Black masses, congregate! The wolves are back, so come bare witness to Sweden’s unmerciful and …
DZ DEATHRAYS with Clowns, These New South Whales & Boat Show
Thursday 24 May, 2018
The Triffid, Brisbane
When we arrive at The Triffid before doors open for this evening’s DZ Deathrays headline run, there’s some kind of beer-oriented promo event happening in the beer garden. It’s all very fun and fancy and official looking, so naturally we’re not invited; instead, we rustle up a frothy beverage and park ourselves under the heater for some good old-fashioned people watching. There are a few blokes who look like they keep Tarocash in business, and a bunch of ladies in scarves, because, you know, it’s suddenly ‘May-In-Queensland’. One dude with dreadlocks cuts the spitting image of Rob Zombie, and when he turns around from the bar with a Bundy Rum tinnie firmly grasped, we see he’s actually wearing a Rob Zombie t-shirt too, which is some definite ‘universe-in-alignment’ deep-astrology type shit. Also, let’s talk about the bangers the promo event DJ is firing off here: Beastie Boys banger Ch-Check It Out, Dancing In The Dark by The Boss, Kokomo from The Beach Boys, and a left-field selection of Van Halen’s Dreams. (Fun fact: at the risk of dating this reviewer somewhat, we used to have this track bootlegged on a cassette as a child from The Power Rangers film soundtrack. Ageing is weird.)
Moving in to the band room for the main event, openers Boat Show have come all the way from Fremantle for tonight’s gig, and from the first rung note you can tell they’re definitely ready to party. The room might be half empty to begin with, but the WA quintet treats it like a headline bill, smashing through track after unruly track. Their sound is straight-up, no frills indie punk; think the reckless abandon of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs party playlist, mixed with the shrill, socially conscious, blood-pumping fury of Bikini Kill. Frontwoman and blonde bomb Ali Flintoff is clad in a white tee with her first name casually sharpied on in big bold letters, while drummer Sam Maher spends the set cradled around his kit with an intense and hypnotizing jazz swing, looking somewhat like Muppets favourite Animal tranqed up on ketamine. The band playfully blitz through tracks from last year’s Groundbreaking Masterpiece and recent record Unbelievable, with notable tracks including: Cis White Boy, Toxic, Can’t Deal and personal highlight, The Big Smoke, which features a particularly relevant chorus refrain (eat shit newfound Melbournites). Between songs, Flintoff’s banter is thick and fast with an abrupt sardonic wit, but when someone points out her shirt and hastily written moniker, she fiercely rebuffs them (and the crowd by extension) with: “My eyes are up here, cunts,”—all in jest of course.
Next up, These New South Whales barrel on to the stage and it’s certainly a sight to behold. With a visual aesthetic that practically screams ‘working class Rammstein’ (complete with fishnets and nipple tape), and a sound hovering between the industrial edge of Nine Inch Nails and New Order at their most laconic, you’d be forgiven for thinking this might just be a bit too much for tonight’s mostly millennial crowd. However, the Newcastle boys bring their A-game and the crowd is quickly won over, with standout tracks like the tongue-in-cheek Cholesterol Heart (God Bless Ya) and the rollicking Space In Hell. Every band is playing like they’re the headliner tonight and this quartet are no expectation. Vocalist Jamie ‘The Workhorse’ Timony gives a commanding–if sometimes loose– performance, casually dropping the band’s television series on Comedy Central (complete with URL; uttered three times, just so it really sinks in) and at one point, he checks in with a no-doubt nervous and awkwardly confessional, drug-taking youth up on the All Ages balcony (“Just letting it froth under your tongue there, brother?”). With strobing lights dancing across the smiling faces of the crowd, their set is a little bit sweaty, a little bit sexy, and every bit snarling confusion.
Roughly this time last year, we were watching Clowns rip The Zoo a new one, as they toured the country in support of their most recent record, Lucid Again. And while they might be back in Brissy as supports this time round, they still hit the stage like a fucking wrecking ball. If we’re being completely honest, we don’t even really remember that much distinctly—it’s all a blur of flailing limbs and spilled beers and unfulfilled shoeys. Here’s a quickfire list of shit we can remember though: bulk crowd surfing; the psychedelic fuzz of Dropped My Brain; vocalist Stevie Williams whipping the mic around his neck like a helicopter; the full-throttle energy of Euthanise Me; the veins in bassist Hanny J’s neck popping out as she screams along to a whole bunch of verses; the epic build-up in Pickle; drummer Jake Laderman’s mod hair bowl; seeing Hysteria’s own Matt Walter crossing the stage for cheeky snaps during Williams’ many stage-dives; the LSD-maelstrom of Destroy The Evidence towards their set’s end. One thing’s for sure though, the Victorian quintet may have come a long way from their humble skate punk/hardcore beginnings, but they haven’t lost any of their bite.
As thrash is suddenly spliced in to a WAAX track over the PA, the Triffid gets packed to the brim in anticipation for hometown heroes DZ Deathrays. This Bloody Lovely tour is their biggest headline run yet, with tonight being the first of three sold out hometown shows. Evidently, supporting legends like the Foo Fighters and having a kick-arse third record pays dividends. As the duo of vocalist/guitarist Shane Parsons and drummer Simon Ridley take to the stage (playing as a three-piece, with touring guitarist Lachlan Ewbank on stage right), the Triffid crowd is suitably revved up and ready to go. So when the opening licks of the seasonally apposite Shred For Summer ring out, everything kicks right into gear. Parsons screams and shouts, the crowd screams back just as hard, and the whole room turns into a seething, dishevelled mess. Rolling into Pollyanna, the call and response from the crowd is absolutely nuts, and the crew of millennials in front of us cannot Snapchat what’s happening fast enough.
New album and tour namesake Bloody Lovely dominates tonight’s set, which is understandable, and new tracks like Bad Influence, Guillotine and single Like People are very warmly received. Old favourites from 2014’s Black Rat get a look in too, with the stomping, wall-of-distortion Less Out of Sync and the irreverently catchy Reflective Skull pleasing the diehards in the crowd. Ewbank and Parsons whirl around the stage, alternating between standing vocal positions and knees-on-stage guitar heroics. Ridley is a total beast on the kit, with a concussive kick drum that feels like a punch to the solar plexus, and a snare drum so tight we feel each crack of it in our Achilles tendon. Towards the set’s end, we get an obligatory encore with not one, but two tracks: a way-back inclusion of Dollar Chills from the band’s debut record, Bloodstreams, and the also-obligatory, sure-fire hit Gina Works At Hearts. The dancefloor is pumping up and down like a punk-rock pneumatic ram for the last sweat-drenched chorus, and it’s around here that Parsons demands that everyone should “get on someone’s shoulders, if you can.” Well, security personnel be damned, because we look back and count at least twenty-plus patrons dutifully following orders. When the house lights brighten things up, everyone looks a little dazed and confused, but there’s only two words appropriate enough to describe tonight’s bill: “Bloody lovely.”