‘This song’s about my dead dad.’ On Friday night, Melbourne band Ceres proved that the ’91 Your House’ Tour was a night that could not be forgotten. The four-piece put out their sophomore album, ‘Drag it Down on You’ in September last year and it’s one that was praised exceptionally well, and for good reason too. The last time I was at a show where there was such a strong emotional connection between both the band and their music was when I was 15 and at My Chemical Romance. What’s so special about seeing a band like Ceres is that strong bond to the music and their ability to make an audience go wild with passion. Supporting Ceres on the night at the Howler was a sweet lineup of local talent including The Football Club, Neighbourhood Youth and Jess Locke who all put on exceptional performances.
First up, a solo performance by the singer of Footscray’s very own The Football Club. Describing themselves as ‘folk-punk’, the usual four-piece are quite obviously much more than what they say they are. With a heavy focus on place in their songs that is uniquely Melbourne-based, their music is relatable and honest, which has the capacity to make you cry and make you laugh at the same time. Singer, Ruby Markwell hid behind her hair most of the set, but was so enjoyable to watch as she strummed her guitar with such vigour. Markwell tells picturesque real-life stories in her lyrics, which whilst standing watching, can take you to another world. A highlight of the set was ‘Ivy’, a new single from the band that is purely raw, lo-fi bliss. One of the most emotionally charged songs that focuses on transitioning and change, it definitely was one that showed the pitfalls of life and society.
Neighbourhood Youth wowed the crowd with their energy and friendly onstage dynamic. Actually, I’ve never seen a bass player try so hard to play a bass guitar like an electric. The band were fun indie rock with low soothing undertones. Sounding a little like Birds of Tokyo, the band played beautiful track ‘Atlantic’ as well as treated to the audience of a mashup that consisted mainly of Arcade Fire’s ‘Neighbourhoods #1 (Tunnels)’.
Next comes Jess Locke, a singer/songwriter based in Melbourne, Locke carries the audience away with her sweet voice and sun-soaked guitar sounds. The band is soothing yet loud. Locke and band are drenched in an array of soft pink and blue lighting which complimented the dreaminess of their music. Naturally, Locke’s music has a predominantly nostalgic aura about it, with her song ‘Change the Sheets’ embracing a sweet, yet haunting sound.
Finally, the time we had all been waiting for. The large Howler band room goes dark, lit by a moving image of a burning house over static, similar to that of a moving plane consumed the space. Ceres finally came onstage to a crowd of screaming fans. Opening the set belting older tune ‘Jam Song’ the band thrashed around the stage in a mass of hair and an essence of freedom.
2017 continues to be a big year for the band, having released the absolute pearl that is 2016’s ‘Drag it Down on You’ the boys showed the fans at Howler exactly what they’re made of. What’s so inspiring about their performance is their energy. In addition to that, it is easy to tell that a feeling of love fills the room, one that is shared between both the band and the fans, evident clearly through the effort put into the performance, but also the passion that the fans have whilst singing back.
The setlist consisted mainly of songs from their new album, including ‘Happy in Your Head’, ‘Roll your Eyes’ and ‘Talking’. A highlight, however was ‘Laundry Echo’. As soon as the song started the crowd responded in absolute madness, moving about like crashing waves. Singer, Tom Lanyon is an entirely charismatic frontman. His story-like lyrics are both heart-wrenching and brutally reflective. There is a clear distinction between Ceres’ louder, more angry songs and their quieter songs, which both reflect an essence of self-criticism as well as that of nostalgia. The diversity between these songs really allow the audience to form a stronger connection with the music, but also allows the audience only a little respite from the madness of the crowd. On the night, the band also played softer track ‘Del Del’ for the first time in front of a live crowd, as well as a few favourites from debut album ‘I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here’ like ‘I Feel Fine, I Feel Sick’; ‘Three Times’ and ‘Syllables’.
In between songs, Tom would respond to crowd cries, including that of ‘DO A SHOEY’, instead, replying that he was doing his ‘shoey-lace’ to great discontent. Before introducing tour title, ’91, Your House’, the band asks whether the audience is feeling happy and are having a good time to which is suddenly cut short by Tom blurting ‘this song’s about my dead dad’. With the accompanying image of the burning house behind the band, Tom sings about a broken family singing ‘Home is just a house when it’s you and me alone’. Closing the set was fan favourite ‘Baby’s Breath’. I say a fan favourite because the group of girls behind me were laughing and yelling ‘PLAY BABY’S BREATH’ the entire night.
The ’91, Your House’ tour was one of the most enjoyable shows I have been to in a long time. Between the feelings of love and passion eliciting from the crowd, you can tell that Ceres is one of the most meaningful and authentic bands to come out of Melbourne, and from here on out they’ll just get bigger and better. The ‘91 Your House’ tour continues around Australia until the 19th of March, and is one show that I implore you to go and see.