Full Tilt Festival
Eatons Hill Hotel, Bris QLD
April 23rd, 2022
Featuring: Northlane, In Hearts Wake, Thy Art Is Murder, Alpha Wolf, Frenzal Rhomb, Luca Brasi, Slowly Slowly, Justice For The Damned, Reliqa, Void Of Vision, Between You & Me, Stepson and Closure,
A month ago, after 7 million reschedules (not even an exaggeration), Full Tilt Festival finally got underway in Melbourne. This Anzac Day long weekend, the festival finished in Brisbane, and we want to bring you all the amazingness we caught over the day.
I am not going to do the usual metro Brisbane thing and talk about how long it takes to get to Eatons Hill – it’s far. But I made the hike, nearly had a panic attack trying to figure out where to park, and just made it into the grounds in time for the opening act.
First up was Reliqa, who I’ve been a fan of since 2019 but have never actually had the chance to watch them. I was so glad I caught their set – the way frontwoman Monique Pym captures the audience with her soaring voice and incredible stage presence is something to be witnessed, and the whole band was so tight and polished. This group is young, but they performed like seasoned veterans, and I felt damn proud watching them take ownership of the stage. It was also great to see how many people came out early to mosh to them because they deserve huge crowds. They also debuted a thumping new song which just sounded so HUGE on a festival stage!
From Reliqa, I made my way into the Ballroom Stage to catch a bit of Stepson and here comes a gripe about this festival being at Eatons Hill. The indoor stage was nowhere near big enough- it kept filling up, meaning huge lines to try to see bands. Imagine bands like Void of Vision, Justice For The Damned and Alpha Wolf at a stage that reaches capacity quickly. And trying to get in and out was not a great time – they cut the entrances in half for one way in and out, making it slow going. I wonder if it will be the same for the Full Tilt July because big international acts will fill the ballroom very quickly, and many people will miss out (a critique to take note of).
Sorry to detract from Stepson for a minute there, but they were damn good. Even with vocalist Brock Alan Conry out due to an injury (get well soon, Brock!), the band were wild from the second they started, and the crowd got emotional and sang along.
It was time for a change of pace with Luca Brasi, who, according to frontman Tyler Richardson was the “mock meat in a fairly meat-heavy sandwich”. And while they had a more chilled vibe than many of the acts that day– they were no less rad. People LOVE this band; something about their brand of emotional songs set to dancey Aussie rock has always resonated. There was dancing and singalongs galore, especially during the cover of ‘Champagne Supernova’ by Oasis.
From one slightly more chilled Aussie-rock band to another – next up was Slowly Slowly. Frontman Ben Stewart wins the second most fashionable frontman of the day, and the band kept the dance and singalong vibes going playing new singles ‘Nothing On‘ and ‘Blueprint‘ as well as a top-notch collection from their stellar album Race Car Blues. During this set, WoS bossman Browny and a few of his powerful ranger friends did a fun little stunt, so stay tuned for more details on where that ends up
I wanted to watch Slowly Slowly for longer, but I could not miss one second of Void of Vision. This was my fourth time seeing this band, and I would see them another 4 million times. Jack Bergin (the day’s most fashionable frontman) is one of my favourite front people to watch on stage; he’s so engaging and doesn’t stop for a second. He constantly demands more from the crowd – at one stage even calling them fucking pussies. And the crowd gives it, becoming more feral and frenzied by the second with tight backup from the rest of the band. Usually, I cannot keep my eyes off Jack, but this time I could take the rest of the band in and just how tight they all are. It was great to see new songs live for the first time, and I can’t wait to see what their next Chronicles II: Heaven EP has for us upon release on Friday.
Next up was one of my highlights of the day. I’ve always wanted to see a Thy Art is Murder set because I know they are insane, and I was not disappointed. As the rain fell, the gloomy atmosphere was the perfect setting for such a brutal band and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. CJ McMahon was back after taking a break from Melbourne’s Full Tilt to have a baby, and he growled and squealed and was perfectly accompanied by the rest of the band’s talent. Thy Art’s walls of death are something of a legend, and experiencing one from the safety of a hill was so cool!
