Words By Natalie Blacklock.
Suffice to say, 2020 has been a weird time for all of us. Our personal lives and professional endeavours have been through the wringer, with restrictions on travel, public gatherings and the enforcement of social distancing, our lives and in our case – the way we experience live music has exponentially changed. For us in Queensland, we’ve been lucky in the sense that we’ve been able to get out and about and check out live music for a few months now. But as live music has begun to re-emerge, one thing has become abundantly clear… there are a hell of a lot of bands out there, who’ve been working extremely hard during this ‘downtime’, making us – live (cc: local) music fans – the real winners here! So, to celebrate the release of their brand spanking new EP ‘Hollywood Dead’, Brisbane’s own ‘shock-rockers’ Terror Parade, threw one hell of a party, with local newcomers The Crypt Daddies and Nonberk in support and Good Call Live were lucky enough to be there to bring you our FIRST OFFICIAL GIG REVIEW following the COVID-19 lockdowns / restrictions.
The venue for the evening is none other than Greaser. Located at the grungier end of Brunswick Street, is the “secret” subterranean bar vibing retro American-style cool which has found a home in the cellar of a 130-year-old heritage Fortitude Valley building. Follow the alley down from the hustle of Brunswick Street and you’ll find a dimly lit virtual labyrinth of nooks and crannies divided by century-old exposed brick arches with faded vintage stencil advertisements and stunning art murals by Sindy Sinn and Natty B adorning the walls. Part laneway dive bar, part diner and part live music venue – on paper Greaser seems like the perfect venue and with the addition of forced seating thanks to COVID-19, you could mistake yourself for being in a smoky basement bar of years gone by. With a later start for the evening’s proceedings, the bar was filling and the beer was flowing with a few hours of chill before the music kicked off.
Opening up the evening’s bill was alternative-rock outfit, Nonberk. Born out of connections formed in Queensland University of Technology’s Bachelor of Music program, the band; Zaac Thompson (Bass / Vocals), Harry Cross (Guitar) and Samuel Monk (Drums) came together in early 2019, following on from stints in other creative projects including; The Aunties, Curse The Crown and A Short Term Effect over the past few years. Pulling influence from bands like Melvins, Helmet, Pearl Jam, Deftones and Tool, Nonberk deliver catchy choruses, head-banging riffs and hard-hitting drums in spades. Before the band even made it to the stage, reports were coming through that Greaser had hit capacity, with the line of punters trying to get in already down to the bottle shop on the corner of Brunswick and Wickham Streets. Following a quick set-up, Nonberk were ready and ripped straight in with their newest single (taken from their debut album released back in February) Wildfire, which provided a tight, solid opening for their set. The band’s upcoming single Hypnotise and the anthemic Edge demonstrate Nonberk’s talent as Thompson and Cross shredded the night away with just the right amount of ‘bass face’ and guitar effects respectively. Introduced as one of the first songs the band wrote together, the rocky Indolent sees Bassist Zaac Thompson hit full ‘Frontman mode’, putting the Bass down mid-song, really bringing the vocals to life. Black Mirror is a slower mood, yet with heavy double kicks from Monk on Drums, this one proved to be a crowd favourite with a punter screaming from the shadows “your drummer is a beast” at the end of the song. The not-often-played-live Invented Unknown, played right into the crowd’s hands with a big ending seeing Drummer Samuel Monk hitting the skinsakin to a ‘kid in a candy store’. Final track, Change, was captivating with precision-fingered guitar work from Guitarist Harry Cross leading the way. With a penchant for “unusual” time signatures, strong instrumentation and the occasional solo, Nonberk are really doing something right. With a chant of “start again” coming from the crowd following their final song, I think it’s fair to say that Nonberk picked up a few new fans with that performance!
