Tonight Alive aren’t your average band. You can tell by their fanbase, equal parts passionate and diverse, their ever-evolving aesthetic and the way they confidently command the stage.
Between the things which make Sydney’s Tonight Alive so distinct though, is a pop rock sound which has consistently enlarged since their debut, 2011’s What Are You So Scared Of?, really started gaining them traction.
By the time 2017’s Underworld came along, it sounded like the four-piece – having simultaneously announced the departure of longtime guitarist, Whakaio Taahi – had successfully cleared the stumbling blocks.
Much like the record itself, the band’s latest tour sees them edge even further away from their pop punk roots.
In stark contrast to their younger peers, and fellow Hopeless Records signing, Between You and Me, who support them on this run, Tonight Alive have ditched the three-chord approach.
Their live show follows suit, with bolt-like light flickers and thunderous drum beats ensuring the quartet throw everything they have at us. Even the guitar solos sound larger than life.
“I’ve always liked them but this is amazing,” says one fan to our right, while the group to our left are busy embracing the night’s theme of fearlessness, dancing like no one’s watching and circling their own makeshift dance floor. It’s hard not to catch them in the corner of your eye, simply because that sense of elevation and confidence is what Tonight Alive exude so prominently.
As for the setlist, old favourites like Listening, What Are You So Scared of? and Lonely Girl offer a familiar buzz, but it’s newer songs like Temple and Book of Love which invigorate the four members as a unit on stage.
“Our job is to make you feel the most free you’ve ever felt in your life,” vocalist Jenna McDougall explains, “And it’s your job to take that feeling outside of this venue.”
If the smiles of those singing back to her are anything to go by, Tonight Alive have delivered on their promise once again.
As for what happens next? We can’t wait to see.
See more photos from Tonight Alive’s 2018 Underworld Tour – taken by Jay Wennington in Melbourne