After four false starts, Full Tilt Brisbane's leg beat the pandemic, finally hitting the ground at Eatons Hill Hotel last Saturday.
Still the current trend, with festivals of any form, come last-minute changes. With a sad blow for fans of The Bennies, the events Facebook page announced the band had pulled out last minute. Event openers, Closure moving up into their place.
The dual-stage event had an ‘Outdoor’ and indoor ‘Ballroom’ stage set up ready for the bands to entertain the eager masses. A light rain played tag with the sunshine throughout the morning with sunshine winning round one as Sydneysiders Reliqa, opened up the outdoor space.
The band took over the stage, bursting with energy from the get-go. The dynamic frontwoman Monique Pym led the eagerly awaiting music fans into the festival vibe. Their versatile frontwoman worked the crowd from the front of the stage and from behind the keys. They played through popular tracks including Hangman, Déjà vu, and the new single Bearer of Bad News.
Dominant bass combined with Pyms keyboard skills creates a metal soundscape opening up a whole new experience leaving the gathered crowd enthralled. Add in massive riffs, and belting drums from new addition Ben Knox, Reliqa saw that the festival was off to an impressive start.
Inside Brisbane locals, Stepson opened up the Ballroom stage with ferocity to a near-packed room. The intensity pushed out across the crowd injecting their high-octane brand of hardcore into the packed space. Playing through tracks old and new the band kept fans on their toes. The crowd clutching the barrier hanging off every guttural lyric. Dual vocals from Brock Alan Conry and bassist Nick Bennett created the perfect balance for their sound. Singing along, it was obviously a large portion of their home crowd were there to see Stepson. They wrapped up the set with the track Deeper Sleep. The Ballroom stage was in fact, now wide awake.
Back outdoors, one of the country's most admired punk/alt rock acts Luca Brasi do what they do best hitting the stage to an eager fanbase. The punk favourites played through as many of their popular tracks as they had time for, from Never The Right Time to Tangled: Content. Possibly one of the most underrated rock bands in the country, their fans connects fully with the magic and passion the band obviously channels through their music. No strangers to the festival circuit their live show creates the perfect vibe for fans to carry throughout the day. How this band has never risen higher into the mainstream is beyond me.
As Luca Brasi had fans joyfully jumping just meters away, Justice For The Damned called for chaos hyping up the crowd on the Ballroom stage. The popular deathcore outfit opened up at a rapid pace, Vocalist Bobak Raffiee demanded the crowd “open this pit up” as bodies unleash a frenzied force of pent-up energy. The crowd was ready for the pandemonium. Days of the pandemic induced sitting down at shows a distant memory with the sweaty chaos of the pit a welcomed return for hardcore music fans. This release was needed for both band and fans.
It’s evident the focus is a metalcore crowd with punters outside already lining up ready for the next Ballroom act Void of Vision.
As a light rain settled in, Sydney pop-punk/emo band Slowly Slowly took over the outdoor stage.
The crowd engulfed the outdoor space, gathering in mass for this popular alt-rock/punk outfit. The vibe is at a peak with girls on shoulders, crowd jumping along to the music as the band opens with Blueprint. The festival spirit is in force.
Slowly Slowly define the modern music sound with so many aspects to their sound, indie/punk/alt/rock all in there. They have created their own genre-diverse brand, and it’s a crowd-pleaser. Vocalist Ben Stewart strikes a certain emotive chord in the crowd with his ability to inject a wavering force of emotion into his melodic vocal.
They play through as many songs as possible including Creature of Habit Pt 2 and popular track 19 bringing out the pipes in the crowd. Only at an Aussie outdoor festival will you see all the colours of the Power Rangers crowd surfing. This defines the atmosphere at the outdoor stage.
An intensely penetrating bass opens Void Of Visions set to a capacity crowd in the Ballroom. Vocalist Jack Bergin makes a rock star entrance. The intensity of what is about to unfold is not lost on one single person in the room. Void of Vision capture a level of intensity many bands aims for. They open with Into The Dark and play through popular tracks including massive hit Ghost In The Machine sending the already hyped-up room into a frenzy. The crowd is swept away in the moment. The Lonely People took the set out. The crowd left wanting more.
The clouds had set in and light rain continued to fall across the outdoor stage. Mother nature was setting the scene as a silence set in across the crowd. The mic stand was donned with an ethereal-looking mascot watching over the crowd like a demonic guardian as Sydney deathcore legends Thy Art Is Murder took to the stage. An ominous mood filled the space around them. Guttural vocals from CJ McMahon invoked an ‘other worldly’ feel with the crowd channeling energy unique to a deathcore show. The band performed with a theatrical display. The crowd was fully invested in the whole experience. The music was the connecting force bringing the band and the fans together as one mammoth beast.
The band played through their set announcing bassist Brad replacing Kevvie B (Kevin Butler), off in Melbourne for a strongman competition. The Aussie music community has a strong camaraderie especially evident since the pandemic’s onset. Band members fill in for each other when someone is out (commonly) with the 'spicy cough'. They belted out tracks including Make America Hate Again and Holy War. A ‘Wall of Death’ stopped the entire venue, with the mass collision of bodies, a highlight of the day for everyone within sight of the chaos. Reign of Darkness completing their intense set.
Sydney pop-punk/emo band Closure took over the Ballroom taking some chaos out of the pace of the day. The band was meant to open the event but moved into The Bennies' place later in the day. For a newer band, their stage presence was felt across the room. The band played hits including Bedroom, Sink, and Laundry Day and brought a breath of fresh air to a day of music intensity.
