Ceremony @ The Bendigo Hotel
Ceremony's latest album Zoo has been released to mixed reviews. Stepping out of the box is always a risky move but one that often pays off and if people haven’t been sold on the album and its huge variety of influences, then the songs played live won them over. Seeing as Ceremony blend hardcore, punk, post-punk and more, it was only fitting that tonight’s lineup contained a mix of genres. Sex Tape were a last minute addition but one that was immensely complementary. Those retorting about them 'not being a hardcore band' need to get off their narrow minded pedestals, or maybe just stay there and keep their mouths shut. Sex Tape killed it, and no doubt they don't give a rat’s what you think of them anyway. Mixing it up between trashy fast numbers and slower more noise punk sounds with an evil edge, Sex Tape draw an obvious influence from the likes of Pissed Jeans but don't come close to being derivative. Occupying a space with far more defined boundaries, Rort opened up the pit playing tight and fast metallic hardcore. The low-end frequencies were crushing, as were the slam dancers whipping themselves into a fury. Note to self – do not buy a top shelf spirit at a hardcore show. By the time Extortion started the room was bursting at the seams, the edge dwellers pinned firmly to the walls. Extortion pull no punches, brutally fast and aggressive, they were in fine form tonight, executing their power violence attack with a razor sharp intensity.
The crowd got antsy as Ceremony took their time to hit the stage and the Bendigo was starting to resemble the sweaty sardine box that is public transportation during peak hour. Finally the Californian quartet made it to the stage, opening with Repeating The Circle from Zoo, with its definite nod to Joy Divison. Immediately it was clear that the songs from the latest album, while deviating in style and genre, would not be any less potent in delivery. Tonight’s set was well devised, featuring songs from all four albums. Fans ate up Open Hand and I'm Sick and Pressures On would surely be the cause of some heinous bruises, come Monday morning. The set flowed seamelssly, the slower more post-punk influenced songs like Doldrums pierced and sawed slowly where their counter parts frantically stabbed. The variety in sounds is a welcome change in the hardcore genre and Ceremony are defiantly setting their own course, one that embraces the entire spectrum of hardcore, punk and beyond – from Flipper to Black Flag to Fugazi. The marrying of such genres is a brave decision on the band’s part but tonight’s show proved that Ceremony, armed with the ferocity of their live show, aim to take their fans with them in whatever musical direction they choose to take.
BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD
Loved: Ceremony’s guitarist licking his fretboard at the end of the set
Hated: Losing half of all my drinks
Drank: Pints and Patron