Live Review: Violent Soho Leave A Crater In Brisbane On First Night Of WACO Tour

For fans of Brisbane’s music scene and the rock and roll renaissance it has undergone in the last five odd years, tonight, on perhaps its most sacred ground in the newly-rescued Tivoli, is the Holy Grail. It’s the very first night of Violent Soho‘s completely sold-out-like-hotcakes nationwide WACO tour, accompanied by not just their contemporaries but their very best mates in DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats along for the rollercoaster ride.

For perspective; this is Brisbane’s All-Star Pro Bowl Dream Team lineup, playing the first date of their biggest tour in history to a sardine tin sellout crowd at The Tivoli on a Tuesday night to a sweaty, rowdy crowd of young Brisbane-ites who have spent their formative years blasting their eardrums to smithereens with all or some combination of them.

We’ve hit peak motherfucking Brisbane to put it simply.

Walking in I wasn’t aware that Novocastrian splatter punk good time garage duo The Gooch Palms were also on this bill and it is one of the more pleasant surprises to see Leroy and Kat doing a bang-up job warming up the already huge crowd with their old time rock and roll noise and good-natured banter. As far as opening acts go, you couldn’t ask for one much better at breaking the ice than The Gooch Palms on any given night.

Credit to the bands and everyone backstage for fucking exactly zero spiders here tonight either, things are moving that lightning quick and efficiently there’s barely enough time to line up for a beer in between sets. Dunies are up next with You Give Love A Bad Name as their entrance music and their unbridled energy not so much raising the curtain as setting it ablaze.

Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana, Fuck It and Funny Guy all cop an absolute belting with the front of the stage seething with bodies. There’s a wall of death to commemorate the opening strains of Red Light Green Light and they road test an untitled new song on us that goes over like gangbusters. Bassist Brett singlehandedly wins the ‘I Think He Might Be Having A Seizure’ award for excellence in the field of onstage energy. How he played bass with that much polish despite treating the stage like a padded cell is a testament to his musicianship.

They throw in a cover of The Violent Femmes Blister In The Sun with most of the words replaced with gibberish, the crowd still loving every second of it. Each of the boys takes a hefty swig from a cask of Coolabah’s finest before tossing the remains out into the crowd, where it gets pounced on like hyenas on a wounded antelope before being thrown around like the most Australian beach ball of all time.

Superman cops the biggest cheer thus far but it’s very soon eclipsed by the roar and titular chants preceding Dunies’ latest single Bullshit, the crowd screaming every word despite the fact that the song was officially released not even a week ago. It’s something that has to be wonderfully encouraging for the Dune Rats boys as they work on their next record.

DZ Deathrays are onstage before you can say Black Rat and they proceed to turn the moshpit into a human blender that I’m all too happy to be caught in. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen DZ’s play as surprise entrants at Splendour In The Grass last year and it’s exhilarating to be reintroduced to live face-melters of old like The Mess Up and an electrifying No Sleep.

Some small, shameful part of me had somehow forgotten that Reflective Skull existed as a song, so it was a delight to hear it’s klaxon riffs bellow through the Tivoli, DZ’s going all the way in on it and seemingly trying to make sure those of us up the front get stomped into the floor.

Like Dune Rats before them, it’s a newie in the ferocious Blood On My Leather making the top of the highlight reel. It is an absolute belter of the highest order and its first live rendition I’ve had the chance to hear did not disappoint in the slightest, half the crowd hurtling themselves into each other without a given fuck in sight, the other half throwing down every bar right along with Shane Parsons (some opting for both).

By the time they’ve thoroughly ripped through a set-closing Gina Works At Hearts, DZ Deathrays have proven above and beyond tonight they’re perhaps one of the best pure noisemakers in the country at the moment and I feel physically spent having moshed along to every one of their tunes.

For the smallest of whiles there I’m also ever so slightly unsure if this crowd, already battered and bruised beyond belief, is going to make it through the headline act.

Fifteen minutes later the lights go out and a rumbling starts. The opening strains to WACO kickoff How To Taste jangle out across a bracing for impact crowd before the curtain drops with a flourish and Violent Soho are there thrashing out in front of them.

I was so very woefully, shamefully off about this crowd’s ability to last.

Bedlam that’s up there with the best the Tiv has ever seen (certainly some of the best I’ve ever seen in my many ventures there) is the best way to describe it from the inside. From the front, the physical moshpit stretches about as far back as it can get, the whole bottom level just a whirlpool of limbs.

New tracks from WACO blend seamlessly with the old, Viceroy going off like a frog in a sock next to a throwback Neighbour Neighbour early, So Sentimental, Fur Eyes and Saramona Said providing very brief opportunities in between for breath-catching (but mostly more moshing), Evergreen, Blanket and Dope Calypso absolutely crushing in their magnitude. There are multiple circle pits throughout and barely a moment goes by without someone being launched straight over your head. Like most Tivoli gigs though, the crowd have each other’s backs wholeheartedly at all times.

The whole set builds up like a tidal wave and when it hits its zenith and comes crashing down there may be no bigger set-closing knockout combination than the thunderous one-two of Like Soda and a Covered In Chrome that threatens to level the place. Violent Soho leave every last shred of themselves onstage and the crowd know it and love them for it.

And just like that, night one of the WACO tour is in the books and everyone departs into the night. Most, including myself, look like they’ve been caught in some kind of monsoonal weather but it’s actually just a liberal coating of sweat, both their own and belonging to probably several hundred other punters as well.

When those punters talk about some of the best shows they’ve ever witnessed in Brisbane, tonight (and without a doubt Wednesday and Friday night’s also sold out shows) should be right up there. To have three of the best bands ever to come out of this city, in their prime and truly representative of the new era, playing triumphantly at home on such an institutional stage like The Tivoli?

Tonight was so Brisbane you could tell people you saw Wally Lewis crowdsurfing past you doing a shoey and they’d probably believe you. Shit, I was there and I can’t even rule out that that didn’t happen.

Buckle up, rest of Australia. The WACO tour is coming and you’d better be ready.