Festivals in Australia never feel complete if Frenzal Rhomb isn’t on the list. As Starship classic We Built This City blasted out through the speakers, the very much adored Aussie punks appeared in their orange safety vests ready to do what they do best. The punk rock stalwarts drew a crowd of all ages playing through their short, sharp, loud, and fast set with precision and stamina. They dedicate Mummy Doesn’t Know You’re a Nazi to Peter Dutton. Flew straight into Bird Attack, progressing through a plethora of classic punk tracks. Frenzal have been hitting the tour circuit since the early ‘90s and the band (and their fans) have aged in body but not in musical spirit. The band gave the crowd classics like Uncle Ben, 5000 Cigarettes, School Reunion, Never Had So Much Fun and Punch In The Face. The last track had Luca Brasi frontman Tyler Richardson joining in before jumping in for a crowd surf. The perfect Aussie festival vibe.
Meanwhile back in Ballroom Alpha Wolf attracted a furious pack, with the band working on crowd control moving the hectic pit back from the crushing barrier. The band spoke about being on tour but were glad to be home as they played through tracks like Black Mamba, No Name, and Bleed For You. The room transformed into a massive circle pit. The dual vocals from frontman Lochie Keogh and bassist John Arnold brought a standout element to their brand of metalcore. Akudama finished off the set, the crowd was pumped ready for the next performance.
And what a performance. In Hearts Wake walked on stage masked up ready to electrify the crowd in the best possible way. You know you’re at a metalcore show when security and paramedics are on standby in the pit. The crowd was intense. The mass gathering proving the Australian metal scene is not just alive but thriving post-pandemic. The popular metal outfit from Byron Bay has built a strong following over their 15+ years on the circuit and the crowd reaction to vocalist Jake Taylor joining the band on stage said it all. After congratulations went out to guitarist Kyle Erich on the birth of his baby boy earlier in the week the band took the hungry fans into opener Crisis. The crowd surfing started from the first number putting the security to work and the paramedics on watch. New track Dogma hyped up the crowd, hands up, feet pounding the ground beneath, moving as one. The band blends metalcore, hardcore, and nu-metal genres into an explosive force giving them an edge in what can sometimes become a generic metalcore sound. Thy Art Is Murder’s ‘wall of death’ seemed a practice run as the band called for a wall of death. The crowd knew what to do and opened up ready. Security safely extracted crowd surfers; punters leaving the inner barrier with smiles a mile wide.
They work through their set giving the crowd what they came for with popular tracks Refuge and Earthwalker, then ending their set with the latest releases Son of A Witch and Hellbringer. In Hearts Wake takes melodic hardcore and gives it an ethereal infusion, producing something unique within the metalcore genre.
Moving back into the Ballroom stage is like stepping into a parallel universe. High energy is still the core element, but the contrast is stark. Melbourne pop-punks Between You And Me is full of catchy riffs and upbeat melodic punk taking charge of the Ballroom crowd. Their brand of music may be completely different, but the energy of the band is like watching a power surge take over the stage. Frontman Jake Wilson runs like a hyperactive child on Red Bull bouncing around the stage. Old fans were charging up to Supervillain, with new fans wondering why they’d never seen this band before. They had taken the intensity out of the day and transformed it into a massive party energy. With a four-year gap in-between album releases Between You and Me have just dropped their sophomore album Armageddon, the band playing a big serving of their new music. The aggression of previous bands is transformed into the same level of passion through their set. This passion flowed out across the room as the crowd grew and started jumping along with the band. They were humbled to be playing amongst such epic bands but well and truly earned their late-in-the-day billing. They saved their biggest tracks until last with Dakota having Wilson taking a massive flip off the stage into the crowd. Finishing off with Jake and bassist James “Bassy” Karagiozis, joining in the pit.
Headliners, popular Sydney metalcore powerhouse Northlane, brought the pyrotechnics to the stage taking the night to the level a closing act should. The show started with intensity before the band even took to the stage. The heat from flames bursting from cannons on stage was felt across the massive crowd. The fans seemed almost spent but as soon as the band opened the crowd drew on their final energy stores to take the night out. Crowd surfing, hands in the air, ponding the grass beneath their feet, it was their final burst from a day of intensity. The band released their latest album Obsidian just the day before taking the opportunity to introduce the crowd to their new music. They opened the night with smash single Clockworks the crowd showing their approval. Some newer tracks included the latest singles Carbonised and Plenty and were more than embraced by the crowd. Vocalist Marcus Bridge shows versatility, easily flowing from melodic to hardcore vocals.
They kept long-time fans happy with more popular tracks like Jinn, Echo Chamber and Quantum Flux finishing off the night with fan favourite Bloodline. After an intense and massive day, you would think fans would be ready to hightail it home but the demand for one more song was too great. Northlane returned to the stage with one final track, Talking Heads.
Full Tilt may have been off to a few false starts but if there was anything plainly evident from the day it was that Australian metalcore and punk fans are patient and dedicated. The turnout at Eatons Hill Hotel was in the thousands and the crowd, although at its peak at the end was still at an impressive number from the opening act.
No one went home disappointed.
BRING ON JULY!!!!!
FULL TILT FESTIVAL LINE-UP:
THE GHOST INSIDE
ICE NINE KILLS
MAKE THEM SUFFER
THE WONDER YEARS
TO THE GRAVE
*Sydney + Brisbane only
DATES AND VENUES:
SATURDAY 16 JULY – EATONS HILL OUTDOOR AND BALLROOM, BRISBANE
SUNDAY 17 JULY – BELLA VISTA FARM, SYDNEY
SATURDAY 23 JULY – PICA (PORT MELBOURNE INDUSTRIAL CENTRE FOR THE ARTS), MELBOURNE
Head to www.destroyalllines.com for more information.