Oh Slash fans it has been a WHILE hasn’t it? Worry no more: the legendary …
JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED with She Cries Wolf, Endless & Ivorylane
The Brightside, Brisbane
Tuesday April 24th, 2018
So, the Gallipoli Campaign was 103 years ago … which is pretty wild when you think about it. Fast forward to now, and there’s a bunch of young hardcores lining up at the Brightside on a Tuesday evening to get a little silly and pre-game their soon-to-be nursed hangovers for the upcoming public holiday.
We’re not sure if Ivorylane is a Blood Diamond reference that we can’t quite place, but watching their set is essentially like playing a game of ‘Hardcore Band Bingo’ (check them off yourself, for those playing at home): various members wearing some form of sleeveless merch; a song that begins with a breakdown; one dude in <insert code here> sports jersey; guitarist holding his ‘axe’ up by the fret at some point, gazing intently at the crowd for acknowledgment; one dude with a backwards hat and/or hand tattie; rehearsed stomp moves; a telegraphed breakdown to finish a song. Musically, it’s an earnest performance, but if you’ve been to a show in the last fifteen years or so, then listening to a bunch of borrowed In Flames riffs, passed through a filter of As I Lay Dying demos circa 2003–complete with an over-compressed mix, everything sitting in the mid-range and gain cranked up to 6000–is hardly going to challenge your expectations of what an opening band should be.
Sunshine Cast outfit Endless take a strictly no-frills approach to tough guy hardcore with their curiously short set, and tonight’s crowd needs only the slightest encouragement before the dedicated start to swing fists. Tracks like Generation S and S.O.T.R. get a solid and enthusiastic response for the revellers up on the deck, spectating on the scrimmage down below. There’s a definite Bitter End/Down To Nothing flavour to their sound at times, and someone next to us remarks to their associate: “It’s kind of like Mindsnare,” which causes us to both guffaw and dive into our beer in the same gesture.
Next up are Gold Coast wrecking crew She Cries Wolf. The four-piece are certainly no strangers to The Brightside stage, and before the lights dim there’s already a heavy throng up front, pulling the brim down on their snapbacks and dad hats, seemingly ready for war. Must be that time of year we guess. There’s a wild, manic energy to their set as they barrel through banger after banger from 2016’s Doubt record. Anthemic tracks like Chapter II and We’re All Arsonists get the crowd fist-pumping and (somewhat hilariously) stage diving. The mosh contingent comes out for Midnight and its pneumatic mid-section, and we’re stoked to see some ladies representing in the pit, where one lass is wearing a pink polo long-sleeve and looks like she’d definitely carve up at lacrosse. Old favourite Baal gets a look in, and has punters scrambling over each other to rip the mic out of vocalist Luke Harriss’ hands, screaming along to the “Put down your rifle/run for your life” gang vocal. Guitarist Daniel Belic decides to spend his birthday with his strap in his mouth, working the edge of the pit with a murderous glare in his eyes. The band wraps up their set with new track Cultist, which Harriss remarks is a ‘new beginning’ for the band and it’s a total barn-burner: mercifully short, loaded with incendiary lyrics and a devastating breakdown as finale. Here’s hoping for a new album sometime soon.
With tonight’s headliners Justice For The Damned coming all the way from Sydney, we’re pleased to see some solid mid-week attendance, as the room fills up from the stage and back up the stairs to the bar. Things get off to a shaky start, with the band’s opening track suffering from technical difficulties and some glaring obvious clipping and distortion. However, once that’s fixed, the HM-2 inspired outfit get down to business and quickly work the crowd into overdrive. There’s a reason Justice’s ‘hey, let’s do Nails, but also breakdowns’ sound has resonated with crowds both domestic and abroad: it’s just a whole lot of fun. Ragers like Lilac and the title track from 2017’s exceptional Dragged Through The Dirt are disgusting in the best possible way: grimy riffs, frosty blast beats and cavernous drum fills, alongside caustic vocals courtesy of indominable frontman Bobak Rafiee.
The band spends most of their set bathed in red and blue hues, working through tracks both old and new. Deep Rotting Fear gets a welcome cheer from fans, with Rafiee pointing his fingers like a loaded gun into the crowd, demanding more two-step like a mob enforcer. The breakdowns this evening–of which there are many–sound gigantic, and it seems the crowd is ultimately given three choices: pit, headbang as a full-body movement, or get the fuck out of the way. Bearing The Crown of Lies sounds even bigger live than it does on record, with weaponised bottom-end and intricate guitar interplay from Nick Adams. Overall, Justice bring the goods with their set this evening and as it ends, Rafiee gives a sincere shout out to the Brissy fans for coming out mid-week and showing some love. Much obliged mate.