Live Review: Children Collide – The Annandale (29.12.12)

Children Collide played an intimate show at The Annandale Hotel in Sydney to finish off an eventful and turbulent 2012.

The first time I saw Children Collide on their own headline tour was at The Annandale, in 2008. They’d supported many bands around Australia in the lead up to that show and managed to sell The Annandale out that night. Fast forward four years and things have changed. The band have released two studio albums since then, they’ve enlisted a new drummer and Johnny Mackay has relocated to New York City.

This gig didn’t sell out. It’s unclear whether the timing of the gig is wrong, being between Christmas and the New Year, or if the band haven’t won over many new fans with most recent album Monument. It’s bizarre to see them in such a small space and still be able to move to the front row easily.

Children Collide were late on stage, making the crowd unsettled. They opened with old track ‘Terrible Lizard’ and moved into new track ‘The Flat Earth’. There were a few problems with sound in the first few songs, there’s a bad mix and the bass is muddy. Although, this could be because I was standing right next to the bass amps, in front of bass player Heath Crawley.

Lead singer Johnny Mackay didn’t address the crowd between the first few songs and rushed through them; old favourite ‘Skeleton Dance’ was without its final solo and chorus, and newer single ‘Sword to A Gunfight’ was also cut short.

‘Across The Earth’ saw the crowd become a lot more aminated and Mackay crowd surfed, still playing the guitar solo. Things got a bit rough with ‘Prussian Blue’, but when you’ve seen them a few times, you come to expect these things to happen and no one was hurt.

Songs from Monument are generally well-received but it’s the tracks from The Long Now that really had people going crazy tonight. The singalong and crowd participation in ‘Farewell Rocketship’ is always the most fun and jumping around to ‘Chosen Armies’ and ‘Social Currency’ has become a standard at a Children Collide gig. We were finally introduced to new drummer Mitch McGregor – the drummer from Dardanelles, who replaced Ryan Caesar in early 2012 – within the last three songs of the set.

They finished up with an energetic version of ‘Jelly Legs’ and the usual set closer ‘Fire Engine’. There was no point waiting for an encore, they never play them, and everyone shuffles out after the band throw themselves and their instruments around and walk off stage.

They put on a great show at The Annandale, as they always do, but I can’t help being a little disappointed that this gig wasn’t sold out. They haven’t lost their talent or performing ability but they may be slowly starting to lose the ability to win new fans or wow their old ones.

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