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[Review] The Original Wailers @ The Triffid Brisbane, 16/11/2023

What a strange life it must have been for members of Bob Marley’s band The Wailers.  Thrust into international stardom from their humble beginnings in Trench town, Kingston, the reggae royalty are said to have sold in excess of 40 million albums. And whilst few could understand the kind of shadow Bob Marley– legend, prophet and poet -must cast, if the band members touring today feel daunted by that, they certainly don’t show it. Al Anderson, one of the last people to speak with Marley before his passing, brought new members Chet (Lead Vocals / Guitar), Omar (Bass Guitar), Paapa (Drums), and Adrian (keyboard) with him to Australian shores this month and I was fortunate enough to get along to their Brisbane show.

Almost immediately, during their opener, I Shot The Sheriff, The Wailers let punters know that they’re not out to duplicate those old times, nor to try to replace Bob. Wise choice. The sound is fuller than one might expect of a reggae set, and though later in the night Chet allows himself to channel some of Bob’s canonical tone and articulation, in the first few songs he sings purposefully with a higher pitch, again letting us know this is about respect, not replication.  His use of ululation early on though also signals that he’s here for a good time. Stir it up comes next and dreadlocked Chet is heartened by the near capacity crowd echoing every lyric. He tells us “the singalong continues”. I was so glad to see Brisbane come out actually – it had been a scorcher of a day. 34 degrees at some point  and I, like many I suspect, couldn’t remember if Triffid’s old airline hangar was airconditioned.  It is … but the warmth of the night emanated regardless. A warmth that comes from Bob’s enduring message of peace and love, one love in fact; a message the world feels like it needs right now. Indeed, at one point Chet stresses that they’re all about love – still , not just romantic love, but brotherly love, neighbourly love, love for your family and friends.  He asks us to come together and share that love “grab the person next to you and tell them you love them” he implores.  We do. 

Could You Be Loved conveniently follows. Here, each of the guitarists is let stray a little and I start to really notice their uncharacteristic use of overdrive pedals. Though the echoey effect – a near constant throughout the set- is quite different to Marley’s own guitar tone that was fatter, chunky even, it somehow works. During Three Little Birds the band again suggests the crowd “sounds wonderful”.  My girlfriend laughs and says she’s not sure but… at a gig like this, it’s hard not to believe at least that, every little thing is gonna be alright.  In some ways, I wish Adrian’s keyboard was foregrounded more in this and some later tunes and the absence of some reggae staples like the single strumming and stripped back tone are noticeable.  But when Is this Love starts, any at all doubts and fears fall by the wayside and the message of the music is tangible in the room; smellable even.  Like many songs, this one is extended to allow individual members, this time American born Al Anderson, to showcase their skills.  It’s easy to see why Bob Marley, and later Peter Tosh, picked Al so many years ago. His skill as a lead guitarist are unquestionable and he uses the spotlight in this song to veer off track, taking us on a mind-altering journey, more psychedelic rock than reggae. Though next year, Al tells us, will mark 50 years of playing with or for Bob, he is far from a ‘has been’.  The lead guitarist, has also worked with the likes of Ben Harper and Lauren Hill and has received multiple Grammy nominations, including one in 2013. 

At this point, I am not sure if the daze in the room has gotten to me or if the trancey echo of the hangar has simply been misplaced.  Everything seems slower- a relaxed Jamaican pace takes over.  During Legalize It, a track recorded with Peter Tosh, it is Paapa Nyarkoh’s turn to take centre stage.  He does so with ease, reminding us, oddly that drums are utterly pivotal to reggae music, its heartbeat if it were.  The ultra relaxed Hypocrites off the Songs of Freedom album is next and helps to highlight Bob’s undeniable lyricism and genius for word play.  Anyone who knows the original track will also appreciate that this was the sound of the night – a more dub sound with amp-reliant guitar.  During No Woman, No Cry, the original Wailer himself, Al, extends the song with another brilliant guitar solo.  It’s starting to feel like they are wrapping up – they have played for an hour and certainly no one would leave disappointed. The reggae royalty leave the stage. 

