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Caligula’s Horse stormed through Max Watt's for a big night of prog

Introducing ‘Rust’, Grey showcased his ever-apparent sass by calling the crowd nerds for caring more about a prog gig than the AFL Grand Final when he asked if there were any happy Tigers fans in the crowd. 

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Image source: 
David Harris

Set for a big night of prog, Branch Arterial kicked it off with a set filled with long headbanging instrumentals, sexy shredding guitars and vocal screams that carried. They didn’t interact with the crowd much, but did mention the Tigers win, getting some cheers from happy audience members.
 
I Built The Sky, a three-piece instrumental band from Melbourne, came out on a smoky stage one member at a time. Being an instrumental band, guitar solos spoke to the crowd instead of a vocal melody. What could you expect from a band where the lead guitarist is wearing a shirt that says “Gangsta rap made me do it”? A set filled with shredding guitars, heavy drums and bass and the ultimate headbangers.
 
Caligula’s Horse started their set tamely, with the tune carrying into their second song – which was cruisy and peaceful but never losing any power. The band was constantly soaking up the vibes that were being shared between them and the audience during instrumental breakdowns in songs.
 
Caligula’s Horse played‘The City Has No Empathy’ and ‘Firelight’, in which Grey told a funny story about a fan who told him that they’d found an Israeli princess when they performed the song in Perth. Grey stating that the song is a romantic one said, “So if you can keep your tongues out of each other’s mouths for long enough, sing the words.” It was definitely a highlight. Playing a series of songs from their previous albums, ‘Dragonfly’ was one that lead singer Grey said they hadn’t performed live before and it went down well, as people in the crowd sang and danced along.  
 
Introducing ‘Rust’, Grey showcased his ever-apparent sass by calling the crowd nerds for caring more about a prog gig than the AFL Grand Final when he asked if there were any happy Tigers fans in the crowd. By this stage everyone was totally invested in the band and atmosphere, making ‘Rust’ a definite highlight and earning the heaviest mosh and biggest pit circles of the night.
 
Caligula’s Horse closed the main part of their set with a storming rendition of ‘Dark Hair Down, saying goodbye to the audience before walking off stage. The crowd were eager for more and Caligula’s Horse were happy to oblige, delivering a strong performance of ‘Inertia and the Weapon of the Wall’ – an enraged monologue poem – with the crowd joining in and shouting out the last words of the piece. Ending on a soft but high note, the band performed two more songs, finishing the night with beautiful title track ‘Bloom’, from their 2015 LP.
 
Highlight: Getting to witness Jim Grey’s funny and sassy commentary.
Lowlight: Caligula’s Horse didn’t perform ‘Turntail’, my personal favourite.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Rust’.