Kelsey Trevan

Melbourne is well known for being one of the best live music cities in the world, and Saturday night was no exception. Hometown prog metal legends Circles played to a rowdy, excited crowd at Max Watts with fellow Melbournians caution:thieves and Rival Fire, as well as Ballarat’s Ebonivory. The bitter cold and wet that Melbourne is experiencing at the moment seemed eerily appropriate given the name of the tour, but it didn’t matter because the crowd were hot!

First up was caution:thieves, a five-piece post-hardcore outfit. Music fans in Melbourne are well known for coming down early to support each band on the bill and tonight was no exception. Although people started at the back of the room, by the time their set was halfway through they’d moved closer to the stage. Musically, caution:thieves are extremely tight and sound amazing and a lot of their set involved the members feeding off each other’s energy and it was obvious that they were having a great time. Just before they played their final song, Standing Room, the lead single from their forthcoming album, ’The Blueprint Moving Forward’, the band thanked everyone for coming out early and supporting them, as well as thanking all three of the other bands on the bill.

Next up to play was Ebonivory, a five-piece, energetic, fun fusion of alt-rock, prog, and post-hardcore band from Ballarat in country Victoria. Quick mention for vocalist Charlie Powlett’s pants, which were a lovely floral design! The energy was there right from the start and the country boys bought their particular brand of music to the crowd in a big way. Their tracks are full of funky bass lines, great guitar licks, and some awesome vocal hooks. Drummer Dave Parkes suffered some minor cymbal malfunctions a few times at the beginning of their set but his drum tech was there to fix it quickly and he kept on playing regardless. The audience definitely seemed to be enjoying themselves and Charlie was really intent on giving them a show. One look at Ebonivory on stage last night showed nothing but smiles and everyone had a great time.

Rival Fire were up next and they were very aware of, and acknowledged the fact that they were the most different band on the bill and I’d have to agree. They’re a four-piece alt-rock outfit from Melbourne and they were bringing all of the dance vibes. The moshpit quickly turned into a dance floor, which was awesome to see, and everyone was getting amongst it and breaking out their best dorky dad dance moves. Vocalist Rob Farnham, and yes, he is related to the Farnham you’re thinking off has a fantastic presence on stage and politely laughed off the heckles from the crowd to sing You’re The Voice. He and his bandmates also had a bit of banter on stage about their upcoming album, which they would only tell us would be coming “towards the end of the year” and involved some good natured ribbing of their bassist Zac Connelly. They played their single Riot which really got people in the mood for dancing and played a great set.

With the crowd sufficiently warmed by three fantastic support bands it was now time for the hometown heroes to take to the Max Watts stage. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ben Rechter, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Ted Furuhashi, bassist and screaming vocalist Drew Patton, and drummer David Hunter were ON from the moment they stepped on stage. Ted has an interesting way of playing guitar and showed off his impressive shredding skills throughout the bands set and is a bundle of uncontrollable epic energy. Uncontrollable energy is not limited just to Ted as Ben, David and Drew all have their fair share of it and all four members feed off each other. The energy was also high in the crowd and unfortunately, halfway through the set, Circles were forced to stop while a patron was attended to after being knocked out. The venue staff, band, and then paramedics were extremely professional in their handling of the situation and the patron was alert and conscious as he was stretchered out. As all this was happening, Drew took a moment to tell everyone to look after each other in the mosh pit.

The band retook the stage after the patron was looked after and although it as a little weird to begin with, the weirdness ebbed away by the end of the first song. There was nothing but good times being had by the band and by the audience and the energy that caution:thieves, Ebonivory and Rival Fire started just kept going and building. Before they played Winter, Ben took a moment to say that it wasn’t only the name of the tour but a name of one of their songs too. They finished their set with Tether, but were barely gone for a minute before the crowd were asking for an encore and they came back to play Ground Shift to wrap up the night. Ben thanked all of the bands for playing, as well as all the fans for sticking around and for coming out to support them. Circles always put on a fantastic show and Saturday night was no exception. It’s always awesome to see when a band are genuinely enjoying themselves on stage, and when the band are having a great time the audience has a great time.

If you get the chance to see Circles on The Winter tour, make sure you do!

You can still catch Circles on The Winter Tour – tickets and dates HERE.