Live Review & Gallery: Hands Like Houses Introduce a New Era for East Coast ‘Tropo’ Tour – Oxford Art Factory, Eora/Sydney, 16.05.2024

Thursday night at the Oxford Art Factory was a whirlwind of high-energy excitement as Hands Like Houses, the post-hardcore sensation from Canberra, took centre stage. This marked a pivotal moment in the band’s journey, with the debut of their new lead singer, Josh Raven, as part of their Tropo Tour.

Stepping in the doors, it was clear the room was packed to capacity, passionate fans lining every inch of space and still buzzing from the electrifying sets of opening acts Recast & Belle Haven. Anticipation spread through the air as fans eagerly shared around a sneaked copy of the setlist and grooved to the unexpected yet delightful intermission tunes, including timeless classics like Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’.

The ambience exuded warmth and inclusivity, hallmarks of the close-knit alt-rock and hardcore communities. This sense of unity reverberated through the crowd’s enthusiasm and camaraderie, embracing all who entered the space.

A roar erupted from the crowd as Hands Like Houses finally graced the stage. They launched into their set with ‘Heaven’ instantly showcasing Josh Raven’s dynamic presence and vocal talent in his inaugural Eora/Sydney performance with the band. The energy was contagious, prompting Raven to descend into the crowd, igniting a mosh pit during ‘Better Before’, with Belle Haven joyously rejoining the stage.

The intensity surged further as Emmy Mack of Redhook made a surprise appearance for their recent hit ‘BLOODRUSH’, released just months earlier in February. Excitement peaked as the band seamlessly intertwined fan favourites with fresh material, including their latest track ‘Panic’, which some of the band humorously admitted they were unaware had dropped that very day.

Midway through the performance, the band took a moment to address the departure of their previous lead vocalist, Trent Woodley. Amidst a few heckles from the crowd, the band emphasised their identity as a collective. “Hands Like Houses has never been just one person, we’re a community,” they declared.

Breaking from tradition, Josh rejected the conventional “one more song”, instead encouraging the audience to share in the moment. The band closed out their exhilarating set with ‘Paradise’, leaving the crowd in high spirits and reinforcing the enduring bond between the band and their dedicated fans.

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