But the crowd’s roar, spurred all the more by keyboardist, Adrian, coming out to psyche us up, entice the 5 piece crew to grace the stage again. Jamming begins the list of encores and ends with bassist and drummer, brothers in arms and in real life, joining for an impromptu jam themselves. Their improvisation turns jazz-like at one stage and the Brisbane crowd were certainly enjoying it, screaming their support. At this point, original Wailer Anderson reflects with us. He describes Australia and New Zealand as having always supported the band. The U.S and U.K were slower to appreciate us he explains. “We were too slow.. and they were hesitant to give up their disco”. Anderson also takes the opportunity to encourage the crowd to show their support on social media, where they’re looking forward to giving away lots of merch, Stratocasters even. Speaking of merch, we’re reminded too that fans can grab albums, t-shirt and more outside. “It’s not a hustle” he stresses, but can help them continue touring. Though he toured more during Bob’s time, a love for the stage is still visible. Anderson tells us he loves Australia and prays for our first nations people, for all people in fact. Song of the divine, released in 2022, comes next. This is a very spiritual song, Anderson has said, its laid back floating sound cannot help but relax the crowd further. The set ends with Buffalo Soldier. Though only posthumously released in 1983 after Marley’s death, it has become one of his most revered tracks. It is perhaps no coincidence that this was the only really political song of the night. With war and famine, hate and division persisting today, The Original Wailers chose instead, at least primarily, to remind us of love and light. The entire hangar shakes when the crowd join in to Buffalo Soldier’s chanted hook “woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy”.  What a treat to have our voices rise with- at least one of- the legends Bob Marley created with. This ska, come Rastafarian reggae tribe have undoubtedly changed the music world forever.  Let us hope it is not too late for their message of love to change the world too. 

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[Review] Switchfoot @ The Triffid, Brisbane 31/01/2023

Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award Winning rock outfit Switchfoot made their long awaited return to Australian shores and played their first show of their tour on Tuesday night at Brisbane’s Triffid. Their global fan base as strong as ever, not deterred at all by the midweek show and looming heatwave, sold out the event and showed up early and excited with the line stretching down the street outside the venue.  I myself have been a fan since the 2000 release of ‘Learning To Breathe’, which now has a special place in my heart, however this will be my first time seeing them live and I couldn’t be more excited.

Local heavy hitters Nervous Light opened the night with a sampled intro from modern day spiritual philosopher Alan Watts. This spiked interest from the start, implying an indication of the depth of the music about to saturate the Triffid. From opening track Rope, the band didn’t disappoint delivering an emo vibe any Mayday Parade fan would love. Their tracks bridge emo, pop punk and metalcore with an extremely natural flow. The depth and disparity in each track, given strength by the combined talents of Jordan Olive (guitar/vocals), Antony Borrmann (guitar/vocals) and Rich Brown (bass/vocals) all contributing their unique vocal styles through all songs. Latest single, Coffee Stains & Picture Frames, hit the crowd full on, projecting a melancholic feel across the room, the crowd mesmerised by Brown’s emotional guttural intensity. 

They lifted the tone with pop-punk drenched Outsider bringing out the crowd and continued through their set closing with a haunting intro to their popular track Haunt. All three guitarists on vocals providing an intense ending to an incredible set. Nervous Light may have seemed like an interesting choice to open for the popular Christian rock act but the response from the crowd indicated it was a chance well taken. You gotta love it when the support band for the night becomes a new favourite local act – I’m looking forward to seeing these guys again live and immersing myself in their recorded work.

SwitchfootJon Foreman (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Foreman (bass guitar, backing vocals), Chad Butler (drums, percussion), and Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals) – walk up onto the stage with touring guitarist Boaz Roberts, to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd. The gentle guitar riff to Beloved begins and Jon’s comforting vocals with wise words join in soon after.  The band forms an immediate connection with the audience and sets the intentions for the rest of the show.

Taking us back a bit further into their impressive discography spanning almost a quarter of a century, they lift the energy in the room with Stars and Oh Gravity. Then called on the crowd to help them in the opening chant for Hello Hurricane, the title track for the album that won them a Grammy Award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album in 2011. Jon jumps up onto the crowd barrier, scaling along, touching as many hands as he can, using some for support, before jumping back up onto the stage to finish the song.

Bull in a China Shop kicks off and fittingly, Jon steps off the stage once again, this time crossing the barrier and launching into the crowd, moving towards the back of the venue – not missing a single word. “I wanna rock this block like a bull in a china shop!”  His vivacity and enthusiasm is contagious. The room is jam packed and it’s hard to make out where he’s gotten to, but before long I realise that he hasn’t just gone to the back of the room… he’s made his way upstairs and is now up with the crowd on the mezzanine!  This is fantastic!  The venue security have an easy job with the respectful crowd but are having an absolute field day trying to keep up with Jon! The song ends with the frontman still up on the mezzanine, exclaiming how grateful he is for having this opportunity to be back in Australia. He shared a tale of his time in this country as an exchange student at university. 

