Reviewed by: Zac Duggan
Friday night saw the first Australian show of U.S. band Citizen. The 5 piece from Michigan who refuse to be easily classified into a genre were supported by local bands Ratking and Flowermouth at Amplifier Bar. Ratking started the show to a pretty mellow crowd, the lead singer did an incredible job of screaming his heart out the whole set despite being violently ill between songs.
Amp’s favourites Flowermouth started with “Make your Mind” and kept the energy going through their entire set. Every member put on a flawless show, especially the thrashing head drummer Colby Bignell. The band played two new songs for the local crowd, with a new single and further material soon to be released.
The night however belonged to Citizen, bringing back a 90’s punk feel to 2015.
At the merch table, “Citizen Australian Tour” shirts were unfortunately labelled with Australia’s most distasteful and overused southern cross logo.
But the crowd forgave them as lead singer Mat Kereke stormed onstage wearing a trucker’s hat, baggy jeans and Air Maxes, looking and sounding more stereotypically American than fries and ketchup.
Right from the start, “Roam the Room” echoed around Amplifier offering a mix of catchy grunge riffs and haunting melodies. This fusion of punk, aggression and mature angst is what makes their 2013 release “Youth” so pervasive and engaging.
By the second song, the bar was full and all attention was directed towards the band. The crowd heckled in support and Citizen continued to play more big songs from their album like the emotional single “The Summer” and the melodious and dark “The Night I Drove Alone”.
The crowd began to bounce around and soon people were stage diving and slipping over within the circle of shoving on the beer covered moshpit. In true punk form, the band urged the crowd on to scream the words and get involved, showing why they are fast becoming an underground crowd favourite.
The band played one song from their Altered States EP and nearly their whole Youth album, continually revealing uplifting and powerful tunes that had the whole audience rising and falling with Kerekes profoundly honest lyrics. Their whole set was an assault of angst, aggression and well grafted songwriting as tracks slowed off only to build into an explosive crescendo of crowd surfing and yelling.
Citizen proved themselves as the latest heavyweights in the revival of 90’s sounding melodic grunge that is emerging from the bones of pop punk.