It’s easy to go on a ‘Remember when Violent Soho played…’ type trip – the fact is that, for many, this band from Mansfield, Brisbane have carved for themselves a special spot in our live music loving, mosh-indulging hearts. Watching them consistently climb with each album release to becoming one of the country’s best known and indeed, most beloved, touring rock bands has been marvellous; the success couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people, either. Still, seeing Soho return to stages nationally only months after wrapping up an extensive WACO album tour, seemed ambitious but man, did they pull it off.
Bringing a stomper three-band support bill on the road in Tired Lion, Luca Brasi and The Bronx meant that ticket holders got a proper lesson in how rock and punk could be delivered well. In Tired Lion, we got a taste of the new wave coming through in Australia (along with WAAX, these guys have my tip as becoming huge players in 2017), while Luca Brasi is clearly teetering on properly breaking through themselves.
Arriving early for the openers, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre theatre was already slowly beginning to fill with punters; Tired Lion had a decent crowd already waiting. Sophie Hopes is continuing to become a dominating frontwoman, captivating the attention of the hungry crowd gathered on the barrier quickly. There’s almost a maniacal grin that crosses her face as she loses herself in the music, dropping to her knees and shredding on her guitar – give this band another year and the shows/crowds/venues will only get bigger. And we’ll be waiting to revel in it.
Luca Brasi are a band I’ve unashamedly been turning into a diehard fan of for the last few years and again, seeing the Tassie natives grow their live show into the monster it’s become this year has been great. With their banner boasting a Thylacine proudly looking over the crowd on Friday night, the group wasted no time in rousing the large numbers. Tyler Richardson gave his all out front, while If This Is All We’re Going to Be material was received extra well. The band’s dynamic is one that has become significantly stronger off the back of relentless touring and a growth in confidence backing the music they’ve released; this brotherhood is an easy one to watch do their thing on stage.
Their own festival in Launceston, ‘Til The Wheels Fall Off, was going down over the same weekend – an event that’s been growing in prominence and standing on its own, so to see these guys being able to pull a tour like this off alongside keeping the stove on, so to speak, back home? Wunderbar talent.
Now, The Bronx. It’d been quite a few years since I’d seen the hardcore legends come on through but instantly, they brought their Cali edge to life and in turn, brought hectic circle pits to the theatre floor from early on in their set. Matt Caughthran launches himself back and forth across the stage with a viciousness younger musicians of the genre could learn from, inciting as much chaos and he did positive and good vibes.
He notes midway through the set that the band were encouraged to stay in Sydney earlier in the week but instead, they all opted to come to Adelaide earlier to hang; there was a quick environment of familiarity established by the band as they took their turn on the stage – I love a sense of genuine appreciation a visiting band has when they come through and with these guys and Soho definitely, you get that feeling pretty strongly.
As the stage was reset for the headliners, some pretty apt house music played (Lou Bega, John Farnham…) while drinks were refreshed, more Soho merch was bought outside and people took up their positions for the show ahead. With the stoner skull Violent Soho banner draped high behind Mikey Richards‘ drum kit and audio of “Waltzing Matilda” heralding their entrance, the four-piece took up instruments after the brief intermission and opened with “Dope Calypso” – a perfect kick off point for the 16-song blaze of a set to come.
Throwing a nod to their return to the ‘City of Churches’, “Jesus Stole My Girlfriend” was quick to follow in the set, while new album WACO was then given solid time in the spotlight, with “Like Soda”, “So Sentimental” and “How To Taste” providing the goods. Watching both Luke Henery and James Tidswell thrash on guitar and bass respectively, on either side of Luke Boerdam, is almost an entity of the Violent Soho show itself – #hairgoals.
The crowd rode the wave as hard as the band did, screaming along to “Viceroy” as passionately as they did “Saramona Said” and “Love is a Heavy Word”. Again, testament to the popularity of the band, it might be easy for Violent Soho to now get crowds of thousands engaged, but to keep them at that same level of captivation throughout and hanging on every single lyric, is impressive.
We were getting Violent Soho at the tail end of the national tour (Perth would follow on Saturday night) but they showed no signs of weariness or complacency. No doubt a few celebratory joints were waiting after the show – they goddamn earned it, that’s for sure.
The reviewer attended the show on Friday, November 4th.
Photos by John Goodridge.