Words By Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer.
For weeks I have been excited for two reasons. One – I would be going to my first gig at Brisbane’s gorgeous new live music venue, The Fortitude Music Hall and two – I would be seeing a sold out show of an artist I have been in love with since 2011 for the first time.
I could not wait to step foot inside the doors of this long-awaited new venue, I felt like a teenager about to see her first gig ever, the excitement was at an all-time high. I have been going to gigs in Brisbane since my teens, my first big gig was at Festival Hall in 1996 and when I heard about Fortitude Music Hall being built all I could think was; we are getting our Festival Hall back. I mean, we are obviously not getting the actual Festival Hall back, but I feel like Brisbane lost a huge chunk of our live music soul when Festival Hall shut down and I feel like that has been found again with Fortitude Music Hall. Where Festival Hall was a little dingy and basic, Fortitude Music Hall is quite the opposite. The venue is stunning, with high ceilings and two giant crystal chandeliers hanging centrally above the main part of the venue. The stage, as pointed out by my photographer, is as tall as me to stand in front of (tricky for shorter photographers I would imagine!) but the height of the stage adds to the depth of feeling the whole venue has. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s beautiful. It’s been well planned and thought out, even including a large TV screen at the front bar that shows the stage, so if you duck out to use the front bar, buy merch, go to the toilets or just need a breather from the packed room, you can still see what’s happening on stage.
Being an all ages gig, there was a very mixed crowd, from teenage girls full of bubbles and energy, to some 10 year old boys with their Mum by their side, smiling from ear to ear at possibly their first concert ever, to Dads clearly only there to keep an eye on their daughters, to long time fans such as myself. The venue was buzzing with anticipation from all in attendance for what the night was to bring.
The venue itself already had me on a natural high but things were about to step up a level as the realization sunk in that an artist I have passionately followed for many moons was about to grace the stage. Allday has come a long way since he first started uploading his music for free online all those years ago. But let’s talk about the three support acts before we get to the brilliance of Allday.
First up was social media star and artist, Jackson Brazier or JXN. Now I had no idea how big and popular this guy actually was until now. He has won awards for his social media status and has a huge following. Not only that, but he is a talented artist and performer as well. As soon as he walked out on stage the screams were deafening from what sounded like thousands of girls, who also sung along with JXN, knowing every word to every song. JXN performed a set that had his fans completely captivated with another musician on stage who switched from playing guitar to keyboard throughout the performance and a guest appearance from Gill Bates for one song.
The next artist to grace the stage had me completely transfixed. I had a friend of mine tell me how much I would love her set, but I honestly had no idea just how true that would be. Indie pop QUEEN is the only way to describe E^ST; she is an absolute Queen. Her performance was stunning from start to finish, her voice and presence is everything you could want from a performer. In addition to that, she is an absolute sweetheart. Adding a cover of the All American Rejects track Gives You Hell to her set, stating, “I thought I would do a cover as I thought some of you may not be familiar with my music”. E^ST is humble about her extreme levels of talent and that is so attractive and appealing to me. She moves around the stage with grace and the way she moves and grooves adds to the fun of watching her perform live. I would love to see a headline show of hers as I felt like her set went way too quick!
Looking around throughout the night I noticed that almost every second person was wearing a Mallrat shirt. Clearly popular, this is another artist whom I have heard lots about but never really taken the time to check out. Mallrat has a calm about her. Her presence is almost subtle, she is gentle with her vocals and her performance and that creates some kind of almost inexplicable magic. Her set begun with a DJ on stage spinning some tunes, building up the hype for when Mallrat would delicately walk onto the stage to screams and cheers from her fans. The first song that stood out for me from her set was Sunglasses. Mallrat is a Brisbane local and she begun the song by telling us “This is a song I wrote one day when I skipped school and went to Ben’s Burgers around the corner” before breaking into Sunglasses. The next song that grabbed me was Inside Voices, a song, Mallrat explained, that “is about Westfield Chermside.” I was intrigued and had a good laugh when the lyrics “I fucking hate Westfields” featured in the song. Any Brisbane North side locals would appreciate why. A pleasant surprise was when she covered a Florence + The Machine song, Girl With One Eye. Mallrat did the song justice and sung it beautifully. My love for Mallrat just went up a notch; just brilliant. This flowed into an acoustic version of her latest single, Charlie. I feel like Mallrat is one of those artists who you really have to go and see live to fully appreciate and I can’t wait to see her again.
