I had the pleasure of seeing Sevendust on their last Australian tour in 2016 and it was one of the best shows I had seen in years. Having enjoyed their last visit and latest record All I See Is War immensely, I couldn’t wait see the band again in what I believe to be the best venue Melbourne has to offer. The excitement was palpable walking into the Forum alongside hundreds of passionate listeners.
I’ve got to be honest and say that Redhook probably weren’t the wisest choice for support on this one, especially when you consider that the majority of the audience was made up of long-time fans of Sevendust that have been listening to the band since the late 90’s. Stylistically, they weren’t a particularly good fit and sadly their performance was a bit all over the place. Whilst they certainly have a tonne of potential, it was clear that they weren’t ready for a venue and audience of this size. A poorly executed covered of Rage Against The Machine classic ‘Guerrilla Radio’ cemented this.
Sevendust have a long track of great album opening tracks, so it was no great surprise that they shot out of the gate with All I See Is War opener ‘Dirty’ followed directly by the high-octane riff and drum barrage of ‘Pieces’. The crowd were off their feet immediately and it was clear that the band had an intense show in store. I’ve always held frontman Lajon Witherspoon in high regard for his pristine vocals, but I have to say that he completely blew me away this time around. The perfect blend of soulful, aggressive and powerful.
It wasn't just Lajon that blew me away though. Drummer Morgan Rose is an absolute monster behind the kit and the powerful guitar duo of John Connolly and Clint Lowery couldn’t be faulted at all. Huge props to all three of them for contributing vocals throughout the set and nailing every part from the get go. Huge respect for every member working overtime and looking like they were having the best time doing it.
For the most part, Sevendust’s set was compiled of singles and fan favourites from their earlier records. Classic cuts like ‘Waffle’, ‘Praise’ and ‘Denial’ brought incredible energy and the highly emotional ‘Angel’s Son’ had every member of the audience singing along. It was great to hear a greatest hits set from the legendary band but I do wish that they had dived deeper into more recent material, especially given that Kill The Flaw and All I See Is War are both impeccable records that show that the band are still firing on all cylinders.
Given the lacklustre performance from Redhook, I can’t help but feel like Sevendust should have forgone a support band and simply played a longer set that showed the audience the full breadth of their legacy. With 12 full length albums under their belt at this point, it was a real shame that the band didn’t touch at all on some of the strongest parts of their discography.
The main set finished with ‘Thank You’ from 2015’s Kill The Flaw and the band returned to the stage for fan favourite ‘Black. Every single time I’ve seen Sevendust, they’ve closed out their encore with Seasons closer ‘Face To Face’. This time was no exception and whilst some might find that cliché or expected, I can’t fault it because it really is the perfect definitive Sevendust to close with. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Sure, it would've been nicer to hear more newer material and a longer set from Sevendust, but I still walked out of the Forum ecstatic and blown away. Hopefully they return sooner rather than later to treat Australian audiences to more.