Live Reviews : Stick To Your Guns, Knocked Loose, Relentless & Reactions @ The Brightside, Brisbane 26/01/2017
Music and Australia Day are as synonymous with each other as meat pies and sauce, or ‘shrimp’ and barbeques; and on a night where there were a few places in Brisbane you could go to escape the drawl of Triple J’s Hottest 100, The Brightside held an absolute banger of a show as the penultimate night of the Stick To Your Guns and Knocked Loose Australian tour with Aussie bands Relentless and Reactions filling out the bill.
Reactions hit the stage first, and came out with a bang that had the handful of a crowd that had gathered moving from the get-go. Of course there were the token guys wearing Adidas shorts (or even leggings) two-stepping in the pit, but apart from these guys the band kind of struggled to win over the fans at first. After breaking a string one song in and getting a replacement guitar from one of the other bands, Reactions really hit a mark that seemed to resonate with the crowd. I’m not sure if the band doesn’t move a lot on stage (vocalist excepted), or if it was just the confines of the stage at The Brightside, but the only thing I wanted more of was visible energy to go with the energy they were making I’m the music, because the tail end of their set was pretty sick.
Second in line were Relentless from Sydney, who came out absolutely swinging, and to be honest, you could feel an inherent surge of energy from the crowd in the venue for these guys the moment they took to the stage. This was paid back from the band by the energy that I thought Reactions was lacking with things like shared vocal duties across, a frontman moving like a man possessed; and just an all-around killer feel that took the energy of the night from where it was and raised it tenfold. Relentless knew how to work the crowd in their favour and they did it so well that every breakdown had people all over the room going absolutely nuts. A killer set from a killer band that any hardcore fan should check out!
It was at this point that the internationals took to the stage and you could sense just why they were in that position to be touring globally. Knocked Loose (and later on Stick To Your Guns) just has an energy about them that made it seem they were performing their last gig on this earth. That’s not to take anything away from the Aussie bands that warmed the stage up, but it just seemed like the US guys were fighting for their very careers with their shows and it gave an absolutely memorable energy to the room.
By the time Knocked Loose hit the stage there was barely any spare room to move in the venue, and any pits that opened up were minuscule at best – but the fans still found a way, with stage divers galore (one even jumping and taking frontman Bryan Garris’ microphone with him) and just a wave of fans singing in chorus to their favourite songs. This kept repeating song after song for their set and there is honestly very little I can comment on because everything I saw just screamed ‘premiere hardcore act’ that deserved to be reaching new heights in the game. Having only been founded in 2013 it was quite interesting to see just how phenomenal these guys are live, and it was for these reasons that the fans lapped every single minute of the performance up on stage.
The venue had well and truly packed out for Stick To Your Guns, and it didn’t take any longer than the first 30 seconds to figure out why. Heads bopping in time with the music, fans singing all the way back to the bar, bodies flailing the moment a breakdown hit, and an energy that would rival an A Day To Remember show. A rousing speech from frontman Jesse Barnett three songs in about not being an American but being a ‘human being’ and being the sort of human being that can make a difference by the choices they make as opposed to the choices they can’t helped to rouse a crowd, but wasn’t needed as they were already in the palm of his hand. But what this did do is lift the energy did lift tenfold afterwards. The band didn’t falter from that point on and put in one of the more memorable performances of any band I have seen in recent memory.
Probably the only disappointing story of the night isn’t band related but venue related as there were a few punters who were sweating their asses off due to the heat who had gone outside (to the toilet or beer garden) but due to their stamp wearing off weren’t allowed back I’m for the later bands. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue if the fans only went in and out of the one door where they could refresh their ‘pass out’ stamp, but with the toilets located out a back door separate from the main entry with very minute signage visible across the packed out venue notifying guests of the procedures it just made for a messy situation which I hope gets fixed in the future.
While Hardcore shows have never majorly been my thing – this night was really a good night. However; one thing I did learn is that if I was to go off the energy of the bands on stage then Australian hardcore has along way to go if it ever wants to be considered anywhere near the same league as American hardcore.