Tucked away in Brisbane’s Newstead, The Triffid is fast becoming one of the more unique and fantastic live venues in the area. It’s an old commercial hangar that’s been converted into a bar and a concert hall with an outrageously cool, underground kind of feel. It’s only been open a few weeks but Velociraptor damn near blew the roof off the whole thing tonight.
If you’ve never seen a Velociraptor show with the entire 10 piece band playing you are so unfortunate it’s almost criminal. Their mash of garage, pop, punk rock, and just good old rock and roll noise is disgustingly infectious, the energy brought to the table by every band member is tangible. Frontman Jeremy Neale is in the finest of form, playing the role of the lunatic conductor and whipping the crowd into a frenzy from the opening.
The band play a hefty set of old and new. They rip through new track and futuristic punk rocker Robocop early on, forcing me to exit the line at the bar because shit, I love that song and need to dance to it immediately. Other tracks from their self-titled debut album copping a run tonight were Monster Mash and Sneakers, the former a deadpan rock and roll love song set at a 60s-themed party, the latter a jangly pop rock number that both catapult off the record and take on a life of their own in a live setting.
The band are all superbly talented musicians, but I cannot rave enough about Jeremy Neale. In an era where true frontmen are a dying breed, Neale is perhaps the living avatar of the word. His stage presence is beyond commanding and he simply oozes both confidence and cool. He spends most of the set bounding around the stage like a madman while the rest of the band plays, constantly playing up to the crowd, starting chants and interacting with audience members between songs. It makes for an absolutely fantastic live experience and, as far as performers in the Australian scene go, he is up there with the best of them.
They run through a few tracks from their debut 7″ including Hey Suzanne and Sleep With The Fishes, the crowd devouring it all. Neale at one point makes a toast to band members Simon Ridley and Shane Parsons, who just won an ARIA the other night as part of their main musical endeavour, DZ Deathrays. Celebratory swigs from the liquor bottle are all but forced upon the rest of the band by Neale and things are getting raucous. He scans the crowd for audience members who in any way resemble Shane Parsons physically and invites several up on stage for a jam. The band bring the set to a crescendo with runs through Cynthia and Riot and the old hangar is pretty much shaking.
After Neale does the obligatory band introductions for the crowd featuring an inexplicably hilarious ‘Fuck Pepsi’ chant that everyone enjoys thoroughly, Velociraptor close what’s been a wild as fuck set with the lead single from their album, Ramona. It’s a beautifully-crafted hit, a catchier than the clap ode to a lost love and, like pretty much every Velociraptor song, it leaps off of the record and morphs into an utter behemoth on the stage.
I’m sweaty, I’m breathless and I’ve had an utter blast courtesy of the wonderfully talented folks at Velociraptor. They are fun in the purest, most addictive sense. Here’s to a dramatic increase in the frequency of their live shows.