In a genre as overly saturated as hardcore is, few bands really stand out by pushing the envelope. Tonight, the Corner Hotel was playing host to a double headliner featuring two bands who have connected with fans by doing things differently.

While Defeater graced our shores only 18 months ago, fans have had to wait to see Blacklisted for four years. Waiting aside, the night promised not to disappoint.

Opening proceedings were Melbourne locals Vultures, in what was set to be their final set ever. A decent amount of people had gathered to watch the openers, but not one dared to stand too close to the stage, on-lookers instead bobbing their heads in time.

Vultures didn’t bother trying to get the crowd involved, instead whispering gratitude between every song. However, what the band lacked in stage presence they made up for in power and passion, and this helped to hold the growing crowd’s attention. Vultures provided a decent start to the night and ended their career on a great bill.

On their first visit to Australia since 2008, fans were clearly excited to see Blacklisted take to the stage, and as soon as the curtain went up, the beginning of ‘Our Apartment Is Always Empty’ filled the venue, the crowd quickly pushed forward. It took until ‘I’m Trying To Disappear’ for the audience to really get moving, but as each new song began a few more people joined in.

For the most part Blacklisted were in their own world on stage, vocalist George Hirsch only breaking the barrier to hand his microphone to the masses, where it was keenly taken. For a band so powerful and aggressive during songs, between them they seemed almost shy, and Hirsch, softly spoken. But this contrast meant nothing when the music was playing.

Filled with songs from across their releases, Blacklisted’s set saw each one played with as much energy and passion as the last; and as the last chord of ‘Wish’ rang through the venue, it was clear their fans weren’t going to wait another four years to see them again.

The immediate reaction from the crowd as soon as ‘The Red, White, and Blues’ began made it clear whom most people had gathered to see.

A large chunk of gig-goers immediately went into a frenzy, stage diving and crowd surfing right from the first verse. Defeater wasted no time getting into ‘Warm Blood Rush’, constantly feeding off the energy of the room as they went. It may not have been a large part of the crowd getting involved, but the rest of the now full venue was giving Defeater their full attention.

They in turn demanded it, throwing themselves behind every chord and beat played, vocalist Derek Archambault screaming every word with an unwavering passion.

While Defeater were passionate and powerful right from the get go, it was when the tempo was stripped back and Archambault was left on an empty stage, with nothing more than his acoustic guitar, that another layer of emotion was added to the mix.

Fans are already quite familiar with the ease that Defeater switch between powerful hardcore and melodic ballads, but seeing it live is a whole different story.

Everyone watched in awe as Archambault sang his way through ‘I Don’t Mind’, with full accompaniment from the crowd. This feeling continued as the rest of the band came back on stage for ‘But Breathing’ before Defeater amped up the pace again with ‘Dear Father.

The set quickly reverted to the gusto of the first half, only now the attendees were were even more eager to sing and dance along, taking every opportunity to chant back lines or stage dive.

As soon as ‘Cowardice’ had finished and Defeater had left the stage, the crowd erupted into chants of “one more song” ; and wasting no time at all, the band returned for one more track, squeezing every last ounce of energy from themselves and those splayed in front of them ensuring no-one went home disappointed.

– Gloria Brancatisano