Updated: Oct 29, 2021
The night was Saturday, 25th of September and all the kiddlywinks had gone to bed as the warriors came out to play-e-yay at The Tivoli. A steamy stew of locally grown talent, the show saw Brisbane’s finest take to the stage. Out in front, we had Hollie Joy blow the socks down and rock our house off. Coming in with the uptake, we saw Melaleuca taking marks and scoring goals. And then everyone’s favourite WAAX swooped in to take us to the finals. After almost two years of music industry limbo, finally the drinks were a-flowin’, the ear tingles came thick and fast, and the crowd was lit up by a sea of phone screens.
Melaleuca really impressed me. They lull you into a false sense of security as an easy listening Kisschasy audience-swaying band. And then in the light of the full-moon, they shed their human exteriors and become full-fledged grunge wizard Ruthless Randys. Leading the charge on vocals and guitar, we’ve got Andy Francis. Schralping on the 6-strings and vocals, we’ve also got Jane Millroy. Filthy Bulldogs supporter and master of the fat-strings, we’ve got Chris Hill. And popping off on stage slapping skins, comes Matt Millward.
It started really going off when they whipped out their hit single, ‘Jane’s In Town,’ followed by ‘Lie To Me.’ I am reminded of Spiderbait – not musically – but in the sense that when Kram takes a backseat and Janet English steps up to the mic, you know you’re in for a good thing. Here, when Jane Millroy takes the mic, you’re in for a 100% certified bangatang deep from the bangazon jungle. They finished up their set with their grungiest offering to date; the melancholic and glossy fan-favourite, ‘Face Down.’
I was lucky enough to bump into co-singer and string-slinger Andy Francis in the smoker’s area. “What’s your favourite thing about The Tivoli?” I asked, before he imparted in me the most sacred truth of our time:
“The thing I like about The Tivoli most, is that backwards it spells ‘I lov it.’”
After having my mind sufficiently blown, it was time to jump back inside, just in time for the smoke machines to start. The lights go dim and MOST HATED GIRL adorns a giant sheet in spray paint in the background. George Baker’s ‘Little Green Bag’ is playing over the PA as the musicians assemble and take to their plots one at a time. Marie ‘Maz’ DeVita rolls onto the stage and the shredsession begins in earnest.
It’s been a year since we’ve seen WAAX here at The Tivoli, where the audience sat on the floor and ate as they watched due to The Rona Season protocols – “Don’t you miss THE SWEAT,” Maz declared in defiance. The audience certainly had. There was much slip, slop, slappin' to be had and by the end we were all wrinkly pool prunes. I'm gonna be straight with you and tell you that this gig had everything you want. Maz had stage presence like Debby Harrie – air-kicks and capoeira moves out the whazoo. Guitarist James Gatling sported the best fluoro pink singlet eyes have ever beheld. There was a guy 4 meters taller than everyone else in the crowd (shout out to Ben from Tassie, the Table Dweller). The pit was juicy and the floor was sticky. The room was united in rapturous applause.
They played all your mum's favourite songs from the Big Grief EP, and all your dad's favourite stuff from Wild & Weak.
I’d just finished writing the phrase “good for fans of MCR’s final album,” when they literally went into an MCR cover. As a kid who would straighten his emo fringe every day before school, it was ridiculously sick to hear a live rendition of ‘Teenagers’ blow me a new ear hole. And all the while, the audience sang.
It was about 4 or 5 songs in when the audience and band really started to lose it. We got in the zone. Then Maz came in with a toast to remember, wine bottle raised to the sky:
“One sip for Hollie Joy,
One chase for Melaleuca,
And one toast for f*ckin’ BRISBANE!
Let’s f*ckin’ do it!”
This wasn’t the last toast of the night, with her dad Rito getting a shout out for his birthday. 100 years of prosperity, Rito. I wish I could speak more of the gig from this point, but it was here that I jumped into the pit. They unveiled a new song about Maz’s ex – RIP that dude, publicly roasted in-front of 300 nineteen-year-olds. They had the killer basslines and Maz has got the pipes to get the audience churning. When they played everyone’s favourite ‘Labrador,’ you could literally see the sweat in the air.
It was then that these Schralp Lords from the Planet Gnar slid into their latest single, ‘Most Hated Girl.’ Dropping less than a month ago, you can inject this track directly into your eardrums via all conventional streaming services.
September 25th was a day to remember. And after all the clambering and oozing and dancing and whiplash, all I can say is teenagers scare the livin’ shit out of me.
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