Full Tilt Festival
Reunion Park, Melb VIC
March 26th, 2022
Featuring: Northlane, In Hearts Wake, Thy Art Is Murder, Frenzal Rhomb, Luca Brasi, Slowly Slowly, Make Them Suffer, Thornhill, Void Of Vision, Clowns, Press Club, Antagonist A.D., Psycroptic, The Bennies, Drown This City and Catholic Guilt
After multiple rescheduled dates (thanks COVID), Victorians were finally lucky enough to experience the debut of Full Tilt Festival. Gathering at Melbourne’s newest outdoor music venue Reunion Park, fans came in droves to witness what would be some of the artist’s first performances post-pandemic, as well as other acts that we just can’t get enough of. As I arrived at the venue on a gloriously sunny day, my first impression of the location of the event was poor. Parking was scarce and there was no pick up/drop off zones, making it hard for those arriving in ubers/taxis. However, nobody seemed to let this dampen their spirits.
Void of Vision
Dressed in leather suits and black goggles, VoV walked on stage to be greeted by an already packed main stage. The stages visualiser warned the crowd with its message “Warning. The following show will affect your vision” but this stopped nobody from looking on in anticipation. Vocalist Jack Bergin‘s vocals were hard to hear at first, but this issue was resolved towards the end of their set. Despite being one of the event’s first groups to play, the crowd didn’t hold back with circle pits and jump moshing ensuing from the very start.
Make Them Suffer
Only moments before this band was due to hit the stage, the news of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins’ passing came to light. Those standing around me in the crowd seemed to be shocked by this news, chatting amongst themselves and sharing the announcement. As a lifelong Foo Fighters fan who only weeks ago watched this band perform, so was I…
As Make Them Suffer took to the stage to play their first show in over two years, a moment that would typically have me thrilled and excited, my attention was drawn away from the performance. Keyboardist and clean vocalist, Booka Nile‘s departure from the group had everyone wondering how her input into the band’s songs would be presented in this performance, some were anticipating a fill-in musician while others thought that the backing tracks would pick up the slack and the latter was correct. The group were presented as a four-piece and it was like watching a completely different band than what we are familiar with. Playing tracks from all eras of their career including ‘Hollowed Heart‘, ‘Fake Your Own Death‘, ‘Widower‘, and ‘Contraband‘, the crowd didn’t hold back for a second as they showed their love for the lads through singing and moshing.
Check out Wall of Sound’s chat with frontman Sean Harmanis here
As the majority of the festival’s punters flocked to the smaller tent, with most being rejected entry due to over-crowding, these guys proved that they belong on the main stage. A late start due to technical issues caused the large crowd to become restless but that quickly subsided once the group struck the first note of their performance. Vocalist Jacob Charlton poked fun of the issue by saying “It wouldn’t be a Thornhill performance without technical difficulties”. Singalongs for songs such as ‘Lily and the Moon‘ and ‘Casanova‘ were deafening, to say the least. Void of Vision vocalist Jack Bergin was invited on stage to participate in the show’s final song, ‘Reptile‘ but due to more issues, the crowd saw him visually but didn’t manage to hear a single sound he made.
Thy Art Is Murder
Full Tilt‘s heaviest band teased a surprise set on social media in the lead up to the event and even called it “a truly one of a kind experience”. The anticipation had everyone on their feet but nobody could have guessed that the treat was Bobak Rafiee of Justice For The Damned taking over vocal duties as CJ McMahon‘s was absent due to his second child’s birth just prior to the festival. Performing with only a few days’ notice, Bobak well and truly crushed all expectations. This was a Thy Art Is Murder festival set just as we remembered it, overtly massive and violent moshpits with singalongs that would have frightened the residents in the local area. There’s just nothing quite like it.
In Hearts Wake
Each member entered the stage wearing big, bulky breathing apparatuses as a statement towards our planet’s deteriorating ecosystem. My eyes were quickly focused on the visualiser behind the band, the quality of the videos being shown was spectacular and complimented each song’s story immensely (special shout out for when Evan’s MacBook Pro screensaver popped up at one point too!) The addition of two extra percussionists allowed for an incredibly strong drum sound that could be felt in the chests of the attendees. That small difference made a big impact both sonically and aesthetically. Rather than using smoke and/or pyrotechnic machines to add to the performance, the group used bubble machines, presumably to lessen the impact on our environment. Drown This City‘s vocalist Alex Reade fulfilled the guest vocalist duties for closing track ‘Hellbringer’ and she did an absolutely stellar job.
The time had come for Australian heavyweights, Northlane to finish off the festivities. With this being the band’s second show in over two years (the first show being a small club show in regional Victoria the night before), the pressure for a festival headline performance could be felt by all. Due to an expensive piece of equipment proving to be faulty last minute, the group’s start time was delayed by 25 minutes. I understand that there was a lot of preparation to make this performance perfect, so this was a disheartening blow for all those involved. By the time the guys had started playing, the frustrated crowd used the moshpit as an outlet in which they took out their frustrations. Things became very rough within the mosh, particularly throughout the classics such as ‘Dispossession’ and ‘Quantum Flux’. With a focus on their new material from upcoming album Obsidian (the tracks previewed were incredible live), the band also played a healthy mix of old and new songs spanning their 13-year career.
After their performance, I was quite unimpressed to see the lack of use of the stage visualiser because all it was used for was to display the band’s name. While it had the potential to add so much more to the performance, despite this, the band’s use of pyrotechnic, sparks, lights and smoke machines, as well as a confetti cannon, made a significant difference.
It was surreal to finally experience this event in all its glory, after being postponed multiple times and canceled in other cities. The news of this festival returning in four months had me leaving the event with a smile on my face, our deteriorated industry is well and truly making a comeback and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.
Stay tuned for more madness from Full Tilt Melbourne during the week – including the interesting developing news about the other bigger version coming in July!
Brisbane, you’re up next – don’t miss out!
Festival Review by Adam Rice
(In order of appearance)
Void of Vision
Drown This City
Make Them Suffer
Thy Art Is Murder
In Hearts Wake
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