Banks Arcade – Tuning Fork: August 13, 2022

Banks Arcade, who have become a Melbourne Storm of an alt rock band, make a trip to their state of origin, Auckland, to headline a night of metal fire-power and bruising physicality from the front row forwards in the audience.

On the back of just-released debut album Future Lovers, which features on over half their set. They smash into Fake Your Death, wailing shredded vocals and brutal rhythms. The bridge switches into a bit of dub rock reggae to lighten the atmosphere.

Joshua O’Donnell is lead vocals and guitar. Jason Meadows guitar, who physically resembles Motorhead drummer Philthy Animal Taylor. Harlan Allen-Jones bass and James Feekes drums.

Future Lovers. The title track is given a bit of old school punk energy in contrast to the studio version. There are changes of tempo which give it a complex character. There is some prog rock lurking in their hearts.

Freaks is one highlight. A slow ballad to start with. I won’t be here tomorrow/ So be afraid. They work it up with some nice space age sound effects.

Full Bloom

Full BloomFour bands tonight so the audience gets value for money. First act Full Bloom are local metalcore merchants, who launch the evening with noisy cymbal crashes and hard-edged metal punk. Fast meshed riffs from two guitars. The bass is on the backing tracks.

If you think of the Cramps on their initial records where they dispensed with a bass and used dissonant lead guitar riffs from Brian Gregory and rhythm guitar from Poison Ivy Rorschach. The bands tonight strip it back further to dispense with the rhythm guitar. The drummers from each band carry a lot of the firepower and drive, and they all work their arses off tonight.

These guys start with shredded throat vomits on each song, and proceed to dial up the intensity. In Between has a pop melody rising up through the calculated thrash, then heads into loud rock band territory.

The moshers and leapers have sparked into life, as if infected by the rage virus, and generally smash dance amongst themselves. Women are also included.

There is brief interlude whilst they fix their digital machine problems before concluding with Malware. Sounds like atonal industrial metal saws, complete with guttural vocals.

Crooked Royals

Crooked RoyalsA local metalcore band, fronted by two vocalists. The energy levels are undiminished as they begin their set with a burst of artillery and football chants.

The opening songs have a similar smash and barrage sound of the early Black Flag.

One with a chant, you’re just a hypocrite! An interesting blanket of sound lead by the drums. It would be great at a protest rally.

Elsewhere it resembles the Beastie Boys stripped back to basics. The singers can combine in call-and–response. At other times they are harsh and ravaging in unison.

They convey a furious amount of energy off the stage and outbreaks of slam-dancing continue.

The Gloom in the Corner

The Gloom In The CornerThe Gloom are from Melbourne, and they have described themselves as cinema-core, with their thrash metal sound.

Misanthropic and Violence, both speed metal punk and aggressive. No let off in energy at all.

Bang yer fucking heads together! Says singer Mikey Arthur. But he backs that one up with a burst of melodic singing as a surprise.

At other times I’m sure he sings Die!Die!Die!

Requiem. We’ve reached the end of an era. A ballad in the context of the rest of their set. The sounds of a church organ with meshed guitar sounds. A poignant nod to what Melbourne faced over the last two years as the most repressive state in Australia during the pandemic.

One song starts like a haka, complete with a throat-cutting gesture from the singer. It’s furious and violent but they lay out a surprising surf guitar riff in the middle. The energy from the stage subdues the crowd momentarily.

Blunt force trauma is back with new single Ronin. Shouts of Bleed you out! And You’re fucked!

Good hearty stuff.

Banks Arcade

Banks ArcadeThe Arcade certainly explore a wider palette of metal punk with songs like Drown and Be Someone slowing down the furious tempo and giving more than a nod to prog rock antecedents.

Every young New Zealander sometime between the age of 18 to 25 would find themselves drunk and rambling on the beach at Mt Maunganui on New Year’s Eve. Or the equivalent. Fire Work is that story, and it has a nice new wave power pop sound. From my recollection riot police came out, and someone helped drag me off from sleeping on the sand.

They do bring melodic lines to songs like Wine, Chosen and Smile whilst retaining hard rhythmic punk energy.

Used reminds me of those Dad Punks of old, the Members. A funny story from suburbia complete with affectless vocals. Lots of leaping about on stage.

Finish the show with a cover of SAINt JHN’s Roses. Turn it on and turn it up, baby!

Banks Arcade did just that at their homecoming State of Origin show.

Rev Orange Peel 

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Leonie Moreland.

Banks Arcade:

Crooked Royals:

Full Bloom:

The Gloom In The Corner:

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