Toxic Holocaust, Friday January 6, Bendigo Hotel
As I write this, it is Sunday night. My knees still kill from banging against a 50cm high stage, my right ear still rings deafeningly, the egg on my forehead has started to end its reign of terror and my Big 4 tour shirt from Germany is fucked. All I can think of this is that Toxic Holocaust are catastrophically good live. But before I go into that, a shout out to the awesome Melbourne talent which helped warm our necks up. First to hit the state were the thoroughly brutal Igvinommus. I really dug their crushing death metal, and their guitar tone hit like a concrete. Extortion are a little more old school. Think grundcore/punk, but more manic. From memory their drummer only used a single kick pedal for most of his blasts, and I feel sorry for his right calf muscle. Krömosom - also playing with Toxic this Sunday at the Hi-Fi Bar - are chaotic. Everything about them is over the top and brilliant.
It's likely the 150-200 people have waited since Toxic's last visit five years ago to see the night's headliners. This anticipation mixed with the $10 jugs of Collingwood Draught and the aforementioned openers at the Bendigo Hotel made for an intense vibe. As the band walked up to the stage - Joel's peroxided hair shining with defiance to any style that dares to be more recent than 1988 - the mad ones surged forward. What happened next was 30 minutes of the most chaotic show I have ever witnessed. It was heaven. The whole front row kept falling around the microphone and foldback speakers. Spontaneous circle pits would open and close with the predictability of Melbourne weather. There was a string of fans climbing onto the stage and throwing themselves into the crowd. In fact, there was barely a moment without someone on the stage - and Joel and Co. didn't once flare up or kick anyone off. This was a show with no egos, and this is a band with no wank-factor.
Whipping out songs from each of their four albums, Toxic Holocaust were tighter than a JB Hifi manager who has to approve leave forms for Soundwave. The crowd matched the bands unrelenting abrasiveness, and someone who had the misfortune of missing thrash's zenith in the '80s could easily earn their stripes here. Thrashing all around, acting like a maniac, rattling their heads and many other lyrics I can't recall right now, the herd was archaic and seething. It was at about the five minute mark that I was overwhelmed by that feeling headbangers get during a solo and blitzed my way to the front. In hindsight, the strategy to block some guys elbow with my face was a poor one. Before I knew it I made it to the front, where I planted myself until the final song.
I probably should have paid more attention to the gig. I probably should have talked about quality of the mix. I probably shouldn't have downed three $10 jugs. But I just had too much fun! This is the exact gig most metal fans would want. It's okay though, you haven't missed out! They are going for round two on Sunday January 15 at the Hi-Fi Bar. Go forth.
BY OSCAR SCHIESSER
LOVED: The unrelenting atmosphere.
HATED: The stage diver who kicked me in the head.
DRANK: Collingwood Draught, better than VB and only $10 a jug!