LIVE REVIEW – THE MARK OF CAIN – The Gov -Friday 25 October 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
Firstly, a round of applause for Adelaide concert goers. It may not have been the biggest crowd ever at The Gov but I don’t remember a bigger one. It was wall to wall people and the outside area was also crowded.
From Washington D.C., The Messthetics opened proceedings with their form of instrumental jazz/fusion/ experimental punk. The band consists of two former members of Fugazi, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty along with guitarist Anthony Pirog. With no vocals, the sound maybe carefree and sounding like a jam, but the tunes are very structured. At times you can hear Rush, sans vocals, or a hint of Pink Floyd as the music changes ultra-quickly from doodling to shredding. The band played tracks from both of their albums, opening with The Assignment and closing with Crowds and Power. Impressive.
The Mark of Cain return to the stage celebrating 30 years of their debut album Battlesick. Originally released via indie label Dominator, Battlesick sounded like no other Australian album before it (or since perhaps). It did not chart in Australia and was barely heard outside of Adelaide; however, it came to the attention of one Henry Rollins. “Like I heard the song Wake Up and I was like ‘whooah’, I woke up! And then I heard the song Battlesick and it was all over for me, that’s just an amazing song.” Henry financed and produced The Mark of Cain 19995 breakthrough album Ill at Ease.
The brothers John (guitar) and Kim Scott (bass) still front the band along with drummer Eli Green, who has been touring with the them since 2014. The crowd maybe getting a little older but they all still wear black and proudly display their favourite metal bands. The band receives enthusiastic applause as they walk on stage and after a few quiet words about how they evening will run, explode into Wake Up, the opening track from Battlesick. The first set is the complete album, “some of these songs have never been played live” explained John, from start to finish. The volume is high, the music aggressive and the mosh pit wild. The song Battlesick is the stand out song from an album full of standout songs.
Once the album is completed, John announces a short 10-minute interval and they would be back to play a few other songs. True to his word they were back right on 10 minutes and into Interloper. The second set seemed to raise all levels slightly higher, the volume, the heaviness and also the crowd in the mosh pit. Classic Mark of Cain tracks like Retaliate, Familiar Territory and The Contender were vicious.
The show is no frills, often the band were only under white lights and John and Kim would not have taken more than 2 steps from their designated spot all evening. It was all about the music and pummelling the audience into submission. There was very little talking from John, in fact he only introduced one song, Heart of Stone, but then there was no need to introduce any songs as the audience already knew every note and every word.
There was no encore. The band played the set, finishing with the power of Point Man before John humbly telling everyone to “drive home safely”.
Brutal but beautiful.