The headliners of the evening, Terror Parade, took the ‘prime-time’ middle slot on the bill, ensuring there was still plenty of time left to party! The local ‘shock rockers’, formed in 2014, bring together Zichxyna (Lead Vocals), Madman (Guitar), Darkness (Bass) and Nightwalker (Drums), carving out a name for themselves with their unique sound and theatrical stage presence. The band, in the same vein as Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Wednesday 13, Misfits and The Sisters of Mercy pride themselves on their live shows – a feast for the ears and eyes of all Gothic fans and we were not disappointed. Not only is this a hometown show for the band, but it doubled as the launch for their new EP ‘Hollywood Dead’ which was officially released yesterday. As the lights dimmed, Madman, Darkness and Nightwalker appeared in full-horror makeup, followed by harness-clad Frontwoman Zichxyna in a flurry of smoke and intro music reminiscent of a circus. Madman exclaimed “Let’s Go, Greaser” before the band launched into the band’s title track, Terror Parade, led by Zichxyna’s call of “Welcome To The Terror Parade”. A green-lit, smoke-filled stage provided the perfect backdrop for a double-dose of tracks from the band’s hot-off-the-press ‘Hollywood Dead’ EP; Demons of Delusion had a real horror-punk feel with a huge chorus hook and the heavier of the two tracks, Death Wish, opened with Guitarist Madman’s cry “My Death Wish is your death”, before death growls and a heavy clap-along drumline led by Nightwalker took over. Their next track was “for all the freaks” as Bassist Darkness and Drummer Nightwalker ignited the seated crowd in impassioned fist pumping as they chanted along to Freak. Again, the room filled with smoke and flashes of red and green for Guillotine and Exorcism brought up the middle of the set, featuring stunning operatic vocals from Zichxyna. The megaphoned Revolution was a standout of the set, with a contagious energy building in the room from the band and crowd alike. Burn This City opened with a screamy introduction from Bassist Darkness, before revealing a solid almost punk-rock song. Terror Parade closed out their set with their newest single and EP title track, Hollywood Dead. Created with Nik Carpenter at Core Studios on the Gold Coast, the mix of clean and dirty vocals and heavy guitars, instantly brought back memories of Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People – resulting in a track that’s catchy as hell and a perfect closer for the band’s main set. However, it wasn’t enough – so when the crowd asked for an encore and an encore is what they got! The band unleased their version of Tainted Love, the iconic track made famous by Soft Cell and later Marilyn Manson for an excitable singalong with punters. Terror Parade’s new EP is a great listen and is even better live – and they definitely need to be in your post COVID-19 gig guide
Closing out the evening were local psychobilly 3-piece The Crypt Daddies. Rising from their grave in mid-2019, The Crypt Daddies are leading the way with their blistering fusion of punk, goth, and rockabilly. The Brisbane lads have started to carve out their own fast-paced, hard hitting, macabre mix of madness, which draws influence from the likes of Koffin Kats, Nekromantix, and The 69 Eyes. The 3-piece; Papa Crypt (Lain Draven) on Guitar / Vocals, Big Lom (Lom Thomas) on Upright Bass / Vocals and Matty Riot (Matt Bales) on Drums / Vocals bound onto the stage with the fresh energy of upstart punks and begin to take their audience on a tour of the darkside. Like me, if you’re quite new to the world of psychobilly, it’s a feast for the senses – killer riffs, soaring vocals and a bass slap that would rattle the bones of the dead are the orders of the evening as the lads ripped through the horror-themed opening track Enter The Crypt. Next up, the lads took a deep dive into Misfits territory, dropping their ghoulish 1985 (and almost timely) track, Halloween. The heavy Double Bass slap introduction to Full Moon Blues radiates the stage, as Big Lom’s husky vocals take over in the chorus before Papa Crypt laid down soaring screams to round out the track. The Room, arguably one of the band’s strongest lyrical songs creates an interesting juxtaposition in range as Papa Crypt and Big Lom share the vocal duties. Changing pace, The Crypt Daddies got into a cover of Detroit psychobilly punks, Koffin Kats’ track Graveyard Tree with Big Lom taking the wheel on lead vocals. So Far From Home started off with a ‘dirty blues’ vibe, before Papa Crypt flexed his guitar prowess, effortlessly walking his fingers up and down the fretboard through the guitar solo. Things pick up a notch with another cover – this time it’s the high-energy Where You Gonna Go from Demented Are Go’s 1993 album “Tangenital Madness”. It Dwells, really hits the spot with roaring guitars and heaving drums paired with the screamy chorus chants of “He’s not a man, not a man” that make the track a huge highlight of the set. Hex Files, one of the tracks set to feature on the band’s EP (currently in the works), ignites with a 90s grunge feel and blistering drums from Matty Riot. The second last track of the set, a cover of Graveyard Queen, pays homage to one of Australia’s Psychobilly pioneers, Zombie Ghost Train – is cleverly sped up for the final chorus following on from a little cheeky crowd engagement from Papa Crypt himself. The band’s final track, Reanimate My Heart, garnered an unexpected clap-along from the crowd in time with Matty Riot’s drums. As the song ended, it was clear the crowd wanted just one more song, to which The Crypt Daddies gleefully obliged – dropping a rarely-played cover of Red Alert from Koffin Kats and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. As the packed-out room dispersed to the bar or the smoking area, one thing became clear – psychobilly is marking its territory in Brisbane and The Crypt Daddies are certainly ones to watch – so you’d better get that battle vest ready!
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how much COVID-19 kicked our collective ass, no matter how difficult the restrictions have proven to be, the shared experiences of 2020 have shown us that there are silver linings to even the darkest of times; and it has once again confirmed that the Brisbane music community is alive and kicking. This line-up has delivered the packed Greaser crowd a night full of good mates and positive vibes, with 3 extremely talented, entertaining and HOMEGROWN bands in Terror Parade, The Crypt Daddies and Nonberk playing to a full-capacity venue – and Good Call Live could not be more thankful to have been a part of it; ‘LIVE MUSIC IS BACK, BABY’.
Be sure to get on your socials and swing all 3 bands a like and/or a follow to keep up with their latest news and gig information!
The Crypt Daddies: