Attending a sold out gig always has a higher bar of expectation – you want the bands to be flawless, the night to be memorable and realise you need work out a drink system with your mates or you’ll be stuck in a line for half the set. Well, Beartooth played a sold out gig at the Metro Theatre in Sydney om Saturday 13 July and let me tell you, they certainly ticked all these boxes. It was one of the most crowd participatory gigs I’ve ever attended to date.

It was clear from first setting foot in the Metro that everyone was in for a killer night, with the theatre already showing signs of it being a massive show. I was shocked at the amount of people already inside due to never experiencing the Metro so busy before a show. From this it was easy to see that the two years Sydney had waited for Beartooth’s return was too damn long of a time. The merch line had already wound its way around the floor and up the stairs past the bar! Not to mention the floor was already generously filled with eager faces who were ready for a good time.

Windwaker started off the night, entering to a decent amount of cheers for the opening band. Not wasting any time, the Melbourne five-piece went straight into their first song Reject, and the crowd didn’t waste any time either, with the pit opening up and going wild. Will King let the crowd know it was cool if they hadn’t heard of Windwaker before – all they had to was bounce to the beat in The Sitch. The crowd frothed and the pit bounced up and down to the groovy riff. Windwaker’s seamless combination of Metal, punk and rock allowed Sydney to easily get involved and moving throughout multiple points of their set.

Keen to keep Sydney’s interest, the five-piece played cult banger Freak by Silverchair, getting everybody singing and moving. The boys continued their set with more bangers off their latest EP ‘Empire,’ released early this March. Windwaker wrapped up their set with My Empire, which served serious stadium sound, and walked off the stage victorious, knowing they’d done a phenomenal job in getting the crowd warm and ready for the rest of the night.

Next up were Thornhill, another five-piece from Melbourne. The floor was already crammed with fans and the stands were packing out. Thornhill didn’t even need to try to get Sydney pumped because they were already buzzing. I find Thornhill to be an acquired taste – you either love them or hate them. This divide was easy to see at the Metro – half of Sydney were going nuts for Thornhill, while the other half busied themselves with drink and merch purchases. The five-piece blasted tracks off their EP ‘Butterfly’ including Parasite and Coven. Lavender got Sydney riled up and many fans cheered as the opening riff to this song began to play. Sydney ate it up, then spat it out, with the pit going ballistic and separating into a wall of death.

Thornhill’s alternative twist on Metalcore coated Sydney’s ears with heavy riffs and massive breakdowns – however, this meant the boys were a little busy with all the strings on their instruments and lacked physical presence, relying on front man Jacob Charlton to carry them for majority of the set. Thankfully, as their set drew to a close and the crowd became more lively, the boys started to relax and enjoy their time on stage. Finishing up with Reptile, which features an insanely spicy riff, they left Sydney ripe and ready for Beartooth.

Walking out on stage to Queen’s We will Rock You, Beartooth let Sydney know right from the get-go that they would be rocking out tonight. Slamming straight into Bad Listener, Caleb Shomo didn’t even need to bother doing his job as a vocalist, because Sydney knew all the words and were shouting them straight back in his face. Enemy got Sydney rowdy, with the pit exploding with movement – don’t get me wrong, it was jumping from the start, but now it was violent, with kids pushing, kicking and screaming to the beat. Making sure to keep the OG’s in the crowd happy, The Lines got an enamoured response, with everybody in the room moving to this track.

Connor Denis then exploded into an impressive and lengthy drum solo – Sydney was in awe at his talent and gave him a well-deserved round of applause. The rest of Beartooth joined Denis back on stage and Shomo demanded Sydney that lose their fucking minds to You Never Know, which Sydney obeyed – with everyone in the Metro going batshit crazy. “Sydney, you don’t fucking quit,” is all Shomo had to say in response to the reckoning we brought during Body Bag.

Shomo took the time to express the worry he held prior to this show – his voice was on the verge of extinction and he was wary that his performance would lead to a poor set. He was overwhelmed with the response they were getting from Sydney, saying multiple times that this was “one of the best shows of his life,” and giving Sydney a heartwarming thank you for being one of the best crowds Beartooth had ever had. Of course, this type of speech is one I’d never have a bar of, but with Shomo sounding on the verge of tears and my 28-year old mate bawling his eyes out, you could tell that this was real and heartfelt; the American band really felt at home here in Sydney.

With the mushy shit out of the way, Beartooth continued supplying the bangers, and Sydney didn’t quit giving it their all. What other song than Disease would be more perfect to conclude Beartooth’s set on the Disease Tour? Sydney went nuts, screaming and kicking to every word, demanding “one more song.” Beartooth came back out to give Sydney what they were screaming for, ending their night with their classic In Between.

Saturday night was the most crowd participatory shows I’ve ever attended in my life. I have never felt such a sense of camaraderie and belonging between a band and crowd before. Shout out to Windwaker and Thornhill for getting us all riled up for an intense headliner, and thank you to Beartooth for putting on such a crazy show. If you missed seeing the Disease Tour, then you definitely fucked up. Fingers crossed Beartooth make good on their promise to visit Australia more often because they’re a band everyone needs to experience.