To start things off, this idea is one million percent taken from my dearest friend, Tyneesha, however, I do promise you’ll get something different out of this. Such as the amount of times I spend crying at gigs. I need to start a tally.
I have been going to live music shows since I was 12-13-ish, and while so many I would never even imagine piling into this post, and so many that I’m ashamed to have even seen such terrible people, sprinkled in between those and the allegations are some of the most euphoric moments of individual existence. That paired with a daunting opinionated personality right down to the venue, the time of year – I’m looking at you The Big Top in the middle of Australian Summer, hand me that free water – and crowd, I have complied this list of moments I deem favourable.
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
In 2017, Motionless In White released their Graveyard Shift album in May and followed that up with an Australian tour in the Summer. I had more than one show to go to within a three-day period at this time, and considering the fact I was a minor and lived rurally, I went all out for this show. I had this mental list of songs I needed to hear, was on my knees begging, and outstandingly all but two were met in those hours. Plus I was attending this gig with some of my best friends, as well as being the start of shows my parents were allowing me to attend without an adult present. Crown The Empire opened for this show, which was a comedic additive to the night. I brought one of my favourite pieces of merch that night, and it’s still holding up with only slight fading in 2023! Afterwards, I ate the most terrible Hungry Jacks meal and have never eaten there again since, which really pushes this memory up.
I am not going in any sort of order here, but this gig was after the first wave of Covid-19 lockdowns, and it was going to be my first entry back into shows, and at my University too, so I was over the moon. Plus this tour was more than just an average “let’s play some songs” gig, with the band rightfully naming this tour ‘We Need To Talk’ where it was more about connecting, telling stories, and singing. As a die-hard Trophy Eyes fan this was a beautiful experience, something I haven’t ever experienced again and probably won’t. Coincidentally, I went to this show with the same friends as the one above. I was fairly drunk, but so was the band by the end of it. It was like hanging out with friends who happen to also be singing some tunes you cried to last week. To me, there really is something about being in a crowded room full of American Trad tattoos, old-school Vans, and beer that makes me think pure happiness is achievable. I think I even cried during this show. I also nearly had to sleep at the train station that night after the drivers went on strike, which certainly was eventful.
That second gig I had the same week as Motionless In White I mentioned? Well, Hellions opened, and there is something to be said about an opener who can really play to a crowd that quite literally is not there for them. To be fair I wasn’t there for the main band either since I was only there for a friend as a buddy. Hellions have had a little place in my heart of Aussie bands for years, and I can pinpoint this show as the reason they stuck with me. I love energy, I love movement, and nothing apart of their set was a dull moment. I really hate the venue that this took place in like it is pure hatred, and the fact this whole experience has made it onto this list despite that? Incredible. There is also something to be said about an artist who can really play in a terrible spot, too.
THE STORY SO FAR
Now, this list isn’t in any numbered first-to-last order or anything, but if it were this would be a contender for that top shot. This set was only a month ago during a festival, a festival I realistically only attended for them. My bank account cried a bit, but every broke Uni student penny counted for this moment was life-changing. For context, I had desired to attend their previous Aus tour, however, was unable to due to unfortunate events and I sobbed into my partner at the time’s arms about the Instagram stories on my feed. So when I fought through two, possibly three I can’t remember, different sets of bands to get a centre barricade spot just for them I was either achieving that or dying. I have never been as happy as I was during their set. This was a top moment of my lifetime. I did miss a crowd surfer coming towards me during ‘Keep This Up’ – my fault! 100% on me! – and have a large man slam my head into the barricade bar and sit on me. Security couldn’t even get him off me for ages, and when he finally rolled off, nearly taking me over with him, everyone was insisting I go to the medical tent. Did I? No, I paid hundreds of dollars to be here I wasn’t leaving. It did result in a concussion, and a massive right side of the face bruise for a week but I meant it when I said you would have to drag me out dead to get me to leave. One of the most memorable parts of this was the fact I stood there for 20 minutes afterwards and cried. The crowd had left to go see Deftones and later Bring Me The Horizon, but I was a mess. My friend had to come to collect me. This was one of the happiest moments of my entire life, I screamed every song, I threw myself into it all and wouldn’t change it.
