Words by David Kooyman Photography by Josh Groom @JoshGroom
Violent Soho’s latest headline tour of Aus is another huge one, with good mates The Bronx (USA) on the bill, as well homegrown talent Luca Brasi and Tired Lion.
Punters entering the Hordern are loitering with high spirits and drooling with not just the immediate desire for more beverages (Huge. F*cking. Queues) but no doubt to get a giant swig of Aussie rock and witness Soho’s biggest headline Australian tour to date. After their Laneway performances and previous national tour this year, expectations are no doubt bloody high for the night.
Tired Lion kick the night off and their brand of punk rock fills the Pavilion for the keen early crowd. ‘Suck’ kicks ass live and it certainly does the opposite of its namesake, a fitting tune for punters donning Halloween attire. The young quartet from Perth are thriving in the local alternative music scene and boy does everyone let them know, especially when certified© chooooon ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’ is played. Their set rounds out on ‘Not my Friend’ with the audience singing along to the chorus and ironically we all seem to be bloody good mates by the end of it.
The stage banner changes over to a juiced up Tassie Tiger, which can only mean Luca Brasi has landed. Hailing from St. Helens, these boys have been jet-setting all over the place, recently back from a loaded tour of Europe and the UK. Opening with ‘Count Me Out’ and belting their huge and fitting hit ‘Aeroplane’, it was clear the only feasible option now was to be right in the centre of the pit.
With their heart on sleeve lyrics mixed with garage power chords, they kept the crowd fuelled in anticipation for the headliners. Frontman Tyler Richardson passionately cries to the crowd “This shit is what we live for” to massive cheers before finishing off their set. Highlights were ‘Borders And Statelines’ and ‘Anything Near Conviction’ from their latest LP, If This Is All We’re Going To Be.
Watch our acoustic session with the band here.
Now it’s time for LA lads The Bronx, who belt out hardcore punk like a freight train with no brakes, grabbing eager punters into the caboose along for the ride. It’s hard not to develop a man crush on frontman Matt Caughthran; his vocals raw and engaging, but also importantly his banter in-between songs. At one point a punter flicks their baseball cap on the stage and Matt lovingly dons it and jokes “A bald man always needs more hats” and does a bit of a dance with it on.
Another time he is throwing some bevvies out to punters on shoulders. His stage presence keeps the crowd loose and sweaty AF, including inciting a bit of a riot for ‘Six Days A Week’. ‘White Guilt’ is a well received change in pace with its country riff and catchy opening lyric “LA Lady, you always look so uninspired”. The backdrop incorporated a Harambe-esque Gorilla with red flashing eyes, hypnotising the already intoxicated crowd into a headbanging stupor.
The Bronx keep the crowd frothing and the circle pit is lit, plus their unique Americana sound is the perfect contrast to the predominant Aussie presence on the bill. Near the end of the set Matt jumps in the crowd for what seems like an eternity and gets hoisted up high, belting out lyrics while being mobbed by fans. Apart from not being able to grow hair on his noggin’ is there anything he can’t do?
Everyone is hella keen for Soho now and when we are greeted with the familiar riff of trademark opener ‘Dope Calypso’ there’s no doubt who the bill favourites are. I find myself near some lads interestingly jiving in a thrashy fashion, without a care for bumping bystanders with drinks that they probably waited half an hour for. Little does it matter, because the entire venue erupted when the chorus hit.
A Soho set would never be complete without older favourite ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’, being introduced with a nod to the holy fella who clearly cut their grass in yesteryears. These boys sure have come a long way since their youth group days growing up in Brissy’s eastern suburb of Mansfield. Offerings from their ever popular 2013 album Holy Ghost make the rounds but it was clear that they’re here to showcase more of their newest record WACO.
‘Like Soda’ is a huge hit while slower ditty ‘So Sentimental’ gets the crowd swooning and swaying, but evidently when the chorus arrives and Luke Boerdam croons “Call me a brother… Call me a sister” the boys and gals do exactly that. Meanwhile the circle pits are going cray and really the place of choice for most lasses was clearly up on shoulders and showing their mad respect in whatever way possible.
A fun game at a Soho gig is to jump between circle pits and witness the antics. One was memorably spiced up with two guys doing the caterpillar and the slug. Another maddog whirls passed me with a bloody nose (that ain’t fake Halloween blood!) but he is still grinning ear to ear, clearly ‘cus his ears are filled with grunge banger after banger!’ Clothing is starting to become optional especially as a guy standing on mates shoulders decides he doesn’t need his pants anymore, in front of the whole crowd.
The pit subdued for a short moment when Luke Henery’s bass guitar rumbled through the entire pavilion with ‘Viceroy’, with every ticket holder singing the shit out of it with not a killjoy to be seen.
The pace changes in the set is what separates Violent Soho shows from other similar bands. Tunes like ‘Fur Eyes’ give punters a break from the mayhem and a chance to really take it all in. ‘OK Cathedral’ is one of their best played live, it always fits so nicely near the end of their set with its brilliant outro ringing through the well-established haze in the Pavilion.
The night is rounded out with an encore of ‘Tinderbox’ and the enigmatic ‘Covered in Chrome’. Fuck Yeah Violent Soho, give the people what they want and keep these tours coming, you know we’ll just keep coming back.
The tour continues in Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth…