Ding Dong Lounge played host to a plethora of national and international artists Thursday night, as hardcore heavyweights Hellions’ national tour saw them take to the stage alongside their tantalizing tour mates, Capsize and ‘68.
Accompanied by Melbourne’s own Belle Haven ahead of their fourth-coming tour of the USA with ‘68 and Norma Jean, audiences were greeted with an inclusive environment that few other bands are able to emulate live. Belle Haven’s live performance demanded to not only be seen, but to be felt. Through building up an intimacy with the audience, the collective invited you into their realm, allowing fans to transcend above being just listeners, to a point where the audience began to experience the set as an entirety instead. Equipped with a fusion of dissonance and harmony, their set worked as a testament to the band’s drive and dedication. Belle Haven’s performance combined technicality with tenderness whilst sacrificing neither.
Following on American based ’68 commanded an unrivalled stronghold, their set cemented by chaotic professionalism that fluidly merged with raw emotion, uniting to produce an awe-inspiring sound of unbelievable depth and complexity. As the set unfolded it became permissible for the audience to forget they were, in fact, watching a two-piece. Interludes between songs provided moments which personalized members Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan, this evoked a sense of spontaneousness that hung over the set in its entirety. ’68 showcased an imperfect beauty throughout, playing with the whole ideology that less sometimes is more; delivering a set that demanded audiences to resonate on the chaotic, personal, and spontaneous nature of the performance they just witnessed.
A run of tour dates pulling them in every which way lead to next band, Capsize, gracing Australian stages. Bringing with them an engaging and unifying live power reflective of their maturity as a collective, the American five-piece went on to exhibit an electric energy from the beginning to end. Capsize built up audience engagement to a peak, ending their set on a high with frequented mic-grabs all around, exhibiting a certain personal appreciation to their fans while building on the inclusive vibes each band on the line-up had attributed to so far. Capsize’s melodic and emotionally infused body of work conveyed directly into a live set which figuratively grabbed fans by the chest and drew them in until the very end.
Hellions never fail to bring the funk. From their angst-riddled fusion of hardcore and punk through to infusing their set with ambient incense, the ensemble only further proved their absolute stage dominance. While riddling their performance with personal quirks that continue to set them apart from others in the same genre, Hellions harnessed the audience, allowing their exuberance to run wild. (This was cultivating to the further relationship between the crowd and band symbiosis of the night.) The atmosphere was ringing as the five-piece commanded undivided attention; the ultimate epitome of intimacy was reached with a marriage proposal taking centre stage mid-set. This cementing the night as one, which really played focus to the audience as well by the bands themselves, focalised the interaction between them, as well as the raw beauty behind the music being performed. The night emphasised the energetic ferocity the role bands have upon their listeners, and the role listeners have upon a band.