During the same festival as above, the only other real dire need was to see Thornhill in the morning. I love them so much. I cannot even put in words how much. There is just something about them and their music that shifts me somewhere else. My friend hadn’t heard their stuff before and afterwards, mentioned how good they were, and how they should be listening to them. I managed to hackle my way of getting a setlist too! Cue it being one of my most prized possessions now. The crowd was so fun here, especially since they were one of the first bands on the line-up to play stage four. We were all fresh-faced, a couple of vodka Redbull’s in, full of buzzing electricity. Which, to be fair, is the way I would describe not only their performances, but also their style. It was so hot during their set, I was basically melting, but alas nothing was stopping me and I was moshing around, letting loose, and yelling to some of my favourite songs.
During another favourite live music event that will be mentioned soon, Waax was an opener. There is something special about only a handful of people in the front end of a crowd that knows a band. I was so hyped when a lot of people were so dead. I was singing, I was moving, and I was the centre barricade for this event by chance too. Maz – the love of my life – was so interactive during this show. There was this moment down from the stage where she held my hand and sang to me. I was losing my mind. The number of times I got to be sung at considering how dead the rest of the crowd was from their lack of knowledge was butterfly-inducing. I mentioned it above about how there is something to be said about openers who can really play to a crowd that mostly is not there for them. I’ve seen many that get a bit overwhelmed, which is completely valid and understandable. You don’t start being confident you grow into it. That being said, when you see a band that just takes an opening spot by storm its incredibly rememberable, just like Waax here. At the end of the show, their lovely drummer handed me a setlist. I was yelling, and I still had so much more of this night to go…
THE AMITY AFFLICTION
…Such as The Amity Affliction. I wrote a whole piece on this gig here, after waiting for rescheduling and Covid restrictions for it. I had met them a few years prior too. I even got to see them again a few months later at Good Things Festival 2022, which was the same setlist besides their latest release, and not as fun since I went down in the mosh and feared for my life. But this night? Already off to an outstanding start as mentioned. This was my first gig with fire effects, which was fabulous, I loved that detail. The thing with Amity shows, and a lot of metal is that it’s basically a push-and-no-shove game. The objective is to crush each other, to be suffocated, and it doesn’t sound nice but it’s the most fun. The important part of it is how the crowd is with taking care of each other, and every time I have seen Amity, whether I survived or tumbled down, I am taken cared of. The setlist was nicely packed with different eras, people standing on the crowd, nudity, and a community. I ate the most diabolical Macca’s meal before a train and Uber home while in complete and utter dissociation.
BRING ME THE HORIZON
This is one of my favourite moments in live music because of how different it was from most. Again, it was at a festival, but it was a set I witnessed will no stress, far away from the stage in a field of complete strangers who banded together to sit, stand, and softly sing at sunset. Compared to the high-demand pit, or any close vantage point to see Bring Me The Horizon headline a festival in Australia that was vicious, potent and loud, the far back was full of quiet, tired, and totally euphoric individuals. I tend to be a pit person unless I’m super into an artist and head for that barricade spot because I love being hyper, intense, and rowdy. That’s my thing, and this was so unlike that, and myself, that it booted this experience towards the top. Not to mention, as many people have brought up, this festival had some sound issues. Which I’m not here to complain about it, these things can happen, but strangely enough, it somehow made parts of this set better. What I mean by that is it’s Bring Me The Horizon, everyone knows their songs, so in those moments of sound difficulties, all that surrounded us was the voices of hundreds of people who didn’t need anything to keep them in time, tune, or place. It’s that kind of thing you think about as a pre-teen emo, where lyrics mean more to you than your English paper, and standing with the like-minded belting your heart out to ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ and ‘Drown’ is a dream. It was a dream. Plus, it is so contradictory to say I had a soft and gentle time seeing this band, the band known and loved for a divine aggression.
To conclude, there have been many shows, gigs, and events I have been to in the near ten years – I can’t believe I just typed that? It’s ageing me – of live music that has a place in my heart that isn’t on this list. Because, as much as an artist can mean to you at the time, no one in the emo-alternative sphere has been safe from said artists. I hate knowing I’ve spent money, and met certain people, who have abused their positions of power to take advantage of minors, and fans. I want to note it though, I think it’s important, and I want to make it clear that a lot of these are more recent sets because of this. It sucks, it’s hurtful, and I’m exhausted of it to be fair.
Besides that downward turn there, there will always be live music in my life, so I am sure this list will probably be outdated in a year or two. Which I think is part of the joy of it. Music is ever-changing, gigs are too, and so am I. One day I might look back on any of these and think “yeah, it happened”, instead of “yeah, that happened!”. We’ll see, I’m sure I’ll let you know.
As Always, Love,