The Hawthorne Heights Australian tour kicked off last night at Amplifier Bar with a fantastic debut show. The beloved pop-punk legends played through the entirety of their first two albums: The Silence In Black And White and If Only You Were Lonely. They were accompanied by River Oaks – Shane Told from Silverstein, Mark Rose – from Spitalfield, and backed up by local hardcore pop-punk band: Nautical Mile.
First up on the night was solo act Mark Rose, the vocalist from another much-loved pop-punk band: Spitalfield. As the first act of the night, Mark knew he had to spark the audience’s attention, and did so with a beautiful rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which turned heads across the venue. This softer, delicate version of the classic hard-rock masterpiece set Mark’s performance on a fantastic tone, demonstrating his fantastic vocal ability, matched with his brilliant guitar playing. Mark transitioned into his former band’s repertoire and performed “Those Days You Felt Alive” from Spitalfield’s debut LP Remember Right Now. Continuing through the setlist with more selections from the Spitalfield discography, performing with near perfection, Mark then moved to his solo work, proving his fantastic songwriting ability with “Like A Dark Sky Holds The Moon.” His original repertoire was performed beautifully, and resonated with the audience through a succession of swaying. Mark then finished with the Spitalfield crowd-favourite: “I Loved The Way She Said L.A.” A brilliant first act of the night, setting the show off on a very good note.
The tone changed as local hardcore pop-punk rockers Nautical Mile took the stage. These guys opened with “Flight Risk” from their latest EP Playing for Keeps, and filled the floor with energy. Each member of Nautical Mile demonstrated incredible stage presence, instilling a fun and ecstatic atmosphere. The band progressed through the night with tunes from their self-titled debut EP Nautical Mile. Catchy tracks such as “Weight of the World” and “Fall” really engaged the audience. Lead vocalist Topher Wilkes was excellent, his cleans were melodic and his screams were great highlights – drawing on the band’s hardcore influences. There are a few marginal errors in the higher-pitched vocals, however this did not at all detract from the impact of the show. Furthermore, the band’s instrumentals were fantastic, combining an array of hardcore riffs, with catchy pop-punk melodies – plus great mixing, made for a great performance. The band ended their set on the heavier, energetic “Oceans Apart,” which induced an array of head-banging, especially with the huge crowd-pleasing breakdown towards the latter of the track. Nautical Mile is a band to keep your eye on, these guys put on an excellent show.
Up next was the first of two sets for pop-punk legends Hawthorne Heights. For the first set they played through the entirety of their 2004 debut LP The Silence In Black And White. From “Life On Standby” all the way to “Speeding Up The Octaves,” Hawthorne Heights delivered a stellar performance from start to finish. Every song was performed to near-perfection, and the crowd was ecstatic through the entirety of their set. Massive hits from the LP like “Ohio Is For Lovers” and “Niki Fm” were performed with high energy and great stage presence that elated the audience with swaying, head-banging and a constant sing-along to the catchy lyrics, all pretty much mandatory for this show. Lead vocalist JT Woodruff’s pop-punk melodic style shone through wonderfully, and was complemented by excellent instrumentation. Massive heavy hits like “Silver Bullet” showcased the band’s unique style, the background screams from guitarist Mark McMillon brilliantly and in perfect balance, juxtaposed JT’s clean melodies. Initially, it was difficult to hear bassist Matt Ridenour’s backup vocals, but mixing improved in the band’s second set. This was only the start of the pop-punk legend’s show, they left the audience fired up for their second set; performing If Only You Were Lonely.
Up next was River Oaks, the vocalist; Shane Told, from Silverstein. In pop-punk fashion, Shane took the stage, armed with JT’s aqua guitar and gave the audience a beautiful show. Similar to Mark Rose, Shane performed both his original and Silverstein’s repertoire to near-perfection, with hardly any errors in his vocals. There were one or two awkward chords hit on guitar, however, this is understandable given he was performing on JT’s guitar – and it didn’t detract from his performance. Tracks like “Roman Candle” off his self-titled EP River Oaks, exemplified Shane’s powerful voice, and was sung beautifully alongside “Let You Down,” also off his EP. He also interweaved some crowd-pleasing hits from Silverstein’s earlier albums When Broken Is Easily Fixed and Discovering The Waterfront. Tracks such as “Red Light Pledge” resonated massively with the audience, as they danced and sang along to Silverstein’s catchy pop-punk ballads.
Arriving back on stage to perform their second LP from 2006 If Only You Were Lonely, Hawthorne Heights drove into the melodic pop-punk riffage of “This Is Who We Are.” The audience sang along to the catchy chorus in pure pop-punk elation. The band made multiple mentions that this was the longest they have ever performed and first time ever doing two sets in one show. Like their first set, they performed their second album in its entirety and to near-perfection. JT’s melodic vocals were great, the instrumentation was fantastic, and there was particularly better mixing this time around. The band also seemed more relaxed on stage. The pop-punk legends drove through massive hits such as “Pens and Needles,” “Saying Sorry” and “Where Can I Stab Myself In The Ears” with great energy and stage presence, including a couple of touching stories about the origin of their songs. The band finished their set on a few selections from their newer repertoire from latest album Hurt, managing to spark up the audience into an array of head-banging, moshing, and the occasional shoulder rider – ending their night with a true pop-punk atmosphere.
Hawthorne Heights put on a spectacular first show for their Australian tour, and fantastic supporting acts from River Oaks, Nautical Mile and Shane Rose made it an unforgettable night.
Photos by André Avila at Redwood Visions
Monday, August 28: Amplifier Bar, Perth
Tuesday, August 29: Fowlers Live, Adelaide Lic/AA
Thursday, August 31: Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday, September 1: Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Saturday, September 2: The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
Sunday, September 3: The Zoo, Brisbane
Monday, September 4: Shark Bar, Gold Coast
Tuesday, September 5: Kings Arms, Auckland
Tickets are $35 + GST & BF
On sale now!