Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane
Photos by Elizabeth Sharpe
It’s a warm but very windy Friday evening in Brisbane as I head into the Valley to see a band I have loved since I was about 14. The excitement levels are high as I meet up with friends at Crowbar for a few pre drinks before we make our way to one of my absolute favourite live music venues, The Triffid. Tonight we are treated to the amazing and legendary Shihad playing their 30-year anniversary tour supported by two brilliant bands; Sydney’s The Dead Love and Brisbane’s Young Lions. Arriving at The Triffid just after 7, the place is already packed full of fans buzzing from the energy and excitement of the night. Live music really brings people alive and seeing a band who has been such a huge part of the rock scene for the last 30 years had Brisbane’s music lovers pumped and ready for a night that will be remembered forever.
The Triffid is one of the best live music venues in Brisbane for a number of reasons. Firstly, the sound is amazing; every single time. Then of course it is just a beautifully created space, the revamped World War 2 hangar creates an eye pleasing setting for a live music performance. The whole vibe at The Triffid is just exactly what you want from a live music venue and John Collins (former Powderfinger bassist) clearly knew exactly what he was doing when he opened the venue back in 2014.
I have a friend who is completely obsessed with The Dead Love and after seeing them live last night I can now understand why. I have liked them for a while but after their performance last night it seems now I am also a little obsessed with these guys. Not only are they talented musicians but they are also just really lovely people and it was so great to meet them and have a chat later in the night. Self described as ‘shitty grunge’, they are like a beautiful mix of Nirvana, Violent Soho and Children Collide. There was so much good energy and passion coming off the stage through their performance; I love it when an opening band kicks off a night on such an extremely high level that you think to yourself, ‘well the next few bands need to match that now!’ The Dead Love played seven of their hottest tracks but I honestly wish they had played more, opening with their song 99, a perfect track to kick off the set. Every song was delivered with the same level of positive energy and passion but the standouts for me were definitely Ordinary and Sugarcoat. Both perfect sing-along tracks with the true fans in the audience made clear by who was singing along to every word. Stevie Knight’s vocals were perfection and backing vocals from both Clint Ossington and Miles Cochrane were also on point. I honestly couldn’t fault the whole performance even with the small technical difficulty at the beginning of Sugarcoat where the sound cut out completely and they had to start again, the guys handled it like the professionals that they are. I can’t wait to catch The Dead Love live again soon.
Next up Brisbane’s hard rocking Young Lions delivered a stellar performance with front man Zach Britt impressing me in a huge way. The whole band was great but my eyes were fixed on Britt as he took command of the stage and the audience with his energetic and heartfelt stage presence. After their first song Help, Britt then yelled “How we doing Brisbane?” “Wake the fuck up!” before pelting out Blue Heaven, which was my favourite song from their set. They played nine songs and included a well-delivered cover of Powderfinger’s On My Mind, a very fitting song to play at a venue created by an ex-Powderfinger member.
Shihad have managed to sell out almost every gig on this tour, including the Brisbane show so by the time they hit the stage, The Triffid was absolutely packed like a tin of music-loving sardines. Opening with a short intro and then smashing out Think You’re So Free, they had the fans in complete awe from the very beginning. Shihad know how to rock hard and rock hard they did, delivering 19 of their best hits from the most recent to the oldest songs. I have been a Shihad fan for a long time, but their mid-to-late 90s albums and songs are by far my favourites; the stand outs for me last night were definitely Pacifier, Wait And See and Home Again. With Jon Toogood shouting “Brisbane, lets blow the roof off The Triffid” before playing Home Again, a clear favourite with all the fans. There is nothing quite like being in a packed out room of people singing along at the top of your voice to songs you loved in your teens and still love today. The best part of the whole performance for me was watching the band absolutely loving every minute. Toogood had a smile on his face in between songs that clearly showed just how much he was feeling the love from the fans and just how much he loves performing, which he was clearly born to do. He announced after a few songs, “Hey Brisbane, thank you for making my rock and roll dreams come true!” Well hey Shihad, thank you for bringing us 30 years of pure and beautiful rock music! Brisbane loves you and we hope you come back again soon!
Shihad play the Metro in Sydney tonight followed by another sold out show in Melbourne on November 30 at 170 Russell. The tour celebrates 30 years of Shihad and they have also released their classic LP ‘The General Electric’ on vinyl for the first time, which was released 20 years ago.
The Dead Love