Personal struggles and angsty alt-rock music are two things that have always gone well together. …
LAGERSTEIN w/ Triple Kill & Pavilion
Saturday, November 30th, 2019
The Triffid, Brisbane
Ahoy mateys! It’s Saturday night, and we all know what that means, don’t we? Brisbane’s premier pirate metal export are back in town and, consequently, the city’s finest buccaneers, rapscallions, strumpets and picaroons are out in full force. We drop anchor at The Triffid as soon as doors open, before galivanting into the beer-garden to quench our thirst and drink in the surrounds as we wait for the festivities to begin.
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Now, as you’d likely expect, there’s already a curious mix of patrons milling about for tonight’s show, including (but certainly not limited to): a bountiful display of amateur pirates, adorned with dreadlocks, linen garments and flowing ruffles, panniers, bodices and corsets, tricornes of many shapes, sizes and colours (most likely keeping Captain Morgan in business), a littering of skulls and crossbones, fake muskets, swords, cutlasses and flintlocks; plenty of rum-themed merchandise; a table of Tarocash normies looking increasingly outnumbered as the encroaching sea of liquored deckhands continues to file through the doors; a decent assortment of Hawaiian shirt aficionados (and even one bloke in a plain tee that simply says ‘Hawaii’ on it).
Moving inside for the openers, local quartet Pavilion do an admirable job of getting the aforementioned party started. Musically, the group sits firmly in that intersectional sweet spot between hard rock and alternative metal; picture a Venn diagram with Breaking Benjamin, Bullet For My Valentine and Nickelback. On tracks like Hellfire, Pavilion are heavy and punchy in all the right places, while also coming across as very safe, clean and polished. With drummer Thiago Andrade set up on the side of stage left, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Peter Muldoon shows off his well-practised, James Hetfield-inspired “Yeahhhhh,” while lead guitarist Michael Fabricato hits a comfortable power stance, peppering the air with catchy riffs, licks and solos.
Back in the beer-garden once more, we spy a guy dressed in very convincing Johnny Depp cosplay—yes, the actor himself, not the obvious signifier of Captain Jack Sparrow—in what we can only assume is some form of deconstructionist, meta anti-costume statement. There are also two older gents in authentic pirate regalia, complete with eye-patches and the skeleton of a dead parrot on one shoulder. However, top honours for effort this evening must go to the jaunty fellow in a bright red parrot costume, who—as our friend Brie informs us—is affectionately known as ‘Party Parrot,’ and from this detail alone we surmise that their role as official mascot is perhaps more active than purely ceremonial (more on this later).
Next up are Melbourne metallers Triple Kill, who bring a much more progressive flavour to the metal offerings this evening. Frontman Rodney Goolagong looks strangely like Coheed And Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez (yes, it’s the hair), however his vocal style swings wildly from soaring cleans to mid-range yells and high screams. As we stand at the back of the room, gazing across at the stage as it’s bathed in alternating red and blue hues, suffused through a thick blanket of smoke machine fog, drummer Connor O’Keane’s punishing double kicks smacks us repeatedly in the solar plexus, while a group of olds in the corner with singular pirate hats watch on with grim, bemused expressions. Running through a set that pulls largely from 2018’s Age of Rebellion, guitarists Anthony Commane and Daniel Mackie churn out a truly uncanny collection of riffage, splicing a homage to 80s thrash shred-gods like Slayer and Exodus with eclectic morsels of Iron Maiden melody and Pantera groove thrown in for good measure. With the Lagercrew suitably liquored up by this point, everyone is clearly down for a good time, and we see a solid amount of recreational windmilling performed both on stage and amongst the crowd.
After running out to the beer-garden yet again, we cross paths with a gentlemen who’s walking around with his phone on the end of a selfie stick and headphones plugged firmly in his ears, thrusting himself into people’s conversations and then awkwardly capturing the result. The exact purpose of this endeavour remains unclear to us. However, on a somewhat unrelated note, while waiting at the bar, we read the back of a lady’s t-shirt, which declares the following: BIG DICKS. HOT CHICKS. SELFIE STICKS. A sign of the times, indeed.
Back in the band room for tonight’s main event, we take stock of the intricacies and logistics of a Lagerstein show. The production on stage itself is something to behold, even before the band climbs aboard. Fans inform us that what we’re looking at is in fact the ‘S.S. Plunderberg’: the stage is covered in decking and steps, resembling the top deck of a stolen galleon; the mic stand sits front and centre, complete with a wooden boat’s wheel; behind is the drum kit, keyboard rack and treasure chest, and behind these is a large, brightly-coloured banner, showcasing the band’s green logo against blue skies and high seas. When the members of Lagerstein take to the stage, the crowd erupts in cheers and whoots, and the atmosphere inside the Triffid goes from casual fun to downright revelry. The Lagercrew are definitely here for pillage and plunder of the musical variety, and the Brissy boys are happy to steer that ship. The set begins with Raise Your Steins and Slocken the Rum, tracks seemingly tailor-made for nautical alcoholism. Vocalist Captain Gregarggh cuts a very swash-buckling figure, in a floor-length trench coat, open at the torso and adorned with numerous belts and buckles. Guitarists The Majestic Beast and Neil Rummy Rackers carry the jaunty tunes and provide the occasional backing chant, alongside able-bodied bassist Lucky the Great. Gregarggh informs us that a new track, Wench My Thirst, taken from the band’s new record 25/7, is dedicated to the lovely lasses this evening and this remark gets the appropriate amount of feminine support.
Drummer Rusty Timbers is having a cracking time on the kit for tracks like Down the Hatch and the stupid catchy Dig, Bury, Drink, hitting the tubs with glee and fervour. Meanwhile, the band round out the mix with admirable efforts from violinist Mother Junkst (who rocks a keytar at opportune moments) and keyboardist Jacob (aka The Fiercest Pirate in all the Caribbean). When the band gets to Shoey Song, the house lights come on, and bath everyone in painful fluorescent glow, as Gregarggh implores all patrons to kick off footwear and drown their sorrows. This mostly works, although we keep out of it (journalistic integrity and all) and stick to observing the efforts of those around us, which succeed to varying messy degrees. Lagerstein keep the party going and roll through some deep cuts, as the crowd sings along merrily to Drink ‘Til We Die and the seminal Land of Bundy. Stopping mid-set once more, the band welcomes on a VIP prize winner to the stage, a lucky lass who spins a prize wheel to the suspense of the crowd, before landing on ‘BEER BONG’—something she’s promptly handed and crushes in a matter of seconds, looking very stoked with the whole process. Perhaps inspired by this feat, the band closes out with Dreaded Skies and Beer Bong Song, leaving everyone in a sweaty and smiling state of hearty inebriation. Until next time, “Aye, aye captain!”