Twenty years ago Pennywise released their fourth album Full Circle. It’s powerful, political, super fast and an emotion fuelled tribute to their fallen bass player Jason Matthew Thirsk who tragically died 12 months earlier. It is as close to a perfect album as I have ever heard, and tonight we had the privilege to hear it cover to cover.
Tonight also marked the first show at the newly constructed HQ venue, which is surprisingly similar to the old HQ in layout and feel. It also coincided with the night the LA Dodgers lost the World Series, a fitting location given most of Adelaide are still reeling after the Crows Grand Final loss just weeks ago.
Adelaide locals The Lizards opened the show and crushed it. The boys looked stoked to be sharing the stage with Pennywise, a band who has clearly been a major influence. Patty is a shredding machine and despite the early slot had good support and had the growing crowd rocking. If you don’t know these guys, do yourself a favour!
Next up were The Bronx, and shit got crazy!! The boys filed on stage Matt greeted the crowd with “brand new venue… how exciting, people everywhere like the mutha fuckin thunder-dome up in this bitch” and ripped through Sore Throat, a hot start, but nothing like what about to come. “Hey we are the Bronx from LA, LETS GO ADELAIDE”, Matt then launched into the crowd and tore through Heart Attack and Rape Zombies while inciting carnage in the pit.
Matt only retreated to the stage for one or two more songs for the whole night, claiming it was part of his healing process after the Dodgers loss to spend the night slamming in the pit “God said fuck Houston, he also said I’m not supposed to be up there tonight”. I haven’t seen anything like it, it was fuckin mayhem and all lead by the man on the mike Matt Caughthran and even more impressive was he didn’t miss a beat. Hats off man, that performance was next level!! If the Bronx are usually only half as good as they were tonight, GO AND SEE THEM next time they tour!! Their job tonight was to warm up the crowd, instead they SMASHED them! Seriously, get on YouTube and check some clips, it was absolute carnage!
Then it was time, I’ve been waiting 20 years to hear Full Circle played live and to say I was excited is under selling it.
From the opening lyric “Look all around you there’s a war that’s going on” to the closing lyric “I know you didn’t want to die” it was a flat out punk rock onslaught. Playing an album cover to cover doesn’t allow for surprises, but when the album is this good who cares. The album has no filler and definitely no dead of flat spots.
Jim and Fletcher were late on stage but in good spirits, Jim grabbed a camera from a photographer to snap a few crowd shots for the “first gig at the new HQ thunder-dome”. Also reeling from the Dodgers loss, Jim sought sympathy from the relatable Adelaide Crows crowd.
From the opening lick of Fight till you Die it was game on, the boys barely stopping for breath as they powered along. Everyone is getting older, the crowd too, but the pit was full and moving and I’m sure there are a few sore bodies heading off to work today.
Hearing Get a Life, Final Day, Every Time, What If I is a rare treat, you know its been a while when Jim has his “shoe paper” as Jonny Cash used to call it (lyrics) taped all over the stage.
Fletcher was his usual lose self and fired a few false starts, but once up and rolling is unstoppable. I love watching the big man dominate his stickered up Ibanez’s. Byron on the sticks, is elite!! Full Circle is fast and he did not miss a beat, I suppose you don’t cut a figure like his being lazy behind the skins!! And a special tour for Randy with Full Circle being his first album with the band.
As for Jim, he is the best going around, his stage presence and energy is un-touched, his signature pose is now iconic and tonight he was on. I can barely speak this morning and he does it night after night and if I’d closed my eyes I could have been at 97 Warped Tour, he still sounds that good!!
The album set was finished with the emotional tribute to Jason “Did You Really”, but clearly running out of time, the boys didn’t take a break and whipped through a short sharp hits/covers set. Same Old Story kicked it off followed by the Circle Jerks and then a Beastie Boys cover that turn into “Pennywise” which really had the pit in a frenzy. The night was finished as it always is with the final track from Full Circle Bro Hymm.
No encore left a few punters confused and wanting more, but surely everyone knows by now that Bro Hymm is the end.
What a brilliant fucking show!! Twenty year anniversaries are supposed to be nostalgic, but it didn’t have that vibe at all tonight, Pennywise are as relevant now as ever and lyrically Full Circle might even be more relevant now than when it was written!!
Review by Tim Nicholas