Shihad are arguably New Zealand’s most successful band ever, it’s their thirtieth Anniversary tour and it’s also the venues Fowlers last night, so let’s celebrate the evening accordingly. Shihad’s list of achievements are impressive, with five number one albums across the ditch, unmatched by any other NZ band. They are kiwi rock royalty and tonight we get share their regal punk rock history.

Opening proceedings are The Dead Love from Sydney. The three-piece rockers take to the tight confines of the stage with riff driven punk rock. The songs get the filling Fowlers crowd whooping up a cheer. It’s not all fast punk, sometimes it’s slow and heavy, showcasing the bands ability to change the pace. They were their influences on their sleeve with hints of Nirvana are infused all throughout their music. An impressive start to the nights proceedings.

Brisbane’s Young Lions take the stage to tune up then go straight into their set in a low-key way. Their show is anything but low key though. Their relentless touring schedule, on the back of three successful albums, has allowed the band to fine hone their stage presence.

They’re a blend of melodic punk rock and the boys down the front in their party hats lead the crowd in head banging and singing back every word. Singer Zach Britt jumps from the stage and only a short mic cord stops him from getting right into the pit and in your face. A cover of Powderfinger’s (Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind sets the tone for the party atmosphere in the venue tonight.

Shihad enter to Metallica’s Battery before You Think You’re So Free forcefully rocks everyone’s head back and forth. This is the first call – of many – to arms for the packed crowd tonight. Already the crowd begins to chant throughout the drum beat driven song.

The band have an eclectic back catalogue, which they delve through with the punk rock numbers sitting alongside the rock driven dance beat of Alive. Comfort Me is another singing favourite while Run gets the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end before the solo ambience of Brightest Star slows things down.

Shihad know how to get a packed house involved with the ballistic My Minds Sedate engaging the crowd to clap away before the venue is light up with mobile cameras for Pacifier. The chaos continues with the room dancing for Home Again, complete with a cappella singing duet with the crowd before the old school La La Land blasts in.

The band finish with brutally heavy versions of Factory and Cheap As to a roaring audience. Every band mentioned this was Fowlers last show and Shihad, multiple visitors to the venue, have played a show worthy. The crowd was raucous, the band chaotic, the venue legendary. Thank you Shihad for celebrating your thirty years with us. Thank you for the fitting and majestic send off the venue deserved.

Live Review by Iain McCallum