It takes him almost the entirety of If I Were You to get back to the stage with the rest of the band then is passed his acoustic and begins to play I Won’t Let You Go.  The ENTIRE crowd sings along with him from the very first breath and word.  A special kind of harmony is created and has its own life when a venue of fans erupts in unison and form a union with the band like this. Jon sings in falsetto and the audience has its own register – this song is given a whole new meaning when it’s played live and exactly like this.

Jon introduced Boaz Roberts on electric guitar and tells of how he convinced Boaz to go for a surf when they were just in New Zealand… and Boaz injured his foot, slicing his heel on a rock – this explains it looking a little like a balancing act for someone who’s use to moving freely wielding the guitar and stomping on pedals – he’s doing a brilliant job up there keeping up with the energy on stage and hiding the fact though!

A tom drum gets placed in front of Tim and he begins to pound it for what becomes the very heartbeat of their 2018 single Native Tongue, the words also boldly and proudly painted on Jon’s electric guitar. Fluorescent follows, and then that unmistakable and catchy groove of Tim’s bassline for Float – if Switchfoot were to have a dance track, this could very well be it!  Jon has removed his jacket for this one and heads across to Tim, arm around him – the wholesome, heart-warming brotherly love is in the air! And yes, once again, Jon makes his way back out into the audience!  

Dark Horses is probably my highlight song of the night.  It’s a track that’s always felt like an anthem to me, one for the underdogs – now, together in a sea of fans singing every word together as one, it shines a new light on those anthemic qualities.  Switchfoot have that power – the ability to bond emotive, passionate, and meaningful lyricism with a driving force of rock beats and infectious melodies to connect to and soothe the soul of the listener and earn them such loyal fans.  I wasn’t expecting this song to be the standout for me, but it was for this very reason.

Meant To Live is followed by Where I Belong, and the band get a short respite offstage before returning for a two song encore of Only Hope and Dare You To Move, which is one of the first Switchfoot songs I ever heard and is the perfect end to this crazy amazing show for me. 

You can catch Switchfoot at the remaining dates around the country:

Feb 3 – Melbourne, Max Watts

Feb 4 – Adelaide, Lion Arts Factory

Feb 6 – Perth, Freo Social – ALL AGES

Tickets available here





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VADER Announce October 2022 Australian Tour

Hardline Media could not be more thrilled to relaunch both international Metal music in Australia and Hardline Touring with Polish legends Nuclear Blast’s VADER and THY DISEASE! Playing a selection of songs from throughout their massive career, VADER will hit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne stages with THY DISEASE in October 2022. After a very quiet couple of years, this is the way to get heavy back Down Under…

Polish Death Metal legends VADER have already released their 16th studio album, Solitude In Madness (via Nuclear Blast), in 2020, with Covid-starved fans keen to see it in action, live. Never one to rest or relax, VADER have done it all during the course of their 37-year history. From playing super-aggressive, Thrash under the watchful eye of Communist Poland… signing a worldwide deal with popular UK indie label Earache Records… to touring the globe (after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, of course) and enjoying a near-maniacal fanbase, there’s no stopping the Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek – led outfit. Proof of that lies in the exceptionally great Solitude In Madness, where speed and power are back as the driving factors in VADER’s fiendish yet proficient Death Metal style. Further evidence can be found in the differences that separate previous pounder The Empire from Solitude in Madness.

With the band dynamic stable – Marek “Spider” Pająk (guitars), Tomasz “Hal” Halicki (bass), and James Stewart (drums) whom have been in VADER for almost a decade – the song-writing sessions were similar to Tibi et Igni (2014), The Empire (2016), and the tour-only Dark Age (2017). They were easy and smooth. Although things weren’t always like this in the VADER camp, the current line-up has afforded Wiwczarek a platform on which to focus VADER’s most important trait: the music.


THY DISEASE is a Polish industrial metal band from Kraków. Their lyrics generally deal with nihilism, apocalypse, and war. The band was formed in 1999, by musicians formerly active in bands like Sceptic, Anal Stench and Crionics.

Their fourth album, Rat Age (Sworn Kinds Final Verses), was released in early 2006 under Empire Records. The band’s label for the previous three albums was Metal Mind Productions.

The readers of Polish edition of Metal Hammer magazine voted THY DISEASE the best Polish debut act.


(* The Earlybird catches the worm – these tickets are cheaper, no booking fee charged! limited)






*Once presales are sold out, full price General Public ticket go on sale on Tuesday 26th April)

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