The 69 Eyes at The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, 18 June 2009 – Live Review and Photos

June 19, 2009

Gig/Concert: The 69 Eyes in Melbourne
Venue: The Hi-Fi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia
Date: 18 June 2009
Headliners: The 69 Eyes
In one word: Fanatical

I now know how my Uncle James felt when a few years back my cool-as uncle took me to see The Alkaline Trio. I’m sure he didn’t want to go or was all that interested but I had the best time! I passed out half way through the show, spewed up and got back in time to hear Radio where I saw the angel of Tim Armstrong dressed all in white standing in a doorway…turns out my uncle had been standing next to him all evening and had no idea who he was!

The 69 Eyes at the Hi-Fi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia - photo by Danny Crombie for Music Vice

That was kind of how I felt tonight. The 69 Eyes are a band I really have no understanding of and like The Alkaline Trio (at least back when they used to be good) the guys have a rabid and unstoppable fanbase. Only a few gigs have I ever experienced such a large amount of people queuing for a small band and those guys must have been a little ticked off when I used my “media power” to skip to the front of the line.

The timing of this gig is ridiculous; first of all the doors open so goddamn late, with the first band scheduled for 9 p.m., the second for 10 and The 69 Eyes for 11.30 – is it the fact those guys are vampires they have to play so late or just to interrupt my sleep patterns!?

After the first long wait of the evening, opening band The Dead Things take to the stage, with a backdrop in which the font looks suspiciously alike The Independents. They play awful hair metal with crap songs entitled “Dead Girls Don’t Say No”, “Hollywood” and “Cemetery Mary” which all sound hilarious.

The bands look is absolutely genius too – the band all have their own little personalities e.g. The Drummer: – a goth wannabe Chris from Family Guy who’s painted his dragon t-shirt with inverted crosses, the bass player who looks like Boy George and the lead guitarist who looks suspiciously like Antony Worral Thompson. These little names made the Dead Things set so bearable and not even a cover of Die, Die My Darling could save their hilariously bad set.

Second up and adding to the pain in my head, neck and turning my feet to jelly were The Eternal who had their shit together a little bit more than the last band. They had a serious amount of equipment and the drummer had way too much drums going on than he’d ever use.

The Eternal played a set which reminded me a bit of InMe; anyone remember them? They were like dire Nu-Nu metal which a few of my not so intelligent friends were into, I really never managed to get their thing and don’t really get it with these guys.

The music also had what sounded like a bit of HIM in it, damn I hate those guys too – they make the most dire and unlistenable music I’ve ever heard! [Confession from the Editor – I used to own a HIM record!] I sense some Dio there too and what I’m trying to say is that I really didn’t enjoy it; I don’t know how bands like this can find an audience and to be honest I really can’t be bothered writing about them anymore. It was all too slow and boring for me.

The 69 Eyes at the Hi-Fi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia - photo by Danny Crombie for Music ViceThe 69 Eyes took what felt like an age to get on stage which was 20 minutes beyond schedule and ended 40 minutes after said schedule. The crowd were really into it though when they burst out onstage playing Framed in Blood then Don’t Turn Your Back in a frenzy of noise and pure excitement. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced such a fanatical audience and the guys up the front are the ones that have been waiting a long time to see these guys.

” 20 years is a long time for some fans to see their favourite band and one guy who’s in the centre looks as though he’s been waiting that long”

It’s kind of amazing how long the band have been together and just how long it’s taken for them to get across to Australia – 20 years is a long time for some fans to see their favourite band and one guy who’s in the centre looks as though he’s been waiting that long. I wonder why they came across now? I guess it’s some good money for three shows with tickets $65 a pop, t-shirts $35 and hoodies $70 respectively. I bet you they made some cash tonight.

Anyways, back to the point: the band wowed their fans and not me though I’m afraid. I wrestled with my camera and didn’t enjoy the fact there was no photographers pit – I experienced the same thing with Kate Miller-Heidke a month or so earlier with just as crazy a crowd (I know, it sounds funny!).

Singer Jyrki dedicates the song Gothic Girls to the girls who brought them over, I think they receive the biggest applause of the night bar those Helsinki Vampires.

I kept looking towards the singer and tried to figure out if he was wearing a wig or not – not that it mattered though as Jyrki was truly kicking some ass and putting all he had in. If you’re going to travel to one of the most extreme distances you can you’re certainly going to kick its ass.

Just before they play From Dusk Till Dawn I’m off from the front row and entrust my young niece (I’m still Uncle James here) with my camera. I’m interested in who’s in the crowd and what kind of people come to a 69 Eyes show (also, the chance to breath is a great idea). The people in the pit are generally dressed in black, there’s some some rockabilly girls as well as older original goths and some weekend goths who are dancing hilariously which keeps me entertained for a good few minutes.

More songs pass and with The Chair and Brandon Lee the energy in the crowd really doesn’t seem to let up, it’s an absolute party and the band consistently fire on all cylinders, the humorous Misfits (not even Danzig Misfits pfft) wannabe drummer is an Animal behind the kit and his cartoon antics are pretty fun to watch.

With Devils they finish off their set and have a break, the crowd doesn’t shift one bit and for one good reason – they haven’t played their signature song Lost Boys which pretty much everyone in the crowd has been waiting for.. They hop back on stage and deliver on that desire when someone tries to steal Jyrki’s bandana off of his leg and he goes a little bit nuts.I’m told the look on his face is insane which is right enough – what the fuck is up with thieves?

Last song is a cover of The Doors’ LA Woman. It’s the only song in the set I’ve enjoyed which is an extremely pleasant note to end on. To add to my happiness I’m back behind the weekend goths who are pulling off something similar to a duckwalk mixed with the geeky leg-pull dance…some people have no class!

As the crowd start leaving I move away from the dads’ area and pick up my girlfriend who has a smile plastered on her face, I’m glad she enjoyed herself and I must admit I had a good time even if I don’t get their sound. The 69 Eyes are a band with an energy that hasn’t let up after 20 years and a fan-base as strong as ever.

© Danny Crombie

Extra photos – The 69 Eyes

The 69 Eyes at the Hi-Fi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia - photo by Kimberley Paterson for Music Vice

The 69 Eyes at the Hi-Fi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia - photo by Danny Crombie for Music Vice

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