Breaking my streak of not attending shows out of a mix of exhaustion and laziness, I managed to yet again accidentally fall into the position of being on a guest list for an international touring band visiting Brisbane. This time it was Haken’s first ever headlining show in Australia. Having never previously heard the band, this chance occurrence was the perfect excuse to get back into the swing of music photography, made all the more sweet with the addition of Kodiak Empire as one of the supports.
The venue doors opened as Kodiak Empire began their set, my ears pricked to the band’s familiar sound as I shuffled inside with the rest of the line. Delivering a faultless performance, the band once again showed that the stage is truly their element. I did question the reasoning behind a band of this calibre opening the night due to the fairly large number of people who had yet to even reach the venue door by this point, a considerable portion of patrons thus missing the first couple of songs. The group showed zero signs of this affecting them however, ending their set on a high with their seriously catchy single, ‘Hakbah‘.
A brief lull in the night’s proceedings gave way for Archetypes. While not much of a fan myself, the music was executed tightly enough and the frontman Jonah Hicks made considerable effort to engage with the crowd. In amongst cringe-inducing air guitar and whiny, unnecessary vocals, I found it very difficult to to create a positive mental commentary on what was taking place on stage. While energetic, their music felt too repetitious and at times as if it were aiming to be progressive for the sake of seeming more diverse. Confused as to how the band were given the position of headline-support, I trudged towards the bar in search of alcohol and ear-buds.
Before long Haken walked on stage fielding an applause nearly twice as big as the crowd itself. This was my first time ever hearing the band and while I had a good understanding of the kind of music they played, I was not prepared for the show I witnessed. The band ripped through song after song without any kind of hiccup whatsoever. The expertly-composed transitions between each song created a truly cinematic kind of immersion that had every audience member’s attention locked on the stage. It’s almost as if Haken have assimilated the position that 2007 era Dream Theatre once held, without constantly toeing the line between corny dad-rock and occasional quality progressive metal. While some may strongly disagree with that sentiment, this band’s stellar performance left such a long lasting impression on me unlike so many others which has more than converted me into a genuine Haken fan.
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