The last time I saw the Cavalera brothers play together on a stage, was during the 1996 Roots tour at the Newport Centre in Wales. A gig which no one knew at the time would be their final outing together as Sepultura. Fast forward twenty years and one half of Sepultura has come together once again, to wow the unwashed masses with a complete run through of their seminal album Roots.
The setting for this triumphant return is a beautifully decorated art deco cinema in the leafy suburb of Mount Lawley, just a few minutes north of the Perth CBD. Not your usual venue for such a hard thrashing band, but recently it has become host to some of the best hard rock and heavy metal concerts to hit Western Australia. The acoustics in this ancient building are amazing, it’s almost like you are listening to the show on your best set of earphones.
Kicking off the show tonight are Welsh rap, reggae, metal band Skindred. Frontman Benji Webbe, formerly of the band Dub War is in fine voice tonight, resplendent in his dreadlocked headdress and bringing his finest comedy between-song banter and form of Tourette’s to the stage. The band rip through a heavy hitting nine-song set which includes all the fan favorites “Under Attack”, “Kill The Power” et al and the set is punctuated throughout with snippets of hip-hop beats and garage. It confuses the Aussie metal crowd, but it all makes for an interesting and wild show.
As the lights go down for the headlining set, Brazilian native instruments buzz and hang in the air along with the sounds of the rainforest wildlife. The roar of the crowd erupts to the shadowy figures of the band emerging from the wings, the first chords of “Roots Bloody Roots” cut through the air and we’re off. Max Cavalera is in fine voice tonight, not that he needs to be with the volume he’s receiving back from the crowd in attendance. They play through the album in sequential order, with crowd favorite “Attitude” up next, closely followed by “Cut Throat” and the Portuguese drumathon that is “Ratamahatta”. Even though Roots is a great album, it does start to drone on a bit towards the end and, when it finally comes to a close, the lights go down and the screams for an encore begin.
Up to this point, this is everything I wanted from the show tonight but it all went a bit topsy-turvy from there. For some reason, when Max and Iggor return to the stage, it’s without the other band members and they run through some shortened and hollow sounding versions of Sepultura classics “Refuse/Resist” and “Territory” from the Chaos A.D. album. From there on in, it gradually gets worse with Max explaining to the crowd that they had been working on a cover during sound check of the AC/DC classic “T.N.T.” Unfortunately, from the first chords to the last, this is the worst and most out of tune cover version of this song I have ever heard. They then play a slightly sped up version of the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades” and, if it all ended there, it would’ve been perfect, but then the chords of “Roots Bloody Roots” started to run through the air again into a heap of feedback and it was all over.
If I had to rate this gig it would be a good 7/10 just for the playthrough of Roots and the ferocity of Iggor Cavalera‘s tribal rhythms.
Setlist for Perth
Roots Bloody Roots
Refuse/Resist / Territory
Ace of Spades
Roots Bloody Roots (fast version)