And now, for the moment I had been so patiently waiting for all night. Allday. An artist whom I first took notice of back when he was singing about Girls In Jeans in 2011. He’s come a long way from where he begun and it truly warmed my heart to see such a huge turn out of passionate fans. The screams and cheers from the room were bigger and louder than ever as the stage went dark in preparation for Allday to perform. With three keyboardists and one guitarist, he took to the stage sporting a classy looking grey suit and white shirt. Breaking straight into his 2014 hit, Right Now, the crowd went crazy; a prefect opener. I hit that moment where you are seeing an artist you’ve loved forever but never seen live, my smile so big that my face hurt, my heart beating fast and that feeling that music is like a drug, a natural high created by the artist on stage. Something I hope artists, musicians and bands really understand. They bring so much to our world. Music is pure magic and I am forever grateful to those who share their art with us.
Allday jumped from old song to new song throughout the set, playing one for one. Second track in was one of his newest singles, Wonder Drug. I had the absolute pleasure of reviewing his new album ‘Starry Night Over The Phone’ recently and the album’s blended mix of Hip Hop, R&B, Pop and the somehow ambient yet energetic sounds is a thing of absolute brilliance. The new songs mixed in with some of his older tracks flowed smoothly and fans were singing along to every song.
Before commencing his third song for the night, Allday stopped for a moment to pay respects to the land’s traditional owners with an acknowledgement of country. He then played his 2013 hit, Claude Monet. The fans screamed with delight and I am quite sure the entire room sung every single word. A song that is so relatable to so many, the lyrics are a stand out for me on this track. “Sometimes I get overwhelmed, but I breathe deep and I tell myself, remember the kid you are, remember the kid you are, sometimes I get overwhelmed, when I’m stressed out and I’m not myself, remember to kid you are, remember the kid you are…” – A song about the stress that growing up brings, being an adult in this world, reflecting on when he was younger and reminding himself to not lose touch with that younger version of self.
Allday made sure to do a shout out to his support bands, thanking them and giving them all a good plug. Don’t Wanna Push You Away Anymore, the second track off the new album took the mood down to a softer feel, a gentle, sing along moment, it’s such a delicate track. Mallrat joined Allday on stage for a couple of songs and it was clear the pair love performing together. When Allday got to his latest single, Restless which features The Veronicas, I was desperately hoping they would join him on stage for the song! Sadly, they didn’t but the song was still delivered to perfection with the pre recorded vocals of the beautiful Origliasso sisters soaring through the room.
I had a moment where I laughed so hard I nearly spat out my drink. Allday told a guy in the crowd to stop yelling out to him to do a shoey. He said something along the lines of “To the guy who keeps asking me to do a shoey, no way! I did do one, one time, but that’s not happening again – fuck off Brisbane!” – it made me laugh because it’s true, Brisbane music fans do love to encourage bands and artists to do a shoey! Allday went on later to thank everyone for coming “Thanks guys for being here, it was a pretty good show except for when I told you to fuck off about 10 times, right!?”
The last track for the night, one of his most loved and well known hits You Always Know The DJ was just so amazing to see live. What a tune. A perfect ending to an absolutely stellar night of live music from a line up that gave me more than I could have imagined. I left after this song as I had to meet a friend, so if he played another track, I sadly missed it. Though he did state it was his last song.
My first experience at The Fortitude Music Hall is one I will never forget. An amazing venue and amazing performers made for one very special experience and I can’t wait to attend more shows at the venue and see all the artists on the line up again.
You can catch Allday on the rest of his ‘Starry Night Over The Phone’ tour at the following dates and at the following venues. I highly recommend you get to these shows if you can!
ALLDAY STARRY NIGHT OVER THE PHONE NATIONAL TOUR
Supported by triple j
Sat 24 August – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney – AA
Fri 30 August – HQ Complex, Adelaide – AA
Sat 31 August – Festival Hall, Melbourne – AA
You can purchase yourself a copy of the album + purchase tickets to the tour HERE.