Words by Rangi White
All photos by Elizabeth Sharpe // IG : @ummagummamumma
I wake up, my mouth is dry, my head is pounding, my ears are ringing and as I reach over to get a glass of water I groan as my neck pangs, the familiar ache of…whiplash??…a real gig!?!?? The sensation of post-throw down glory lingers while I’m typing this, the utter satisfaction of pain inflicted via music purifying and sanctifying my body still. I thank the holiest of holies that I was privy to the sonically devastating hellfire cast down upon me last night, and I devote my eternal gratitude to the seismic musical apocalypse that was RIFFMAGEDDON.
The Brightside played host to one of the first big gigs since the lifting of venue dancing restrictions on Friday night, and the commotion that followed was accompanied by some of the hardest-hitting riff-toting bad-assery that Fortitude Valley has seen for a while. The setting was perfect, two stages and two bars were just sufficient for the beer hungry riff-fiends that flooded the joint.
Kicking off the event were the ever-persevering groove shredders Stoker, who cast open the portal to hell with their magical fingers and bought forth the full power of their cosmically dark musical magic. As per utterly usual they ripped the stage apart, providing a sneak peek at a few of their newest pieces that we hope to hear on their upcoming album ‘Sonic Blues and Grooves’.
Following them were local legends Kobrakai, who’s atmospheric metal flavoured hard rock served the purpose of opening the inside stage more than well. They’ve been hard at work recently with a new album and music video release – go check out Ouroboros for a brilliant instrumental track with some cool-ass visuals. Human Dinosaur Machine exploded onstage afterwards with their raw, volatile punk rock. The Lismorian crew threw down hard, with some incredibly impressive vocals emanating from lead singer Katarzyna Litosc who’s ability to switch from Amy Lee-ish crooning to Hayley Williams-esque howling was mesmerising to watch.
Stoner/psych rockers Fumarole had an absolute belter, instigating a mosh upon mosh with their low’n’slow breakdowns and crunchy groove metal vibes, and by the end of their set I’d copped an elbow to the eye socket and a head drenched in someone else’s beer…not to be deterred from head-banging though, apologies to anyone standing behind me…felt good to be alive again!! Fumaroles been making headway recently, coming in second on Doom Charts.com in October, and releasing a line of stunning vinyl’s for their new album ‘Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.’ If your neck muscles are still attached to your shoulders, I advise you get a copy in ya and be ready for some repetitive up and down cranium action.
The night was rife with resplendent riffery, and as it went on we caught sets from The Blackwater Fever, who’s hard-bluesy jive would drive home the opportunity for those gifted dancers among us to really let loose with their newfound freedom…Odysseus Reborn graced us with their breakdown-riddled-Mastodon-esque pieces of weaponry and RHINO came lumbering through the fray with their all-time contemporary heavy rock sound…flavoured with a little grunge vocals here n there.
Brisbane based badasses Gutterfire brought the thunder with radioactive energy onstage, featuring their class A brand of sludgy riffs, ripper rhythmic rhetoric’s and a rollercoaster of radicalised onstage antics. Wielding a sound somewhat reminiscent of early Alice in Chains (with a bit more kick) they provided a wall of heavy rock sound that all who were present were forced to clamber atop of, lest they be drowned in the mosh.
I particularly liked the cohesion of the rhythm section, between drums and bass such a solid rhythmic foundation exists and it lends the two guitars plenty of room to move…I mean shred.
Taking the stage to the next level of divine sonic ascension were the curators of the show, Death by Carrot. They played with preternatural grace, their songs perforated with slow atmospheric half time breakdowns and exceptional guitar tones to boot. I can’t say I’ve ever heard an acoustic bass guitar played through a full sound system until now, and I thought the warmer, larger tone it generated created perfect musical context for the spellbinding multi-layered vocal harmonies they flaunted all throughout their set. The crowd watched on bewitched, as body artists came out and provided a bizarrely intriguing visual accompaniment to the musical wizardry that was happening simultaneously behind them.
I’m developing a slight feeling of guilt as I go deeper and deeper into my explanations of Friday night’s antics, as I know there are many who still have not had the opportunity to let their hair down and rip off their proverbial masks…but to all those who are still suffering the lack of live music and the therapy it provides, know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel…and if that light happens to be any of the bands that played at RIFFMAGEDDON then I would caution you to go forth and indulge in some reconciliation riffery without a moment’s hesitation. Big thanks to everyone that came, hopefully the experience is repeated soon!!
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With thanks to Your Mate Bookings, The Brightside Brisbane and all the awesome bands on the bill.