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Zo Damage's undying dedication to Melbourne's music scene pays off in 'The Damage Report'

Zo Damage, a prolific photographer for Melbourne's underground music scene, is celebrating her tenth year of being a published music photographer. She commemorated this by challenging herself to photograph 365 gigs over 365 days. The Damage Report is an exhibition of this challenge.

As is fitting for an exhibition of music photography, each night is accompanied by a concert from a diverse array of Melbourne's local acts. Volume I was a killer representation of Melbourne's local metal scene.
 
Opening the night was two-piece grindcore act, Dead Root. It must be said, Dead Root didn’t give the most polished performance imaginable, with sizable intermissions between some tracks and more than a few lapses leading to song restarts. Yet both musicians played this off with a sense of humour, and ultimately the performance felt like grindcore at its most authentic and raw.
 
On next were TTTDC, who have been on the scene since 2011. TTTDC is a band somewhat harder to pin down in terms of genre or style, evidently drawing from an eclectic array of influences. What was consistent in their performance was some truly stellar musicianship. Brilliant melodies shone out from the chaos and noise, and the listener was left thinking, "Damn, they can really play those instruments."
 
Following TTTDC, Swidgen gave their all, playing a sort of sludgey, stoner metally goodness. Swidgen's drummer had a fortississimo tattoo proudly displayed on his shoulder, and that really was the best representation of their performance. Their no-holds-barred approach led to two broken drumsticks and two broken guitar strings, but they took this in their stride and the crowd was left energised and exhilirated.
 
Ending the night was stoner metal act Holy Serpent. Though forming only in 2014, Holy Serpent have made waves on the local and national scene. They delivered a performance of flawless rhythmic synchronisation, compelling song structures, and catchy-as-hell riffs. The vocals emerged from the mix somehow ethereal, leading to the suggestion that the performance was best described by one word: hypnotising.
 
On the whole, Volume I of the Damage Report was a concert difficult to criticise, high on energy, and left the listener wanting more.
 
By Sam Gaffney
 
Highlight: Swidgen's impromptu drum/bass duet rock-out due to a broken guitar string.
 
Lowlight: A few too many 'sneaky' farts from concert-goers hoping to blend into the crowd.
 
Crowd Favourite: A member of TTTDC saving Swidgen's guitarist from a second on-stage string change with the spontaneous loan of a fresh instrument. Helping a brother out.