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Live Review: DZ Deathrays, PUP, Violent Soho

24 September 2018 | 2:06 pm | Nicolas Huntington

"The iconic opening notes of 'Covered In Chrome' ring out and our wildest dreams are a reality."

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For weeks, DZ Deathrays' tenth-anniversary show at The Tivoli has been the talk of the town for young Brisbanites due to the mystery of who the special unannounced opening act is. Dune Rats were a surefire for a while in the minds of many, while Violent Soho was the, “Nah, there’s no chance,” option. Yet stepping into The Tivoli, with the grand red curtains drawn shut, it’s obvious something big awaits. The lights drop out, and the Velociraptor DJ set hums into silence (“Feeling hot hot hot”), and we get our answer. The iconic opening notes of Covered In Chrome ring out and our wildest dreams are a reality. The curtain drops and it’s the one and only Violent Soho opening the night. We aren’t getting some dialled-in Soho performance though, the lads are bringing their A-game to support their best buds. Sweaty, loud, energetic, the words that describe the Violent Soho show are near endless but you know you are getting one of the best live rock bands in the country. Dropping banger after qualified banger, there may never be an opening act that gets this sort of reception again at The Tivoli because Soho completely tears the stage down. Jesus Stole My Girlfriend, Like Soda, How To Taste and Viceroy are just a few of the highlights, but to say it bluntly, Violent Soho delivered tenfold. These fellas may be on a hiatus of sorts but that’s not changed their work ethic one bit.

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Now it’s hard to move on with the night when you have just gone through the emotions that came with the Violent Soho reveal, but PUP manage to bring a higher intensity to the stage than Soho and it’s reciprocated by punters. This might just be the sea of charged-up late arrivals entering the pit though, needing to channel their anger from missing Soho. Regardless, PUP are well-known for their palpable energy and it is impossible to avoid as an audience member. Opening with angsty singalong My Life is Over And I Couldn’t Be Happier, the PUP boys immediately flip the switch. Pits erupt, punters squeeze into the equivalent of a sponge of sweat and are rung out hastily with each chorus – it’s beautiful. The Tivoli isn’t often host to the sweaty punk shows you expect of Crowbar, but PUP manage to take a huge room and shrink it, putting the entire crowd in the palm of their hand. Continuing through the unnerving train ride of short, loud, energetic expression that is Sleep In The Heat, Dark Days and Reservoir, we find ourselves questioning why our necks would even need a break from headbanging. The only short stop in their set comes from Familiar Patterns as lead singer Stefan Babcock attempts to crowd surf on an inflatable couch and succeeds, riling the proud Queensland crowd up about how much better they faired at the activity than Sydney. “Queenslander,” and, “Fuck Sydney,” chants ring out as the group start their iconic one-two punch of If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will and Dvp. All energy is well and truly spent by the time PUP come off stage.

Finally, it’s time for the party to truly start when DZ Deathrays hit the stage, backlit by a depiction of the classic DZ house party that the group first made their mark at. The opening notes of Teenage Kickstarts do their best to get the crowd into gear to mosh for just an hour more but fatigue is starting to get to punters. There’s only one answer for this, and it’s the jumping in sync, singalong energy of Total Meltdown. With a shot of huge riffs straight into our veins, the mosh erupts again and it’s starting to finally look like a DZ Deathrays show. Easily one of the most intense moshes in Australia, what the booming bass frequencies do to punters is beyond this reviewer. There’s some kind of mind control that Shane Parsons commands over crowds when the opening drop of Blood On My Leather hits. What started as a polite wave of movement erupts into something close to the Battle of Waterloo – it’s brutal. 

DZ are only three tracks in and already there are people with blood streaming down their faces - it's downright sinister moshing. On stage, the three-piece continue to drop the spiciest tunes from their discography, going all the way back to their first-ever track, Gebbie Street. The simplicity of arrangement may leave something to be desired compared to the over the top riffage expected of DZ, but boy oh boy do the classics go down a treat. Other highlights of the set include Pollyanna, Gina Works At Hearts, Blue Blood and The Mess Up, all of which receive a cataclysmic reception. The peak of the set comes surprisingly with the final track Like People and the droning thump of that riff that just fuels your soul. While the DZ fellas may be offstage, audio of the infamous DZ house party being shut down by cops spurs them back on stage for Cops Capacity and quite possibly the biggest Australian rock track since 2008 – Ocean Exploder. With the final rager of Shred For Summerthe show comes to a close and marks another triumphant win for the DZs.