In the Flesh! Band of Skulls @ Oxford Art Factory

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Images & Review – Annette Geneva

Southhampton rockers Band of Skulls are touring Australia this month on the back of their fourth album By Default (released May 2016). Playing three shows in New South Wales (including Newcastle and Wollongong), Russell Marsden, Emma Richardson and Matt Hayward take the stage of Oxford Art Factory by storm on this fine Sunday evening!

After seeing this band for the fourth time tonight, I can honestly say this was their greatest show! Marsden really engaged with the crowd and the whole band, including fourth touring member, looked like they were absolutely stoked to be there! So here are:

10 Things I Learned at a Sunday Night Band of Skulls Show

1. If it’s a rock show from an international band it will pull people into the venue, even a late one! Even when tomorrow punters will pay for all the fun they had by feeling the pain of waking up stupid o’clock for work.

2. Band of Skulls has a wide range of a fanbase. It was great to see older fans rocking out and proudly sporting their BoS merch. What seemed like a quiet crowd for the first two songs, as soon as Marsden played first few chords of Himalayan people in first few rows started reaching their hands out and singing along to their third album’s title track! Which takes me to my next observation:

3. Being off your face and being an asshole in the crowd is frowned upon, even at a rock show! I get it, you are a big fan, you go to a show with your mates, you get pissed and you take pleasure in disrespecting the people in front of you. But that not only interrupts punters enjoying the show, it also adds to the experience being ruined. The band is on stage, watch them pour their souls out for every single person on that dance floor! Do not be a d*ckhead!

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4. Intimate venues provide a better fan experience. I have seen this band play bigger stages before. They can own any size of a stage and crowd with massive hits like Asleep at the Wheel and I know what I am, which were played during the encore. But hearing Death By Diamonds and Pearls at a smaller sized venue like Oxford Art Factory and watching the crowd going absolutely mental is such a one of a kind high for everybody involved. I’m talking: crowd surfing, high fiving the band and some serious sing alongs. As I mentioned before, I feel like this show was their most engaging to date.

5. When the band brings out a new album and want it to have the same success their previous ones had they are evidently absolutely stoked to see fans sing along to new songs! Both Richardson and Marsden were all smiles! “Its takes so long to come to Australia, but its always worth it!” Marsden said.

6. A strong set list makes for a better show! Planning a set list takes skill, it takes good judgement of the response for the songs you write. If you are a band like Band of Skulls, who released four solid and successful albums you make sure the set list is the best representation of your band possible! These guys absolutely nailed it!

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7. The Drummer is the foundation of a rock show! I love three piece bands. I love how great these guys work as a team tying the melody together and Hayward provides a strong foundation for that melody, with both Richardson and Marsden providing not only bass and guitar talents but also vocals. Personally I thought Patterns with Richards on vocals sounded exactly as it does on record.

8. It’s always a challenge to play new, not so grounded in your fanbase songs, live. Band of Skulls opened with In Love By Default and played Bodies, Black Magic and So Good off their new record By Default. So Good with Richardson’s lingering vocals sounded like an old school rock classic with a super catchy and funky chorus.

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9. When you witness the band you came to see look and act like they are absolutely stoked to be there at the end of the show, you leave absolutely satisfied, exhausted and still really buzzing, because in your head you know everybody involved was exactly where they wanted to be in that moment.

10. A complete lack of band merch was disappointing, but you know what to do? Go buy the new album, go see this band play – its totally worth it and you know you want to.

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WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE – FULL GALLERY

Annette Geneva

Annette likes to commute from the mountains and take pictures of cool people. She's a big fan of art, movies and Mexican food and she's one of our favourite people.
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