Gig Review: Children Collide @ The HiFi Bar, 13th June

No photos of the show, my phone was out of battery.

I’ve seen Children Collide live quite a few times, and each time they just seem to get better and better. They’re an interesting band for me- although I like their studio stuff I by no means love it, but live they are truly impressive and they have become one of my favourite Australian live bands going around.

Naturally I had very high hopes for this HiFi Bar gig, which represented a step up in venue size for the local Melbourne rockets. I wasn’t disappointed.

I arrived at the HiFi just before Children Collide were due to take the stage, which was a bit disappointing because it meant missing Cabins, who were apparently very impressive indeed. However I was there for Children Collide, and had no problems securing a spot in the front row on the very side of the stage.

The band took the stage to very warm applause, and wasted no time whatsoever in breaking into a set split about half/half between favourites from their debut record ‘The Long Now’ and numbers from their upcoming sophomore effort ‘Theory Of Everything’. Gigs that are part album preview shows are always interesting. Unknown songs can definitely reduce the atmosphere in the venue a bit, but thankfully Children Collide were skilled enough to make it work.

Opener We Live In Fear signalled a heavily rocking start to the show. However it was immediately evident that the sound quality in the HiFi wasn’t quite what it could be this time- I remember I just really wanted the sound to be bursting off the stage, but instead it seemed relatively restrained. Maybe my ears were still dead from British India the night beforehand though.

Across The Earth and Skeleton Dance, two older favourites, were clearly intended to get the atmosphere in the HiFi warmed up, but surprisingly it was a very tame crowd for these first few songs. Two new unnamed songs did nothing to lift the atmosphere either, but the wonderful Brave Robot got the mosh going nicely and it looked like so much fun that I couldn’t resist making my way into the middle of the stage right in the thick of things.

Really though, it took a surprisingly early-set Farewell Rocketship to get the party really started. It was slightly ironic that Children Collide’s softest song (at least at its start) got people going the most, but it was one of those cases where every single person near the front was bellowing the lyrics while jumping up and down for no particular reason, and it was a huge amount of fun.

The band perhaps picked up on this lift in atmosphere and kept it going by belting out two more live favourites, Economy and We Are Amphibious. The latter in particular really got everybody moving, and suddenly the night was turning into a great one. Next up was a run of three new songs including the single Jellylegs which was absolutely spectacular live. What a song.

There’s not much else I can say about the new numbers- they seem very much in line with Children Collide’s first record, but yet none of them apart from Jellylegs really stood out to me. I think I’ll like them live a lot more once I became a bit more accustomed to them- for me, the main purpose of a Children Collide record is to get you familiar with their music for their live shows.

The set finished with the killer double-hit of Social Currency, which once again saw the entire crowd screaming the lyrics along with the band (“TONIGHT, IS GONNA BE THE NIGHT”), and Chosen Armies. It was an undeniably enjoyable gig- bouncy, sweaty, screamy, and fun.

Like I said, album preview shows are tricky. Children Collide managed to strike quite a good balance however, and their stage energy made it work. However this being said there were some glaring absences from their set, most notably Cannibal and Marie Marie Pt. 2. I sincerely hope these songs, two of my favourite Children Collide tracks, haven’t been taken out of live rotation.

For me, Children Collide are just much better suited a Corner Hotel style venue however. They got the atmosphere to an absolute fever pitch when I last saw them at the Corner, and they never really achieved this in the much more sizeable HiFi Bar. But then nothing can really compare to that Corner Hotel gig, it was rather exceptional. The ability to play larger venues more effectively will probably come with more experience and the release of their second album, but a louder and fuller sound wouldn’t hurt either.

As it was however this show provided a great night, an interesting peak into Children Collide’s upcoming album, and the perfect demonstration of why these guys have a very bright future indeed ahead of them.

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