This year is a year worthy of celebration for the boys in Shihad. Not only is it their 30th anniversary as a band, but it also sees the 20th anniversary since the release of their 1999 album ‘The General Electric.’ They’ve decided there’s no better way to celebrate than to share the love by heading out on tour across New Zealand and Australia playing all their favourite songs off their back catalogue. Saturday night also saw another treat for the Kiwi boys – they got to play a show at their absolute favourite Sydney venue, The Metro Theatre.
Sydney locals The Dead Love start off the night with their modern take on what can be described as current-day Foo Fighters meets Nirvana. Whilst the room is still far from capacity at this point in the night, they do a great job of building the energy in the room and appeared to be enjoyed by most of the early crowd. A bit of an unexpected left-turn in the latter half of their set sees the trio bring a different sound to the table, this one more reminiscent of the likes of Simple Plan. While that may sound like an interesting combination of sounds, it somehow works really well, and their performance certainly lifted the vibe in the room in preparation for the rest of the night.
Up next were enthusiastic Brisbane youngsters, Young Lions. Despite their energy and great individual playing, the early part of their set felt somewhat disconnected, seeing it only grab the attention of a small but loyal portion of the crowd. Warming up as their set continued saw them find their place together on that stage, drawing in more punters and sounding much more in-sync with each other, letting loose a bit more, and seeing vocalist Zach Britt make his way into the mosh pit multiple times.
Following a short delay, Shihad make their way onto the stage, diving headfirst into the one and only single off their 2014 release ‘FVEY’ Think You’re So Free. Proving off the bat once again why their live shows are so popular – they’ve all but sold out this entire tour – their heavy riffs, infectious high energy and absolute passion for what they do can’t help but blast you into a great mood. Pausing briefly a couple of songs in to the set to explain that not only are they going to be playing their personal favourite tracks off each album, but they were going to do it in reverse order.
Comfort Me and Run are the highlight songs of the early portion of the set, before an added bonus mid-way through the set saw them throw in five tracks off ‘The General Electric’ album to commemorate its 20 year milestone. The heavy riffs of My Mind’s Sedate manages to flick a switch in the room, increasing the energy levels tenfold, transforming the floor area into an intense mosh pit within seconds of the song starting. Classic Shihad tracks Pacifier and Home Again are without a doubt the standouts of the latter half of the set, their unmistakable passion for performing and intensely high energy levels solidify just how tight these four men are after 30 years of playing together. The beaming smiles not once leaving their faces throughout the entire 90-plus minute set confirms what we already knew – these guys absolutely love what they do, and why shouldn’t they if it makes so many other people feel so good?
A very brief encore sees them return to the stage with exactly five minutes remaining until curfew – just enough time of one more song. Their choice tonight being one of the most crowd-interactive songs of their discography, Cheap As. The heavy bass and strong riffs see the night end on an absolute high after being brought back to their latest studio release, ‘FVEY.’ Before leaving the stage, we are told “we’ll see you again next year,” a subtle reminder that they are working on their next studio album, currently scheduled for a 2019 release. Anniversary tours can often be bittersweet, but if this one proves anything, it’s that while Shihad may have 30 years behind them, they certainly still have plenty more left in the tank!
Shihad round off this tour with one last sold out show at Melbourne’s 170 Russell next Friday. They’ve also released ‘The General Electric’ on vinyl for the very first time to commemorate 20 years since its release. You can preorder it HERE if you’re in Australia, or HERE if you’re in New Zealand.