It was time for me to take a break and I chilled out watching Frenzal Rhomb, who, unfortunately, remind me of my ex because he was a fan. But they were fun, and it was music with a comedy show. A great thing about their punkness is that the songs are short, and they pack A LOT into their set. Frontman Jay Whalley joked that he’d written down 45 songs, but it still wasn’t enough, and there was a random John Farnham ‘Pressure Down’ cover to fill some time. There was lots of singing along during this set and lots of a particular smoke floating through the air. With the election coming up, a particular highlight was a song called ‘Peter Dutton is a Nazi Dog’, which was especially fun being played in the politician’s electorate.
Alpha Wolf fans packed into the Ballroom early to catch the band’s first official (big scale) Australian music festival slot. How this band hadn’t managed to play a festival down under until now is insane to think about, but they owned the stage from the second they walked on it – amidst a round of thunderous applause – to leaving after one of the most hectic performances of ‘Akudama‘ ever witnessed with bodies being flung all over the place.
We’re now getting to the pointy end, and it was time for a band I was particularly excited for – In Hearts Wake. I was lucky enough to go to their show in Brisbane last year and have been keen on them since. Sadly, something seemed to fall flat, and I don’t think that was the band’s fault. Frenzal had sound issues, and they seemed to follow into IHW’s set as well – Jake Taylor’s vocals just didn’t seem loud enough, and there didn’t seem to be much balance. However, the band was having an incredible time with guitarist Eaven Dall grooving his way all over the stage with smooth moves. I love this band, and when I saw them last year, it was a frenzy. Something didn’t seem quite right during this set, even though the band was still great. Maybe it was just me? The boys also debuted ‘Dogma‘ with co-vocalist duties from Lochie Keogh of Alpha Wolf.
Then the time had come for headliners Northlane, and I was keeeeen. Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall has said their mission is to show festival organisers that we don’t need international bands as headliners, and Northlane proved that on Saturday night. This Full Tilt had to be Aussie due to COVID restrictions, but we have so many incredible bands that can fill that top stop, and Northlane is 100% one of those bands. The set started with ‘Clockwork’ and was a mix of brand new songs from Obsidian, which was only released the day before, favourites from Alien such as ‘4D’, ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Talking Heads’ and old favourites like ‘Quantum Flux’ and ‘Rot’. One of the best parts of the set was seeing how much the band enjoyed being there, and the smile barely left Marcus Bridge’s face. In 2019 my first ever gig review for Wall of Sound was Northlane with Void of Vision supporting, and seeing them both at Full Tilt felt like such an incredible full-circle moment. My life has changed a lot in that time, and I am sure it is the same for the bands – it was just such an excellent day.
I don’t want to bring the tone down too much, but I want to be honest. While it was great to finally have a festival go ahead, and I was so thankful to be there, I have gripes. The Ballroom Stage was too small, and the Melbourne leg had crowding and capacity issues too. Missing bands because a stage/room is too small at a festival is no good.
Otherwise, it was honestly such a good day, and I was so happy to be there. I felt comfortable, surrounded by my thousands of friends in black clothing, and I could tell that everyone was just so glad the day was finally going ahead. I will leave you with my absolute favourite moment of the day – some dickhead tried to fight someone in the mosh, chasing after them to the disgust of witnesses. As the dickhead carried on, another punter yelled, “that’s not what heavy metal is about”, and that really captured the day. As the dickhead was escorted outside by security, we reflected that heavy metal was about coming together and celebrating our love of music in a supportive and fun atmosphere. What a rad day!
Gig Review by Cait Mac @cait_2tone
(In order of appearance)
Justice For The Damned
Void of Vision
Thy Art Is Murder
In Hearts Wake
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