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Pix by Rashid AlKamraikhi

Words by Simon Russell-White

Exactly 5 years ago to the day Brisbane punters were treated with the (then) new electro-pop project The Black Queen by the man himself Mr. Greg Puciato. That night those who were at the Black Bear Lounge, Fortitude Valley witnessed something very intermit and something downright cool.

It really was something else, considering only six months earlier The Dillinger Escape Plan had played their last ever Australian show in our fair city. It’s fair to say, we have been lucky to witness firsts and lasts by this man, and now five years later, to the day of that Black Queen show we gather at The Brightside, Fortitude Valley to experience Greg’s solo project for the first time!

Kicking things off is Brisbane’s own, She Cries Wolf. Personally, I felt this was an interesting choice to open the show, as these dudes really bring a style of hardcore that involves crowd participation on a medium to high level. The energy was there, the delivery was there, but the building crowd was just that, building during their set.

Though, did it stop the brutality of She Cries Wolf? Never! This quintet are renowned for bringing it every time the opportunity arises, and bring it they did! If this band doesn’t get you pumped up for a show then no one will, an absolute wrecking ball of an opener, but what else do we expect from these lads?!

Next up, Brooklyn soloist Trace Amount. Brandon Gallagher is an unassuming character, and as he sets up his equipment, you can sense that he is preparing himself mentally for what he’s about to project outward to the inquisitive crowd.

As Brandon paces back and forth, the music starts and my me does that beats station (he’d just set up) pump out serious amounts of deep drum and bass coupled with repeated waves of noisecore!

To add to it, the vocals are chaotic and pummeling which only adds to the flavour, or better yet, the stench that his set created!

It was brutal and very transcendent.

Sporting an old school Nailbomb shirt is the next soloist, King Yosef. To help send this industrial metalcore into the firmament, KY is joined by a live guitarist/ beats stationist and a live drummer, which adds to the energy and overall sound on a sonic level.

This music is downright cool, and the depth of their heaviness seems endless, making one wonder if there actually is a bottom or floor to it.

Honestly, the set didn’t let up one bit and as a punter it wouldn’t be incorrect to think that it has become a deliberate challenge by the artist to find the most intense down tuning possible on the music scale, not just notation-wise but with a matching rhythm as well…. Sheesh it was intense!

This being my ninth time seeing Greg Puciato live, I was more invested in how his solo material would transpire in that arena as this was the first for me witnessing the man as a solo artist.

Prior to his set, one thing was clear, he’d be singing and singing only tonight! Though the man has a multitude of talents, and plays almost everything on Child Soldier: Creator of God (2020) and Mirrorcell (2022), both of which were released on his own label Federal Prisoner, it was cool to know he was going to just sing tonight.

His band, guitarists Nick Sadler (Daughters) and James Hammontree (aka Black Magnet), drummer Noah Taylor (Destroyer Destroyer), and bassist Jeff Geisser made for a fun bunch of dudes to join Greg on stage.

The kinship and deep friendship was evident, and it was enjoyable joining in shouting Jeff Jeff Jeff throughout the set, something of which made bassist Jeff feel awkward but Greg demanded we do so with glee! Fun times!

Greg is a real-world singer in his solo project, and it’s something to witness. The Brightside is a venue that has a very exposed stage and can also be a very quiet venue between songs, this making for the ability to pick up on any anomalies that may occur on stage.

Greg’s vocals were honest, and during the set he mentioned and pointed out that some songs were difficult to sing. This only adding to his ever present down to earth character. Songs like Never Wanted That and A Pair of Questions were flawless, but then we had another real treat mid-set!

Over the course of the evening, it was clear there was someone special was in the crowd. In fact, for a few of the band’s sets, this lady was the lighting crew!

Miss Reba Meyer of Code Orange was in the building, and we were all hoping for more than just lighting duties from her. Then it happened, Reba was invited on stage and together the pair (and band) blew our collective minds with the song Lowered, a song in which Reba features on, on the album! It was bloody marvellous!

As the set rolled on, Greg mentioned a few times that they would leave the stage and come back, moments of which made for an intermittent yet light-hearted time with the band.

We all hoped for it, and then it happened, they came back and played a few more tracks, one of which was the final treat for the night. As Greg had just got off tour with the one and only Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains fame, the band launched in the classic AIC track Them Bones.

The crowd proceeded to lose their s**t, and it was fantastic in every way!

What a fun night of tunes, Greg Puciato is an act and a human like no other. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us all next…… and something tells me we won’t be waiting too long for his next visit!

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