Sunday 18th April
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Supports: Bloom and Reliqa
We’ve been able to dance at shows in Sydney for about a month now, but walking over to a line down the street at Oxford Art Factory was such a comforting and exciting sight. Having my timeline flooded with the excitement of Thornhill’s The Dark Pool Tour so far, I could certainly understand why everyone was so eager to file in and start the evening. Even if for the bands, this would actually be round two, having already played the early show (two shows in one night is a post lockdown trend that I’d be interested to see continue because the time difference tends to draw very different crowds).
And so the night begins with an almost full venue and some very familiar faces opening up the show. Central Coast natives Reliqa saunter on stage with an enviable amount of confidence. It is understandable though when you listen to them play what could be described as borderline mathcore. Opening with popular track ‘Hangman‘, the crowd seemed incredibly receptive to the band. Finally, the group’s giant stage presence feels fitting to the venue size. Playing through a handful of tracks from their stellar Eventide EP, a small pit even began to form; something that did not go unnoticed by the ecstatic performers. The combination of the excitement of a first show back and Reliqa‘s general energy made for a really worthwhile opener.
Next up to bat is Sydney’s Bloom, another band I personally had the pleasure of seeing their debut show years back. Needless to say they’ve come a fair way and that’s made evident by the immediate energy they get from the crowd. Lead singer Jono Hawkey, jumps and screams like he’s made of adrenaline and the rest of the band immediately match his pace. The performance of some of the tracks from their latest offering In Passing are beautifully heartbreaking and they really do justice to such a great EP. Now the pit has increased to about double the size and there are a few punters getting some pretty impressive air time at this point and I couldn’t help but wonder what that meant for the headliner.
If anyone had their money on “The crowd would be exhausted” then you’ve clearly never been to a Thornhill show. The heavy guitars of ‘Nurture’ began and the crowd pushed to the stage like cattle to water. It’s immediately chaotic in the best way possible. This is very swiftly followed up by ‘Lavender‘ which I’d actually overheard people wishing for earlier in the night so as to be expected that was very well received. Bloom‘s Hawkey also jumped on for a bit of a guest vocal here that was quite the highlight.
‘In My Skin’, ‘Views From The Sun’ and ‘The Haze’ fly by in a spectacular blur of giant pits and dance moves. Something that makes Thorny such a great live band, is by watching them you can tell every member is enjoying themselves and it’s seriously contagious.
Now we get to my personal highlight of the evening ‘Reptile‘. I’ve described the opening riffs of this song as groovy with a general consensus that’s not the right word BUT the thundering floorboards were in my favour. Sweat levels increased by 110%, the crowd parted like the red sea and the pit became most of the room. Also guesties from everyone’s favourite tour manager Luke Houlis was mint! Watching him and frontman Jacob Charlton jump around together and completely kill it made me rethink cancelling my gym membership.
The momentum continued for the back end of the set even for slower tracks like ‘Lily And The Moon‘ which was such a vocal performance highlight. With constant assurance that this crowd was so much better than the early show, this seemed to egg everyone on a bit to push it even further. Ending with ‘Where We Go When We Die‘, the crowd surfing doubled – as did the risk of putting a hole in the floor. The band were wrapping it up it seems, but not on this crowd’s watch.
The roaring demand for an encore was just too tempting to forgo, so the boys, all mildly puffed and a little unsure walk back on with a “Fuck it, let’s play Reptile again” and holy hell does the vibe just transcend all reason, Jacob even jumping in for a bit of a biblical looking crowd surf. Truly an incredible ending to a wondrous night.
Words & Photo Gallery by the Bree Vane. Instagram: @mindtheweathervane
Please Credit & Tag Wall of Sound and Bree Vane if you repost photos on social media.
Thornhill – Australian Tour 2021
28/4 Melbourne @ Stay Gold – SOLD OUT
29/4 Bendigo @ Tonic Bar
30/4 Ballarat – SOLD OUT
1/5 Ringwood @ Baby
2/5 Albury @ Beer Deluxe
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