KARNIVOOL @ Rock Rover gets 8.5/10

Karnivool @ Rock Rover
w/ Southeast Desert Metal
Saturday, June 8, 2019


Popping home to end their nationwide Praxis tour at the Rock Rover in Freo last Saturday, Karnivool delivered the goods in the form of a masterfully compiled setlist of their best tunes and a few sneaky new ones, to a captivated crowd who were just about worshipping their local heroes by the end of it.

Southeast Desert Metal

Southeast Desert Metal supported Karnivool for every show on this tour. Unassuming, no-nonsense, they got straight into it without much fanfare. While they seemed a little road weary, their good ol’ heavy pub-rock type tunes kicked things off with good energy. They seemed to have their own little crew of groupies singing along to their songs and going nuts.

Southeast Desert Metal

The highlight of their set was when a singer with some sweet dirty vocals came on to join them for one track, though the sound mixing wasn’t fantastic and his vocals were so much louder than the rest of the band that it almost sounded like he was singing along to something pre-recorded. Overall it was a pretty good performance – opening for such an exceptionally technically proficient band can’t be an easy task, and they were easy to bop and bounce to as we waited for the main event.


What really made this eagerly anticipated performance by Karnivool such a special one was their excellent setlist and where exactly each song sat within it – the perfection of which cannot be overstated. From the opening track Change which, with its steady 1 ½ minute intro, was a perfect way to say “hello (hollow halo)” to their adoring fans, they progressively built their set up, following on with Simple Boy, and We Are before getting faster and heavier with Set Fire to the Hive and Shutter Speed.


The thing with this setlist – every single song was a banger. It felt a bit like Karnivool’s greatest hits (of which there are a shitload).  There seemed to be a couple of technical difficulties with guitarist Mark Hosking, but nothing major. Ian Kenny absolutely nailed his vocals and delivery with a massive smile on his dial the entire performance to boot. I honestly felt so moved a lot of the time that I worried I’d start crying. It was a special treat to get to hear a couple new tracks, they flowed really nicely with the rest of the setlist and whet everyone’s appetite for that elusive new album.


Most of the show the crowd just seemed super happy to be where they were, grooving and singing along, and a special mention has to be made to how absolutely on point and beautiful Aeons was. However! When Themata dropped close to the end, chaos ensued. It was like everyone had been holding back, saving themselves for it. I couldn’t help but admire how skillfully and progressively the band had taken everyone on this journey and subtly, slowly built up the energy in the room to a fever pitch, ending the show on an unquestionable climax.


I walked away with all of the feelings that make me love live music as much as I do, and from the smiles on everyone else’s faces as we spewed forth into Freo, I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. Fucking lovely.


Photos by Karen Lowe

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