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Balance & Composure put on a show for fans new and old at their Melbourne show

Taking to the stage in a hail of hair flicks and spin kicks, Newcastle’s Introvert wasted no time capturing attention. Introverted, this band is not. Singer/guitarist Audie Franks has a killer scream and I’m sure there was some great songs in there but any integrity the band has was undermined by the phony The Story So Far-esque punk jumps, kicks, thrusts and spins (including the drummer at one point) that were unrelenting to the point of distraction.
 
Sydney’s Oslow was the antithesis. Intelligent songwriting, skilful musicianship and a truly honest performance. After a quick Acknowledgement of Country, the band treated the crowd to a few choice cuts from their recently released debut self-titled album. Oslow has honed a really unique sound for themselves over the years which is difficult to describe but is wholly their own. Groove-laden-melancholy-noodly-emo? Album single Cold Dark Space got the previously stock-still crowd singing along with hands high in the air. After a criminally short set, it was easy to see why Resist Records picked these guys up – Oslow is definitely a band to watch.
 
It’s been just under three years since Balance & Composure last visited our shores and a lot has changed in the interim. The band now blends their signature punk-rock-wall-of-sound with electronic drums, samples and falsetto vocal drenched in effects into a much more mature and considered sound. It’s not a massive departure and is a similar progression to a number of their contemporaries such as Touché Amore and Pianos Become The Teeth, however it seems to be one that may have divided their following.
 
As the set unfolded pockets of the room lit up for newer material and others for the older, more energetic tracks. In addition, the band themselves seemed to have lost enthusiasm for older songs like Void, Quake and Tiny Raindrop.
 
The set was a healthy and generous mix of all three albums – their most recent release Light We Made as well as The Things We Think We’re Missing and Separation – so there was a lot to enjoy for fans both old and new.  The band cleverly arranged the set with an ebb and flow from slower, groovier material to heavier sing-a-longs and at around the halfway mark they really started to take it up a notch. Tracks like For A Walk and When I Come Undone got the crowd moving and by the end of the set there was a bona-fide moshpit complete with crowd surfers. 
 
By Ryan Shields
 
Highlight – Oslow’s Acknowledgement Of Country. This should be a staple part of every show.
Lowlight – Nothing.  
Crowd Favourite – I Tore You Apart In My Head