re just “one of the guys”. The audience treats them as such – Ing received friendly slaps on the back as he ran back onstage. In addition, his antics never seemed forced or contrived. So when he threw his guitar away, or brought out a bottle of vodka and took a swig, it was all met with chants of “Scull! Scull! Scull!”
While all of the songs were met with enthusiasm, “Hold, Hold, Fire” and “Run Away” really set the audience off, as well as a rendition of McLusky’s “To Hell With Good Intentions”. Drummer James Ing was given the glory he deserved, with the audience approving of a bewilderingly brilliant drum solo.
Chasing All Cars have proven time and time again, that they are more than capable of headlining shows. Friday night’s gig simply proved it once more.
- Sharona Lin