Melbourne has always had a soft spot for The Getaway Plan. Local fans were shattered when they split up in 2009, right after they hit the mainstream with “Where The City Meets The Sea”. Luckily for Melbournians (and everyone else), less than two years passed before they reformed. Since then, they’ve been going from strength to strength, from playing the Big Day Out earlier this year to Groovin’ The Moo in Bendigo. So it wasn’t too surprising that, although it was a cold night, people were lining up outside the Corner Hotel over an hour before the doors opened.

Local band Strickland kicked off proceedings with fairly standard, but surprisingly charming punk rock. Built On Secrets followed, who have opened for The Getaway Plan before, and it’s clear why they’re back. The Melbourne five-piece played an incredibly tight set, totally in sync the whole time. Seeing them live, it’s hard to believe they aren’t better known. They were followed by New Empire and while their vocals were a bit hit and miss, they played a cheery, fun pop-punk and managed to engage the crowd more than the previous two acts.

Finally, The Getaway Plan. After their hiatus and new album, they seem to have developed a taste for the theatrical. The stage was shrouded in smoke and blinding white light as they arrived on stage, bursting straight into “Phantoms” with devastating intensity.

This band has always had the gift of invoking emotions with their music, and they’ve only gotten better at it. Around half the set was taken from their latest album, the critically well-received Requiem, and fans seemed to know all the lyrics. Floppy-haired frontman Matthew Wright demonstrated his usual charisma and ease on stage, moving from the beautiful high notes of “S.T.A.R.S.” to the seemingly effortless screams of “The New Year”, the sole song they played from their Hold Conversation EP. Many of the songs from Other Voices, Other Rooms, inspired the crowd to sing along, especially “Sleep Spindles”, which saw Wright turn his microphone to the ecstatic crowd.

The whole show was beautifully choreographed, perfectly run and close to flawless. The Getaway Plan’s showmanship has improved by bounds: one such example is the two floor toms set up on the far sides of the stage. These were used for only one song, “Heartstone”, in which bassist Dave Anderson and guitarist Clint Splattering reinforced Aaron Barnett’s simple, but powerful beat.

They ended with the usual: their biggest hit to date, “Where The City Meets The Sea”. Any worries that their hiatus had damaged the band in any way disappeared. There’s no doubt that The Getaway Plan have regained all their former glory, and then some.

– Sharona Lin

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