Gig Review: Max & Iggor Cavalera Return to Roots

Headliner: Max & Iggor Cavalera Return to Roots

Support Act: Skindred

Venue: Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane

Date: Thursday, September 21

The crowd in the carpark slowly builds outside Eatons Hill Hotel way up on Brisbane’s northside. A venue with great facilities, however a sometimes difficult venue to attend due to a lack of any public transport and a rather long trek for punters. However tonight Sepultura fans from every era are in attendance to see both Max and Iggor Cavalera preforming together for the first time on Australian soil in what feels like an eternity.

Skindred from the UK have been brought along for the ride on this tour, opening all the Australian dates with their interesting mix of rap, reggae and heavy hard rock. Charismatic frontman Benji Webbe takes the stage in chrome studded sunglasses and a black sequinned jacket, and the banter with the crowd begins. Opening for a show like Return to Roots is going to take some convincing to get the audience on their side. People know what they are here to see, and the gang in Skindred are aware of the obstacle they are faced with to make this work. With their catchy grooves and fun attitude, and a lot of persistence they slowly bring the crowd around. With Webbe’s constant banter between songs and relentless calls for crowd participation in back and forth vocal melodies he not only gains the audience’s attention but by the end of the set has most people in the room moving. Skindred finish their set to a reasonably full room and a bunch of people enjoying the performance.

After some changes on stage and a few soundchecks, the houselights go down in the auditorium, and the crowd roars as Iggor Cavalera makes his way out to the drum kit. Followed shortly after by Marc Rizzo (Guitar), Tony Campos (Bass) and the one and only man himself Max Cavalera. The crowds screams of support are deafening as the band launches straight into Roots Bloody Roots. The pit erupts quickly and the energy is high. Everyone person in the room belts out the lyrics along with Cavalera to the first 3 tracks off the Roots album. As this tour is no small affair, the band have gone out of their way to recreate and present as much of what happens on the recording in a live setting, complete with the Berimbau intro to 'Attitude' and all the tribal drum jams. After a quick break in music to converse with the concert goers, the band kicks off another big crowd favourite 'Ratamahatta' with the whole room once again helping Max out with backing vocals throughout the whole song.

As the band continues to make their way through the Roots album, those in attendance still cheer and celebrate as each song starts, even though the show follows the track listing of the original record. This doesn’t seem to dull the experience for anyone but is more of a trip of nostalgia and a reminder for those long time fans. Max starts encouraging an already passionate crowd to move more, shouting orders for circle pits and the tiring crowd to jump. While at times the energy in the room seems to drop slightly, it's only a small matter of time before it is in full swing again for each song. At this point I’m not sure if the show has sold out, but the room is very full with people packing into any space they can find to get just that little bit closer.

Apart from a few small feedback squeals over the course of the show, the sound is great, and with the changing line up of instruments on stage whether it be traditional Brazilian instruments or extra drums, the constant and dynamic of the show is always kept on the move. As Max and crew hit out the final notes of 'Dictatorshit', the punters at Eatons Hill are told they have to make some noise if they want to still here more.

After a short break, Max and Iggor walk back onstage to do a short medley of some Sepultura classics as a 2 piece, including snippets of material such as 'Slave New World' and 'Territory'. When the duo are done with this quick play through, they are once again joined on stage by Rizzo and Campos for a cover of 'Black Metal' by Venom, and then Motorhead’s 'Ace of spades'. Nearly at the end of their 1 and a half hour set, the band gives one last chance for the moshpit to move with a second performance of 'Roots Bloody Roots', this time a far more sped up extreme version to wring any last remaining energy out of those still moving. At 11 o’clock the final guitar chords have faded out and the 2 Cavalera brothers take to the stage one last time, arm in arm to bow to the crowd. It was an awesome gig to witness, and something very special for any fans of Max or Iggor’s music over the years. If you haven’t already secured tickets to any of the remaining shows on the Australian leg of this tour, I must insist it isn’t a show to be missed.

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