A cold winter’s night and the State of Origin didn’t stop Perth prog rock band Karnivool from blowing away a large crowd at the ANU bar last Wednesday.

Opening act, Over-reactor demanded the crowd’s attention – literally – with frontman Ezekiel Ox spending more time amongst the audience, screaming his lyrics inches from their faces, than he did on stage. Sauntering down the centre of the room, forming a makeshift catwalk with some inventive dance moves, Ox described the Melbourne duo’s sound as ‘death-hop’, a mix of hardcore punk, rap and metal. Though several punters opted to watch the State of Origin playing in the front bar area instead, Over-reactor played a thoroughly enjoyable set and won over several new fans with their unique sound and enthusiastic performance.

Perth drum and bass artist ShockOne was next on the stage. More audience members succumbed to the temptation of football in the next room, but the crowd that stayed was an appreciative one who sang along to familiar remixes.

After a fairly long wait between sets, the chants of “KARNIVOOL!” soon dissolved into a thunderous applause as the band took to the stage.

The five-piece started their set with ‘Goliath’ and ‘Simple Boy’ from their 2009 album ‘Sound Awake’, before treating the audience to a new song, an impressively crafted piece of music that showed off what Karnivool do best, expertly combining the heaviest of guitars and an outstanding, intricate rhythm section with beautiful melodies that move seamlessly from whisper-quiet to soaring in the space of a verse.

The audience members were a mix of the manic and the mellow. A mosh pit formed at the front of the stage where several crowd surfing bodies flew through the air. Behind them was a gentler, mesmerised crowd who were equally enthralled as the crazier group down the front, but preferred to sing along to every word and take it all in. The whole room quickly transformed into a backing chorus for Ian Kenny’s pitch-perfect, strong and smooth vocals.

It’s difficult to pick a highlight of the evening as each song was performed flawlessly and received a powerful response from the crowd, but the reception for, ‘New Day’, was particularly impassioned.

The generous encore was followed by a promise that the band would be back next year. Hopefully a return that will coincide with a new album.

Photography by Chris Whitfield