Curiously, Ohio quintet Citizen find themselves in the same position our headliners were in the last time they visited Australia – that is, on a co-headlining run with a band that theoretically feels opposed from a stylistic standpoint. An odd couple, if you will. On paper, a pairing such as this shouldn’t work – and yet, the Venn diagram has just enough of a middle section to make it all work. There is common ground to be moshed upon, after all – both bands possess a stronghold over their audience, singing back their words so loudly that you could probably do away with every vocal microphone on stage entirely. This is especially the case with Citizen, who have managed to concoct at least a few truly great throat-tearing slices of second-wave emo revival on all three of their studio albums. They’re fired off in quick succession here, ranging from the thrashing “Roam the Room” to the slinking, snarling “Cement” before concluding on “The Summer,” which is quite possibly the greatest Sunny Day Real Estate song they never wrote. It’s easy to see why this band means so much to people, and even clearer to see why Citizen keep coming back.
Of course, the sole problem Turnstile faced with their last Australian tour pairing – the pensive, twinkly Turnover – was that they were given the second-to-last slot rather than the closer. This meant their hyperactive, breakneck live show was a precursor to Turnover’s formidable yet gentle and swaying performances. It was an immediate comedown after attending the wildest party of the summer, so stark was its contrast. This time around, the dynamic has wisely been flipped in their favour – as soon as Turnstile hit the stage it’s all systems go, and there’s nowhere to go but all the way to the top. “Real Thing,” “Big Smile,” “Gravity”… the songs are going by as quickly as bodies are hurling themselves at the front of the stage to get right up in the grill of irrepressible frontman Brendan Yates. The band is not wasting a second of its stage-time; soon enough, the energy in the room hits a fever pitch of swinging arms, stomping feet, banging heads and unified voices. It’s moments like this that remind you of the vitality and pure catharsis that comes from a great hardcore show – although not for the faint at heart, it’s exhilarating and intoxicating. A well-paced, hugely entertaining journey through time and space.
Photos – Ivan Souriyavong.
Review – David James Young.