Flying back home, leaving a warm and sunny Brisbane, I’m reflecting on the past 24 hours and a night I’d never forget.
I couldn’t resist the urge to travel to another state to see these guys play, they’ve been my go to the band over the last 12 months, and this was going to be my first time seeing them perform. This also happened to be the first time I’d ever travelled to Brisbane and leaving the cold weather of Melbourne behind me was just what I needed.
Arriving at the Triffid the following evening, I walked into what looked like a fairly small outdoor space, with a neat little bar setup to the side and a food stand on the other. I managed to get there with a couple of hours to spare, so I ordered a drink, some food and waited out the next hour admiring the cool, dark and moody setup.
An hour passed and I headed out the front to have a smoke. To my surprise, I was confronted by John Floreani, vocalist of Trophy Eyes, as well as a couple of members of Trash Boat. After asking to use my lighter, I stood back and listened to John talk about how amazed he was by the fact that they were now playing a sold out Australian tour, to the likes of 500 – 700 people a night, as compared to just 18 months ago where they would be looking at about 30 – 50 people. They all then went on to talk about tours and it was quite interesting for me, being an aspiring artist myself, to really see things from their perspective.
I then headed back inside and made my way over to the Merch desk where I then ran into Callum Cramp, the drummer of Trophy Eyes, who happened to be temporarily holding the position on the stand. I went on to talk to him for a good 30 minutes, about where he’s from to where he’s loved playing, then all about their recent American tour and the response that they got over in the States. I felt privileged to be able to talk to such a genuinely down to earth guy who, as well as the rest of the band, had such a strong interest in their fans.
Finally, once the doors were opened into the main room, I couldn’t help but look in awe at what I was walking into. The whole ceiling was shaped like an old, arched aeroplane hangar. With dark blue lighting and a small, upper level mezzanine at the rear, it was easily one of the best venues I had ever been to, and I couldn’t wait to hear the sound that echoed through such a space.
The first band to kick off the night were Sydney boys, Rumours. These guys brought a very old-school pop punk feel to the stage, with similar sounds to that of The Wonder Years and Man Overboard. When they started off their set, I thought the whole bands chemistry and communication with the crowd was a little off. However, in saying that, I found that their awkwardness worked to their advantage, especially to their style of music. Being the opening band, they did their best to keep the small crowd entertained and progressively built up track-by-track into a really nice finish with their song “Clutch”.
The next band to step up were Trash Boat, straight from the UK. This was their first time touring Australia, therefore obviously their first Brisbane performance, and boy, did they put on a good show. From the first note, I could see just how tight this band was and how well they worked together. Not just your average pop punk band, incorperating a few screams and breakdowns throughout their set that I found seperated them from the likes of Neck Deep, with still that fast-paced and energetic feel. Playing a lot of songs off their most recent and powerful album, Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through, their whole perfomance was quite consistent and I was amazed by the crowds participation singing a long to almost every song.
Adelaide duo, The Hard Aches were up next, bringing a whole other style to the stage. I had been wanting to see these guys play for a very long time and they did not let me down. For a two-piece band, they can create such an impacting and unique Aussie rock sound that really goes along with their sweaty performance and alcoholic references. Having just seen Trash Boat perform it made sense why these guys were placed after, because although they were a slightly slower band, it was a nice transition into their more grungy rock sound. Starting their set out with “I freak out” off of the eponymous EP saw them get off to a slow start, with not as much crowd participation as I would have thought. However, that quickly changed with the track “Gut Full” immediately getting the crowd off their feet. Before going straight from that into “Breakdown”, the vocalist shouts into the mic “same chords, different song” which he then preceded to do with another track later on, all of which I found highly amusing. Ending off their set with “I Get Like This” had the crowd screaming that classic hit all the way through.
And last, but not least we’re hit with a perfect intro by Trophy Eyes. As the lights dimmed and the crowd went wild, lead guitarist Andrew Hallett made his way onto the stage and opened it up with those all-too-well-known chords to the song, “Home Is”. As the rest of the band made their way onto the stage, the sound of the crowd grew as the song built up into its powerful break. Immediately, I was in awe of John’s vocals and his accuracy at keeping it so on point and in range. This was then followed by other tracks off their incredible 2016 album Chemical Miracle, such as “Counting Sheep” and “Nose Bleed”, both equally brilliant live tracks that were performed as perfect as the recorded versions. In saying that, I really respect a band that can sound as good, if not better, than their recorded tracks, and they were so far living up to that. Taking it back to 2014 with their album Mend, Move On, we were able to hear the much looser and grittier sound that the album has, as compared to their latest.
John took a moment to talk about suicide and the importance of prevention leading into his own personal troubles on the subject with the track “Miracle”, screaming “it’s okay to not be okay”, before dedicating the track to all of his friends that aren’t here anymore.
Ending with their last track, “Heaven Sent”, the band left the stage as a sweaty and desperate crowd screamed for an encore that we all knew was coming, considering one of their biggest tracks hadn’t been played yet. Stepping back onto the stage by himself, with an acoustic guitar and his hair out, John made his way back over to the mic. He went on to talk about how much their lives have changed since the release of Chemical Miracle, and that they couldn’t be here without the people that were in this room. John then had the crowd repeat after him several times: “I am Chemical Miracle”, which, in my opinion, made us not just their fans but apart of something much bigger than that.
As he began singing “Daydreamer”, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the night, because if there were any song that I related the most to, it would have been this one, and I still can’t believe how well they pulled it off; with the rest of the band making their way back onto the stage as it built up into its sweet, impacting chorus.
Finally, with one track left in the tank, the drums set off their biggest hit, “Chlorine”. With the crowd still on a high from “Daydreamer”, they were taken up a whole other level, and as I felt the emotions in the room intensify, the band cruised their way through to a beautiful finish as the crowd sang those last infamous words “…I heard everybody came when they put you in the ground.”