Words by Natalie Blacklock
All photos by Lili Grace Leaney
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It’s been a long time coming but the mighty Children Collide have FINALLY returned and are embarking on a national 13-date headline tour, following the release of their fourth studio album ‘Time Itself’ last August via Spinning Top Music. This weekend sees the Queensland leg of the tour, opening on the Gold Coast followed by shows in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Hosting the evening is one of the Gold Coast’s most unique live music hubs, Miami Marketta. Fast becoming one of the region’s premier gig venues for many national and international touring acts (ah, remember those days?!) – and the attraction here is obvious. Part live music venue part Street Food Mecca – Miami Marketta offers a laneway dining experience taking visitors to Thailand, Spain or France and everywhere in between, plus two dedicated live music spaces, a main stage festival set-up that runs through the centre of the venue alongside the smaller Studio 56, perfect for more intimate shows like this one.
Opening up proceedings are Melbourne’s psychedelic art-rock ensemble Sky City Gold. Comprised of Beatrice Lewis (Haiku Hands), Joel Ma (Joelistics), Thomas Mitchell and David Williams, the band have crafted a vivid soundscape that fuses a unique blend of synth, guitars and disco rhythms to deliver energetic female-led punk party tunes. From the moment Sky City Gold took to the stage, the receptive crowd swelled as the funky basslines and strong vocal synthesiser moments akin to early music from The Bennies filled the room. The set skipped effortlessly from funk to disco to party pop before landing in a synth-driven beach dream on most recent single The Crown. Echoing the 2000’s sounds of the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sky City Gold were meticulous in their instrumentation, allowing the drums, guitars and indeed the competing synth lines to exist side-by-side, creating an eclectic ‘wall of sound’ that left the audience wanting more. In closing out their set, frontwoman Lewis proclaimed “It’s our first gig ever. We didn’t wanna tell you at the start in case we were shit” before launching into the band’s debut single Let’s Go. For a *first ever* show, Sky City Gold were nothing short of impressive – there’s definitely big things to come from this Melbourne outfit and we’re excited to see it!
If you aren’t familiar with Children Collide, there’s a good chance you missed the rise of Australian indie rock. Unquestionably, the Melbourne three-piece wore their inspiration on their sleeve, quickly made a name for themselves since their breakthrough in 2008, delivering sold out tours, epic and frenzied live performances, ARIA nominations and a dedicated bunch of fans across the country. But, with three albums and a stack of singles under their belt, the Children Collide journey was put on hold as band members departed, new projects including frontman Johnny Mackay’s Fascinator moniker took off and life took over. Now, with their rocketship packed and a new line-up locked in, the voyage of Children Collide has re-launched and is ready to rock again. As frontman Johnny Mackay and bandmates Chelsea Wheatley (bass) and Ryan Caesar (drums) bounded onto the stage, the Gold Coast crowd lifted. Opening the set with Chosen Armies from 2008 album ‘The Long Now’ started the CC Time Machine we didn’t know we needed, as Mackay’s sprawling guitar captured the Studio 56 crowd’s attention and did not let it go. In reference to the space between stage and crowd, Mackay exclaimed “Fuck it’s like a giant moat. I need a drawbridge to get close to you” before unleashing iconic cuts Across The Earth and Skeleton Dance in quick succession. We Live In Fear kept on the 2008 nostalgia trip with the addition of a much faster and thrashier feel than the album’s recording. In a change of pace, the crowd were taken on a tour of Children Collide’s newer sound with a number of tracks from most recent album ‘Time Itself’ including Uh Oh, Funeral For A Ghost and Aurora; which despite obvious differences still harnessed the same chaotic energy audiences have come to know and love from the band. Commenting again on the barrier situation, the CC frontman said “I wish this wasn’t here so I could touch your heads. No heading touching tonight” before taking a moment to compose himself saying “I’ve gotta remember how to play this one”. With echoed cheers from the front row, he launched into the opening strains of the undoubted song of the set, Farewell Rocketship. The energy from the band and crowd alike had again lifted – so much so that you might have confused yourself for being at a Gold Coast Big Day Out (which the band played in 2009 and 2011), and it wasn’t lost on Mackay who cheekily smiled to himself as the final notes rang out. Return To Femmes saw a change in guitar and in pace, as Ryan Caesar’s drums combined to create one of the set’s heavier moments. Embracing the past again, we journeyed back to 2006’s ‘Glass Mountain Liars’ EP with the anthemic We Are Amphibious before newer track Turrets took pride of place front and centre with fuzzy guitars and an instrumental breakdown giving new life to the album recording. Bassist Chelsea Wheatley took a moment to dedicate Trampoline to her sister, before combining with Mackay to produce some stunning, ethereal backing vocals, as the pair displayed an undeniable musical chemistry. Mackay proclaimed to the crowd “If you’ve ever seen us before, you know we don’t do encores, so just pretend we went offstage. We’ve got four more songs” before introducing Terrible Lizard as a “song that has no words but is about dinosaurs”. The end was nigh but not before two of the band’s most well-known songs, Social Currency and Jellylegs saw the excitable crowd screaming along to every single word yet again. Rounding out the set was the raucous instrumental Fire Engine which sent Mackay and his long blonde locks into a pin-balling frenzy back and forth across the stage and saw Wheatley jump down onto the barrier and shred to her heart’s content one last time for the evening. As the lights came up, the Studio 56 crowd dispersed into the fresh Gold Coast rain, knowing that their trip in the CC Time Machine had been worth the COVID-19 induced wait.
You’re not going to want to miss this run of Children Collide shows, so check out all the information for the remaining dates of their ‘Time Itself’ tour HERE.
CHILDREN COLLIDE – TOUR DATES
Friday 8 April – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD*
Saturday 9 April – Eleven Dive Bar, Maroochydore QLD
Thursday 14 April – The Eastern, Ballarat VIC*
Friday 15 April – Barwon Club, Geelong VIC*
Saturday 16 April – Howler, Melbourne VIC*
Sunday 17 April – Jive Bar, Adelaide SA
Friday 22 April – Mojos, Fremantle WA
Saturday 23 April – Lynott’s, Perth WA
Sunday 24 April – Out of the Woods Festival, Busselton WA
Thursday 28 April – La La La’s, Wollongong NSW
Friday 29 April – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW*
Saturday 30 April – UC Hub, Canberra ACT*
*With special guests Sky City Gold
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