Last night, the mighty Progfest pounded through Brisbane city, filling The Triffid with the sweet sounds of some of the most inventive and unique prog rock and metal that i’ve ever heard. After giving Sydney a healthy dose of prog on Saturday night, it was Brisbane’s turn to have some fun. Upon arrival at 1:50pm, I immediately noticed that everyone seemed to know everyone. Brisbane contains such a close-knit community in the alternative scene and amazing nights like Progfest really brings everyone together. The ping-pong table that was set up in the beer garden certainly helped. I was overjoyed to see that, even for a Sunday evening, the turnout was impressive and enthusiastic. The thing about Progfest that attracted me the most was the incredible lineup. With talented and well known local acts like Osaka Punch and Opus of a Machine to satisfy Brisbane residents and national and international acts like Orsome Wells ( Melbourne) and, of course, Leprous from Norway, not a single person left feeling unsatisfied at the end of the night.
Starting the afternoon strong with an intense and well-polished set was He Danced Ivy. Local to Brisbane for the most part, He Danced Ivy presented the already busy crowd with fast paced songs that brimmed with a wild energy. The vocals were stunning, especially when shared by all members of the band for powerful harmonies.
Following afterwards was a Brisbane three-piece called Balloons Kill Babies, boasting a dark and brutal instrumental style. For only three guys onstage, their sound almost seemed bigger than the room in the way that their breakdowns shook the crowd’s bones in the best way possible. Their musical technicality and insanely energetic stage presence worked well to get the crowd pumped and ready for more.
Lowering the energy a little too much was Kodiak Empire. This Brisbane 5-piece played a solid set but unfortunately, the crowd seemed to lose interest. Their keyboardist caught my attention with his unique style and technical prowess.
Bringing a raw and heavy edge to the night from Adelaide was Dyssidia. The sheer range of the vocalist and his transitions from singing to ripping screams was impressive enough, filled out by off-the-wall time signatures and brutal technicality from the rest of the band. Dyssidia’s raucous sound definitely got the crowd’s heads banging.
Easing off on the tension and bringing a more relaxed but energetic performance was Opus of a Machine. I personally really enjoyed their sound, a perfect combination of soft atmospheric prog and heavy grooves. Their lead guitarist is very gifted, nailing insanely technical solos with ease, while never overdoing it.
Orsome Wells were up next, and I can happily say that I am a new fan. Their laid-back but groovy prog rock vibe had everyone dancing and having fun, while the vocalist cracked jokes to get the crowd laughing and involved. By this time, the crowd had grown to fill the whole standing area. The night was definitely ramping up.
Next onstage was my personal favourite: Osaka Punch. Hitting the stage with ease and confidence, these guys know how to get the crowd moving. Their jazz-prog sound almost shouldn’t work, but they’ve found a way to sound absolutely unique and catchy. They truly were a pure to joy to listen to and see live. I know i’ll definitely be seeing them again soon.
Alythia took to the stage next, with 7 band members overflowing the stage with energy and emotion to match their intensely beautiful melodic prog sound. Their energy did not let up for the duration of their set, watching each band member be so lost in their music while playing flawlessly was a pleasure to see.
Sweeping the stage with a powerful and dark vibe was the mighty Voyager from Perth, taking us on a journey through their heavy and brooding set of songs. I had hoped they would play some more of their older songs but was only slightly disappointed. They still delivered a devastating show with precision and sheer talent.
To top the night off, we were treated to the deep and ponderous performance of Norway’s Leprous. Many people in the crowd were keen fans, singing along and headbanging to each song. The band’s stage presence was intense and focused , never once making a mistake or missing a beat in their convoluted time signatures. Despite difficulties with gear that they mentioned between songs, they still put on a fantastic show that ended Progfest on a definite high note.
At the end of the night, it was clear that the audience and mingling band members alike had enjoyed an absolute banger of a time. Amazing live shows were witnessed, plenty of beers were drunk and many people came away with new bands to listen to. Overall I was really happy with the entire night, The Triffid is an excellent place to hold Progfest and I can’t wait to attend more there. Thanks to The Music, David Roy Williams, Welkin Entertainment and Wild Things for putting together such a great night of music . Every band played stellar sets and the audience was happy and having fun. That is all a girl can ask for at a festival. Melbourne, you’re up next. We hope you enjoy Progfest as much as we did!
YOU CAN STILL BUY TICKETS TO PROGFEST 2018 IN MELBOURNE HERE!
Photography by Bec Reid