A grand, emotional punk extravaganza was witnessed in Brisbane on Friday night with Speech Patterns, Maddie Jane, Pianos Become The Teeth & Tassie legends, Luca Brasi.
When we arrive at The Triffid on a blustery Friday evening, we’re caught in the middle of the changing of the guard. That is, after-work-drinks crews and a smattering of young professionals are on the outs, right before the Triple J hordes begin to storm the gates. Tassie punk-rock legends Luca Brasi are set to blow the roof off here tonight and in a show of heart-on-sleeve solidarity, the Brissy crowd is turning up with a vast surplus of weed socks, bucket hats and Violent Soho merch in tow. We politely remind our partner-in-crimes-against-music journalism, Geoff Jefferson, that he’s got the next two shouts as we file into the band room to partake in the ‘concert’.
It’s very much a Tassie-represent line-up this evening, as evidenced by the state outline prominently draped across one of the back-line amplifiers, alongside a gigantic Thylacine stage banner that’s inescapable to the eye. Hobart locals Speech Patterns are the first of three acts from Van Diemen’s Land to peddle their acoustics at The Triffid, and from the get-go, it’s clear that the four-piece have blooded themselves almost exclusively on a diet of Propagandhi, Strung Out and A Wilhelm Scream. It’s the type of blistering, fast-paced melodic punk-rock that gets the heart racing, and with an impassioned vocal performance, it’s obvious why the Brasi boys have given this young outfit a leg up on this run. Working through tracks off their recently released ‘Crosswater’ EP, Speech Patterns have a solid crack at warming up the crowd, as the band room slowly begins to fill with eager punters.
Next up is Bruny Island native Maddy Jane, who starts breaking hearts almost instantly with her anthemic take on indie pop. After solo strumming out her first track, the Tassie singer/songwriter is joined by her backing band and launches right into singles like ‘Drown It Out’ and ‘No Other Way’. With simple grooves, solid rhythms and catchy refrains, Maddy Jane’s tales of adolescent woe, isolation and growing up are definitely a hit with tonight’s audience, and there’s a dedicated throng of women in the crowd bouncing around gleefully and pushing to the front. Clad in a WAAX t-shirt, Maddy butters up the crowd with some heartfelt accolades for our fair Queensland city, before bringing her brisk set to a rousing close.
As Baltimore, Maryland act Pianos Become The Teeth take the stage, there’s a quiet buzz murmuring through the crowd. PBTT are definitely the odd ones out on tonight’s line-up, with their dreary and sombre take on post-hardcore/screamo jutting angularly against the more traditional, three-chord-and-a-pint rock’n’roll of the rest of the bill. Sonic differences aside, when the band drop into the evocative ‘Hiding’ from their 2013 split with Touche Amore, the crowd is immediately transfixed by the raw power and emotion of the quintet’s aural assault. All eyes are on the lanky frame of vocalist Kyle Durfey, as he slides across the stage, swinging his arms and punctuating his shouted lyrical phrases with closed fists.
While the band are conscious enough to return to their older material during the set, dusting off fan favourites like ‘I’ll Be Damned’ and ‘Filial,’ it’s the material from their last record, 2014’s phenomenal ‘Keep You,’ that people are here to see. The melancholic instrumentals of hits like ‘Ripple Water Shine’ and the sublime ‘Repine’ wash over the Brisbane crowd, with delicate leads and wind-chime riffs courtesy of guitarists Chad McDonald and Michael York, while drummer David Haik provides an ample backbone for the rising tempos and crashing crescendos. Experiencing PBTT live, it’s certainly noticeable that Durfey’s vocals aren’t pitch perfect compared to their sound on record. However, when his voice breaks right on cue during gut-wrenching lines like “What are we without that end?/Without that death?/That darkness?” it’s sincere enough to be easily forgiven. Closing with the elegiac ‘Say Nothing,’ Pianos leave the Brissy audience rapt and lulled into submission, perfectly poised for tonight’s headliner to lift their energy levels.
And coincidentally, that’s exactly what the headlining Tassie four-piece deliver as they arrive on stage to rapturous applause and enthusiastic chanting.
With three full-length albums under their belt and fresh off a whirlwind of national and international touring, Luca Brasi are a literal punk-rock juggernaut and tonight’s set is nothing but dead-set bangers from front to back. Launching into ‘Aeroplane’ and ‘Drop Out’ from last year’s fantastic ‘If This Is All We’re Going To Be,’ The Triffid is quickly turned into a sea of flailing limbs and half-empty glasses. Frontman and bassist Tyler Richardson belts out the refrain of fan favourite ‘Benthos,’ while guitarists Patrick Marshall and Thomas Busby are clearly having fun with new track ‘Got To Give’.
‘Splitting Trees’ from 2011’s ‘Extended Family’ gets punters fired up, as Luca Brasi do their best to reach back into their discography, with the now iconic chorus of ‘Theme Song From HQ’ generating some serious sing-a-longs. Drummer Danny Flood lends a dynamic flair to newer tracks like ‘Overwhelmed/Ill Prepared’ and ‘Anything Near Conviction,’ bringing the official set to a close. With a brief reprieve, the ceremony of the band’s encore is mercifully cut short with pleading cries of “One more song!” as the band return to the stage and gratefully oblige with a stirring double up. Richardson works the crowd like a pro with the blue-collar lyricism of ‘Isaac Bowen’ and smiles like a madman as the Brissy crowd screams back the monster hook of “I’ve done a lot of stupid shit.” A fitting finale comes in the form of slow-burn ‘Count Me Out,‘ with Maddy Jane taking the stage one final time to share in the vocal duties, helping the Tassie quartet to bring it all home.
With the house lights on and the crowd spilling out into the beer garden, the night is still young, and no one’s ready to head home just yet. Yet after tonight’s punk-rock extravaganza, it’s safe to say that there’s only three things on everyone’s collective minds: Empty bottles, full hearts, and no regrets.
All photo credit goes to the always stellar Third Eye Visuals.