Female empowerment was in the air as pop punkers gathered from far and wide for the Wollongong Leg of Tonight Alive’s ‘Back To Beginnings Tour’. The tour is designed to get the band that has recently been playing with the likes of A Day to Remember and at ‘Slam Dunk Fest’ in the U.K back to their roots. The Aussie heroes have returned home for the first time in almost 2 years and in a big way, showcasing Australian bands and playing songs fans haven’t heard in a long time.

Opening the show was Sydney pop-punk outfit Yours Truly, and while not many in the room knew what to expect, the female fronted power house did not disappoint. Winning two support slots from the competition run by Tonight Alive to find female featuring bands to support them, Yours Truly stepped it up and put on a show that proved that they deserved to share the stage with the heavy hitters in the Australian scene. The band was clearly excited to be playing the show and were full of energy which became infectious to those in the room. From the jumpy, pop punk anthems to their slow track When the Sky Falls Down, each song showcased the powerful musicianship of the band and the incredible voice of frontwoman Mikalia, winning the crowd over with a cover of Neck Deep’s In Bloom, the band won the hearts of the crowd with their punk jump fuelled fun and sent many people home looking up their Too Late for Apologies EP. A Sydney band to keep an eye on for sure.

Up next was another powerhouse of Female energy, Melbourne’s own, The Beautiful Monument. Featuring as the support for the whole tour, this heavy, post-hardcore vibe group rode the line between punchy guitar riffs and driving drum lines and beautifully melodic moments showcasing the incredible song writing and performance ability of each member of the band. The crowd began to warm up as they played with song after song after song with rhythms that made you want to jump. The room was filling up quick and the crowd was ready to move. Despite some minor technical glitches they still put on an incredible show, playing songs from their record I’m the Sin, released earlier this year. They were clearly thankful to Tonight Alive for the opportunity to tour around the country and closed with some upbeat tunes that primed the crowd perfectly for what was to come. The band left all that they had on the stage, pouring out every bit of energy into every song, they went hard and earned their applause.

The room went dark as national hero Jenna McDougal’s voice poured into the crowd, singing the well known ‘Woah’ part from the song Ocean. The crowd was riled up into a frenzy as Tonight Alive, recently a four-piece, strutted out onto stage and basked in the glory of the fans. The set list was incredible featuring songs from all their releases, two beautifully acoustic renditions from their first EP All Shapes & Disguises, Crowd favourites from What are You so Scared of?, including the title track which opened up a pit in the middle of the floor and had security guards moving as crowd surfers took to the shoulders of those around them. The whole room was singing along with their hit, the title track from The Other Side, it moved this reviewer almost to tears as high school memories came flooding back. Proving they’ve still got it, the band didn’t shy away from songs from Limitless, which received mixed reviews as it was a shift from their pop-punk roots but live, Tonight Alive proved that whatever they play will be kick ass. The band reflected on how long it’s been since they did a regional tour and promised that they wouldn’t let it be so long in between tours in the future. They closed with their new single Temple, a song which highlights the new direction for the band, a blend of pop-punk and a new sound which will probably feature heavily on their up coming album.

The ‘Back to Beginnings’ tour has shows coming up in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

 – Travis Salviejo