GIG REVIEW: Voyager, Acolyte, The Stranger – Sydney, August 19th 2022

Crowbar - Sydney, NSW

Voyager - Crowbar, Sydney 2022 | Photo Credit: Adam Sivewright

Having only caught Voyager for the first time when they were shafted as part of the ‘Eurovision – Australia decides’ ridiculousness, I was eager to see them on their own terms when they next came to Sydney. Given that Crowbar was as full as I’d seen it since COVID, I clearly wasn’t alone in that thought! The queue that stretched through the bar to the front door contained plenty of Eurofans scattered amongst the Prog fans & old school metalheads. Seeing that the room stayed fairly full for all 3 bands is a credit to the bands & the punters, given that they stayed & watched all of the bands & didn’t hang about in the beer garden until the headliner. 

This was only The Stranger’s 2nd Sydney show in 8 years, and they were welcomed back with open arms. The Brisbane band lit things up early, undoubtedly having drawn a sizable portion of the early crowd on their own. Thumping grooves, wailing lead guitars & soaring choruses, throw in some serious funk chops, and some detours into Death Metal territory… there’s something for every taste on the Stranger’s buffet.

Acolyte from Melbourne (Sponsored by Orange Amps?) overcame a bit of a muddy sound early to really put their stamp on the evening. Singer Morgan-Leigh Brown commanding the room’s attention with her magnificent voice (no backing vocals here folks), the guitarist had a really nice sound, weaving his licks throughout the symphonic synth bed, while the bass player loomed menacingly adding some tasty low end with his 6 string weapon. Morgan is clearly having fun tonight, and her smile is infectious, the crowd singing along with the tunes. While she dedicates one to the OG’s, Acolyte won plenty of new friends tonight as well.

As I mentioned earlier on, the Crowbar is now as full as I’ve seen it since the pandemic began, and Voyager come on to a Hero’s welcome. With opening salvo Colours and Breaking Down all manic energy and Rock Star shapes, the band are plainly in fighting form, Frontman Danny Estin playing the master of ceremonies superbly. Submarine then surfaces, complete with comedy costumes, which provides the surreal spectacle of a hammerhead shark on drums, a Lobster & a ….Mermaid (?) on guitar, with Danny’s wig looking WAY more Marilyn Monroe than the ‘King Neptuned’ of  the music video.

Brightstar and Water Over the Bridge have the crowd singing along, while the Devil in Me is another highlight, with an extended drum intro from Ashley segueing into Hyperventilating. The drummer and the Bass Player Alex Canion provide a huge rocket under the bands sound (especially live), Alex’s vocals also adding a definite edge to the songs. By the time we get to Dreamer, the whole room is bouncing. The band respond in kind, with their own synchronised spinning routine. (This is a band that understands the word showmanship)

The inevitable encore teases Smoke on the Water and a guitar / keytar duel,  before the guitarists Simone & Scott, who have been crackling bundles of energy all night, launch into Lost, before finishing with the Euro-Metal masterpiece (?) that is White Shadow.

While Voyager certainly have plenty of new-romantic elements in their sound, they’re unquestionably a Metal band, But that doesn’t seem to have frightened the newcomer Eurofans at all! The room is collectively Voyager’s tonight. They’re undeniably a unique prospect in this country, and the mass media coverage seems to have won them many new admirers.  While it would have been fantastic to see Voyager let loose on the Eurovision stage, the coverage that they received from even being in the mix should see them playing on bigger stages than this in the future.


Review by Biggs  |  Photos by Adam Sivewright


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The Stranger, Acolyte

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