Live Review: Trophy Eyes and friends close a memorable tour with flair and style in Melbourne

It was a big night for any music loving Melbournian on Saturday as Trophy Eyes completed their national tour for the release of their The American Dream album.

The band, who have been in the middle of a genre shift over the course of the past couple of years seemed to have completed it through the writing of the album, shifting away from the somewhat hardcore sounds of their first album and moving towards more punk stylings with their more recent releases. The openers throughout the tour reflected this, with the band of mates; STUMPS, Maddy Jane and Dear Seattle all joining Trophy Eyes to close out what has been a mammoth tour for the band.

With such heavy time pressure throughout the sets, having three openers meant that STUMPS were cursed with an unfortunately short set. Yet, the band made the best of it, playing a short set of their best known tracks. The twenty minute set included most of the work off of STUMPS’ EP, Just Another Stay At Home Son, with “This Home Is Mine”, “We’ll Do It Anyway” and “Piggyback” all starring the setlist.

While punk rock may not be viewed as Maddy Jane’s scene, her and the band revved the energy up as the second opener on Saturday. The live performance has come a long way, with the full band built around her, Maddy and co were able to put on quite the rock show while still displaying the punchy songwriting and emotive character well known through her works.

Maddy’s EP; Not Human At All featured heavily in her set but the live experience gave it that added pep. “Thank You and Sorry”, with the upbeat new release “The Other Day” helping to highlight a set full of fun rock moments, exciting solos and Maddy’s well known punchy sound. Her set closed on “No Other Way”, Maddy’s breakout single release of 2017. It felt like a wonderful round circle for her to be playing the track, after everything that Maddy had grown into, standing on the stage that she will one day hopefully headline herself.

Dear Seattle were the main opener for the evening, mates of Trophy Eyes, the band created the platform necessary to spark the energy leading into the later stages of the evening. Dear Seattle work so well together, the band’s synchronisation and friendship making them a true force on the stage. It’s easy to tell they were having fun on Saturday night as Bray and co powered their way through an exciting set. The set was made up mostly from the tracks settled on their self titled EP released in late 2017; as well as a couple of new tracks including this year’s release, “Maybe” and another currently unnamed track.

“Concrete” and “Quiet” helped build in some of the heavier sounds for Dear Seattle’s set, with the latters “Fuck It I’m Leaving” breakdown into the breadth of the song leaving a strong mark on the audience. As usual though, Dear Seattle’s impact came through in the form of “The Meadows” the band’s initial single entry into the Australian music scene with it’s relatable “Fuck being sad/I’m so over it” line eliciting a strong response from the crowd.

The closing song of their set also had a powerful impact, bringing one of the larger singalongs of the night along with it, “Afterthought; the band’s leading single heading out of the release of their EP finished their set off as the “Nothing/I’m Nothing” group vocals echoed through the Forum Melbourne with the band and the crowd singing along.

Trophy Eyes’ set was more than just a live performance, but a theatrical experience with the lighting, and atmosphere all coming together to create the perfect night for the band to finish the tour. The lead singer for Trophy Eyes, John, was especially energetic, dancing his way through most of the set, and graciously thanking the band’s fans and supporters multiple times throughout the night. The band’s eighteen track set list kept on giving as the crowd went ballistic for the band’s long swath of tracks.

For fans of Trophy Eyes’ early work though, there was something missing, with their entry album Mend, Move On not featuring on the setlist. Instead their sophomore album, Chemical Miracle played a larger role, whilst the bulk of the list Was made up of songs from the most recent release The American Dream.

The set began off the back of “A Cotton Candy Sky”, with the slow moody track setting up a brilliant, deep atmosphere to slowly work in the band’s energetic punk musings. The band dived into “Lavender Bay”, before launching themselves into “More Like You” and “Broken”, all three representing The American Dream.

The big tracks, “Chlorine”, the moody “Hurt”, “Friday Forever” and  Trophy Eyes’ lead up to the album “You Can Count On Me” all built into the setlist at different stages. While all of these tracks made the expected impact, it was some of the quieter moments, the tender acoustic “A Symphony Of Crickets” with only John and his acoustic guitar becoming the centrepiece of the stage, that really hit home. The lighting and atmosphere followed suit, giving itself a break to allow John a chance to perform one of the more emotive tracks while letting the crowd have a breathe of fresh air before more moshing and rock followed suit.

The final track, “I Can Feel It Calling”, worked the last strain of energy out of the crowd as the crowd surfers, moshers and revelrous fans all coming together for the final act. The track which also closes out The American Dream with the symphonic ending to the track; and evening being highlighted by rhythm guitarist Kevin Cross thundering one of his tour guitars onto the stage, trashing the instrument and ending the tour with all the rockstar flair it deserved.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

This marked the end of Trophy Eyes’ Australian tour. They kick off their US tour on November 15th. For more about Trophy Eyes, head to their Facebook Page.

The reviewer attended the show on 20th October 2018 at The Forum in Melbourne.

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