Live Review: Bliss N Eso

21 June 2022 | 8:59 am | Jess Martyn

Friday, June 17 marked the first of Bliss n Eso’s shows back in Australia after several months on the road –and what a homecoming it was.

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Bliss n Eso returned to Brisbane on Friday night to finish what they started with their The Sun tour, and not without solid reinforcements. With the entire Brisbane Symphony Orchestra and their opening act Birdz in tow, they had no trouble filling up the Fortitude Music Hall with eager fans, many decked out in hoodies and masks from the merch stand. 

It was a meaningful set from the opener, traversing everything from finding your tribe and honouring your family to the pride in Indigenous history and the pain in the loss of their land. His energetic moves kept the cold at bay and the crowd abuzz through the half-hour set, an energy that built up into a restless chant of “B n E” as the clock struck nine. 

When Bliss n Eso eventually answered the call and arrived onstage, they did so in style – suited up and backed by an orchestra, their sneakers the only visible reminder of their origins. Suddenly, the early days of makeshift milk crate stages had never seemed so far away. Still, the hour that followed was all about the same four essential ingredients B n E have carried with them since the beginning. 

From the outset, there was an unmistakable charisma. Every element of the show was executed with confidence – from the video footage and the lighting to the music itself and their playful interactions with the orchestra and each other. Eso’s playful Irish jig during their set opener, Act Your Age was a perfect reminder that they’ve been living and creating to have fun for most of their impressively long careers.

Beneath the frivolity, there was plenty of depth, and it all came out in the stories of how each song came to life. Their musings on life, love, relationships and everything in between had led to the discussion of serious matters, from war to drug abuse – and although the line between playful entertainers and serious lyricists is a fine one, they never lost their balance. 

The style with which Bliss n Eso carried off every word and action was a reflection of performers who are still truly passionate about what they say and how they play it. Although much of the show was planned and choreographed, the moves managed to feel authentic, from the singalong in “Friends Like You” and the interaction with the crowd in the stands during “Reflection”, to their unbridled appreciation for the orchestra behind them. 

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Ultimately, the true dedication of Brisbane’s B n E fans made the show what it was. To have people of all ages and backgrounds turning up in 10-year-old tour shirts with all of the intricate lyrics to set closer “Addicted” forever etched in their mind is a testament to a combo that works – and we can only hope that they keep working it for years to come. 

Bliss n Eso will be playing the final shows of their The Sun tour in Queensland’s north this week – all ticketing information here