Words by Carly Gibbs
Not even the threat of a rainy Brisbane evening could deter Violent Soho fans last night as they streamed into the Riverstage, excited to vibe with the band after 14 months of not playing live. This all ages, sold-out show was a triumphant return for the band who absolutely killed their set and whipped their fans into a COVID-safe frenzy.
The Beddy Rays from Reddy Bay were first cabs off the Riverstage rank. The crowd was already thick and frothy with punters dancing in their designated areas all the way to the back near the bar. This was obviously noted by the band with Jacko making mention of it, saying something along the lines of him not knowing if they were the opening band or the headliner with the amount of people in the crowd. Their set was packed to the hilt with feel-good, Coastal punk rock vibes and get-off-your-arse-and-jump-around moments, getting everyone moving with Better Weather and their newest track Wait A While. The boys brought out special guest, Maibre Grenfell to sing a rendition of Amy Winehouse’s, Valerie and she absolutely nailed it.
They ended with arguably their biggest track, Sobercoaster which triggered an off-key crowd singalong. Admittedly, maybe it was only me who was off-key, but a boisterous singalong nonetheless. “I wanna spend my lifetime, drinking beers in the sunshine, on an ocean hillside and when I’m old I’ll be a Sobercoaster”. Anthem, baby!
Back to the bar for a mid-strength, overpriced drink, a negative at any festival style gig, but we all know how that works by now. It was cold and sweet and had a few minty leaves bathing in the watermelon energy mixer, so it wasn’t all bad.
Tired Lion were next with their infectious, grunge imbued, indie rock jams. 5 years ago, they played this same stage supporting Violent Soho to an eager crowd and were reminiscent about the special anniversary. The crowd seemed to have kicked it up a notch and there were little pockets who were getting rowdier. I hate to single anyone out but there were some cheeky Teletubbies who looked very excited about life! Sophie’s voice is rock goddess personified and she looks uber cool in her flippy skirt and Pixies t-shirt up front on stage. One of the rowdier pockets starts an impromptu chorus of DJ Otzi’s Hey Baby prompting Sophie to say “Sounds pretty good. Can you guys do it louder?” and the rest of the crowd join in with a big group “Ooh Ahh” chant. They play a stellar mix of old and new with tracks including my faves Lie to me and Cya Later off ‘Breakfast for Pathetics’. More crowd participation with another fan yelling “Yeah the Girls!” and then Sophie counts us all in to scream it again louder and in unison “YEAH THE GIRLS!” and straight into Camp.
It’s at this point that I’m thinking that adorning myself in gumboots and an (un)fashionable Bunnings poncho in the anticipation of rain of biblical proportions wasn’t really necessary. We are lucky enough to only have felt a few raindrops this entire time and moral is at an all-time high, because guess who’s next? Oh yeah, you know. Yup. Mother fucking Violent Soho.
The crowd had swelled to capacity for this sold-out show and if the crowd were frothy before, then this moment has us all at peak froth. Froth is not normally a word that shows up in my vocabulary very often but it feels like it suits Violent Soho fans comfortably. All bubbly and light and sitting up high ready for a good time on a Saturday night. They open with Like Soda and the Riverstage is filled with voices singing the intro. The drums and guitars cut in and the backdrop falls away dramatically to reveal the Violent Soho artwork. Effervescent! VS fans are super passionate and give it their all watching their favourite Mansfield rockers belt out each song. For punters who were not supposed to be moshing or dancing too heartily, shit was getting loose. I also don’t remember seeing a show where there were so many punters wearing band merch from the headlining act. The air is thick with plumes of smoke, some more illicit than others. “Let’s Start a Fire” comes the chorus of Saramona Said. “Smells like someone started a fire down here” James informs the crowd fittingly after the song. Violent Soho are incredible at bringing the energy and flawlessly churned out hit after hit. Jesus Stole My Girlfriend, Covered in Chrome and Viceroy all made an appearance, as well as crowd pleasers off ‘Everything is A-Ok’, Pick It Up Again, Canada and Lying on The Floor. I did not see one face without a smile! All good things must come to an end and the boys finished in true rock and roll style walking off to high pitched distortion and screams from the crowd.
The show would have been even more of a stonker if I had have had a few under my belt but I was designated driver back to the Coast, so sober dancing for me. But it says something about the quality of the bands when you can watch the whole show dead sober and still have a rollicking good time. Would recommend.
With thanks to Mushroom + Scrabble PR + Secret Sounds + Summer Sounds Festival
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