One month ago to the day, Brisbane alt-rock four-piece Flynn Effect were billed to headline the release show for their new album Obsidian. Most unfortunately they had to pull out of that show due to illness, but they made up for it in spades on Saturday night topping an amazing line-up of local bands.
Opening act Ravens Lair are a self-proclaimed melodic hard rock band consisting of a drummer, two guitarists on seven-strings and one hell of a powerhouse vocalist. There were only a small handful of people in the venue at this point, which meant they played to an empty floor; however the people who were there clearly enjoyed the set. The lack of a bassist is not an issue, with the seven-string guitars able to provide plenty of low end, while both guitarists also deliver some proficient lead-work as well. Ravens Lair’s music is lyrically dense, and seems to be a heavy catharsis for vocalist Lizzie Alexander. She works through songs dealing with cheating partners and stalking, and with lyrics like “… not a stalker, more of spy,” it feels as though there’s a level of detail from someone who has had some real-life experience. Alexander can smoothly transition from near psychotic screams to a gentle, operatic sweetness and right down to softly whispered parts in a short time, which creates an unnerving energy. The band does have plans to recruit a bass player which is sure to enhance an already great sound. All in all, a great choice of band to open the night.
Next up were a band I was not familiar with, but in the first 30 seconds of watching Ninth of May, I became an instant fan. According to their bio, they are a Brisvegas bogan trip-hop band, and this is a demonstration of the weirdly alluring sense of humour these guys have. They introduced their final song as their number one hit from ’96, admitting that it may have been written after three days on acid. The vocalist Adam Woods has a sound that is disturbingly similar to Ed Kowalczyk from Live; there’s unlikely any influence but the likeness is certainly there. One of the guitarists seems to have a different instrument for each song, playing different guitars as well as bass, which was absent for most of their songs. Woods admitted during his banter that the songs they’d chosen for their set were mostly new, with one song only written earlier in the week. If he had not mentioned that, you would’ve thought it was a song they’d been jamming for years. These guys are very tight, very entertaining and worth your attention.
The main support slot was filled prodigiously by Ages of Earth, a progressive rock quartet who really pushe the progressive part. When you see a band set up a djembe, you know it’s gonna be different. Ages of Earth are like the cool uncle of Maroon 5, which might be a polarising comparison, but when you hear these guys, you’ll get it. Drummer Aaron Wright is great to watch. He’s an exceptional time keeper with technicality for days. While there is an innocence to their sound, Ages of Earth are not to be underestimated. A perfect example was their song ‘Nocturnal Haven’ which relies heavily on insane, modulated electro sampling but then breaks into some fantastic odd-metre heavy rock. The crowd was fairly solid by this point, and this song really set the place alight. Ages of Earth were an obvious standout at this show and had a clear fan base in the room. They’re very likeable and it would be great to see these guys play more shows and put out their awesome brand of music.
For fans of Flynn Effect who followed the production and release of their sophomore album Obsidian, this night has taken forever to arrive. There’s a lot more to this release than usual. Earlier this year vocalist Tomina Vincent went through surgery on her vocal chords. This is obviously incredibly serious for a person who has spent thousands of hours developing their voice into an instrument. What tonight’s gig represents is a triumph over adversity. The reality of possibly not singing again took a huge toll on Vincent, but her perseverance lead her back to full health and full voice. And what a voice it is!
Flynn Effect don’t just play a set, they put on a real performance. They’re dressed like a Gothic queen and her black-uniformed army. In their usual DIY nature, Flynn Effect also program their own lighting which coincides perfectly with their music and creates a dramatic ambience, with credit going to guitarist Jesse Higginson. The set starts in near darkness, with only enough light to silhouette the band, and a dark, moody electro sample rumbling through the venue. When the opening song started and the lights lifted a little, the room had become jam packed as Brisbane was keen to finally see the performance of new material. Pre-sales must have been significant because a lot of punters clearly knew some, if not most of the songs. The appreciation from the crowd was deafening at the conclusion of each song which spurred the band on and the show just got better and better. Drummer James Laurie was admittedly not feeling his best; however there was no evidence in his performance, becoming completely soaked in sweat before the halfway mark. At one point Vincent posed what is actually quite a relevant question: “Who thinks there should be more chicks in Metal?” The crowd naturally roared in support, but hopefully when women who are already making it in the heavy world pose questions like this, it might actually inspire others to make some decisions. As the band played out their final song, the crowd was off the hook, and demanded an encore. Vincent humorously informed the crowd that the general protocol is to wait for the band to move before demanding an encore, but they delivered one more new song to the crowd’s delight.
Congratulations to Flynn Effect for an outstanding album launch and to all the supports for their brilliant performances.