The music industry is sinking. It has been pretty much since Napster, why would a consumer pay for something they can easily access for free? As such actual recorded music is no longer a profitable source of income for bands. Live music is now where most of a band’s money is made, an area where the record labels have no power and little percentage cut. As a move to make live experiences more desirable and unique, bands have started to employ several gimmicks – bigger production values, dual-headliners, and more intimate shows – but the most popular seems to be playing a classic album live in its entirety. Reign In Blood, Hybrid Theory, The Blue Album, and Smash have recently been performed to increase the must-see value of a gig. The next logically step must be to play TWO classic albums in their entirety, as InMe attempt to do on this tour.
Because of InMe’s mammoth 24-song setlist we are only treated to one support band – the 90’s Seattle-influenced Dorje. Their mixture of Alice In Chains tempos, grungified Guns N’ Roses soloing and full-bodied Chris Cornell-inspired vocals is warmly received by the what little crowd there is present early enough to see them. Ending with the towering ‘White Dove’, its chugging riffage and double climax gets a reaction almost like enjoyment. A minor success.
After an enthusiastically received ‘Underdose’ and ‘Firefly’ it soon becomes apparent that, in-spite of its nostalgia-value, Overgrown Eden, InMe’s 2003 debut album, kind of sucks. It shows itself to be an album written by teenagers plagued by bad lyricism and numerous sing-along moments about killing oneself; the band playing these songs, now over a decade older, are visibly embarrassed by their former selves. Frontman Dave McPherson is good humouredly self-deprecating about how much of a slog the first half of tonight’s set is, ably joking about the over-ambitiousness of their setlist and a bothersome smoke machine. Singles ‘Crushed Like Fruit’ and ‘Neptune’ are solid, energetic rockers, and the album’s rampaging concluding track ‘Mosaic’ spawns the first mosh pit of the evening, but the reason why the majority of their debut has slipped from recent setlists is fairly obvious.
While Overgrown Eden is 3-stars at best, InMe’s follow-up White Butterfly is closer to being described as a “classic album”. After a brief intermission the band return, more confidence, more rocking and decidedly tipsier, the crowd density at the front of the stage increases – these 12 songs are why people are here. A killer riff-tastic run-through of ‘7 Weeks’ is followed by a crowd-movingly danceable ‘So You Know’. The sudden increase in songwriting ability is tangible, the crowd response becoming more fevered, McPherson peppering his banter with more “Thank you kindly”s. A ballroom dance of death accompanies the breakdown of ‘Faster the Chase’. As the band finish their perhaps over-long set with a thrilling ‘Chamber’ finale, its “Tell me why I am lying here with you every night” refrain being screamed back at the band, something becomes clear. While unique performances will go some way to increase concert ticket sales, the communal aspect of singing along, sharing emotions safe in a room full of people is never something that will be able to be replicated elsewhere. This ship isn’t sinking yet.