Violent Soho – Until Next Time
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane QLD
July 10th, 2022
Supports: DZ Deathrays and LOSER
My love affair with Mansfield’s finest stretches back to 2014-ish when my best mate (and +1 gig buddy for life) Jacko, told me about this band from Brisbane he got into recently that were punky, riff-heavy and had this killer track called ‘Covered In Chrome‘ that was doing the rounds on Triple J at the time. From the minute I heard Violent Soho I was hooked, and proud of the fact that Brissie had a new band (outside of Powderfinger and The Veronicas) that we could call our own and be stoked about the great things they were doing for the local community, on top of producing killer tunes at the same time. They later became the ONLY band (so far) on Wall of Sound that I was able to interview every member of – at various stages in their lives/careers – and every single time they proved they were some of the greatest and humblest human beings in the game. Two further albums, countless sweaty shows at Mansfield Tavern and beyond later, I firmly cemented myself as a long term fan of the ARIA Award-winning band, covering anything/everything with their name attached, featuring as an extra in their ‘No Shade‘ music video callout – and even going as far as promoting their album WACO at the Windsor Bowls Club where I worked – just up the road from the infamous Shed Studios where they recorded the masterpiece and would frequent for XXXX Golds during breaks.
Then came the news in July 2022 that they were going on an indefinite hiatus and to say it hit hard would be a f*cking understatement and a half. Tickets for the final show sold out in minutes with a secondary show doing the same. This review took place on the second and FINAL night these lads would hit the stage… until next time!?
Entering the venue just after 7:30pm, swarms of fans (from all ages and walks of life) headed straight for the merch table to snap up any piece of material we could to say thanks, show support for and bid farewell to the lads. Hold up a second, there’s something in my eye…
Fresh from their BIGSOUND showcases earlier in the week, LOSER hit the stage early to draw us all in with their slow jam stoner rock vibes that fit the lineup to a tee. Tim Maxwell, Emily Car & Craig Selak bashed through their set with precision and appreciation amidst a sea of Violent Soho shirts from all eras of their stellar career and the crowd proudly cheered them on after each track. With a few albums under their belt (+ being signed to Tids’ own label Domestic La La), the future is bright for this next generation of indie rockers and we’ve loved covering their evolution over the years here at WoS.
Following this, the tempo changed dramatically as DZ Deathrays hit the stage with a heartfelt and sober performance of key tracks such as ‘Gina Works At Hearts‘, ‘Like People‘ and ‘In-To-It‘ causing a ruckus amongst the mosh-ready punters. Craig from LOSER joined the band on stage for what he called a “dream come true” moment to sing ‘Fired Up‘ alongside vocalist Shane Parsons. The group also debuted a new sing-a-long inducing track that will be released soon, before the biggest surprise of the evening happened during their final song which they claimed “wasn’t even their own!”, as fellow Brisbane band Dune Rats joined them on stage for a collaborative rendition of their banger ‘Scott Green?‘ and the crowd went OFFFFF singing this back at both bands. You hear and see moments like this across the US when certain bands play and a sneaky cameo set happens – never did I think we’d get something like this in Brisbane, but it was welcomed with open arms and screams from across the entire venue.
After this (and what felt like an eternity of setting up) the lights dimmed and Mansfield’s biggest drawcard hit the stage amidst a thunderous round of applause jumping straight into ‘Sleep Year‘, and their 19-song farewell party was well underway. Understandably, there weren’t many interactions between the band and crowd between songs as they powered through their legacy set – revisiting all eras of the fourpiece in the process. ‘In the Aisle‘ and ‘Viceroy‘ followed alongside dedicated scream backs from fans. Frontman Luke Boerdam‘s iconic whiney vocals sounded crisp AF as he belted out tracks on his guitar with James Tidswell and Cheshire grinning bassist Luke Henery by his side with “replacement” Mikey on the kit behind them. Boerdam mentioned the next song was one they played just across the Brunswick Street Mall at Rics (a small music venue MANY upcoming Brisbane bands got their first start at playing) before ripping into ‘Love Is A Heavy Word‘ and not one single person was standing still during it.
Upon realising I’ve not been able to see the lads play anything live from their latest album Everything Is A-OK, you couldn’t help but sing ‘Lying on The Floor‘ in unison with its lyrical content hitting harder when realising this would be the final time we’d be able to witness it (and fellow album tracks) in a live setting. New single ‘Kamikaze‘ was up next and despite only being a couple of months old, it fit well and snug amongst their entire back catalogue of hits.
Looking around the shoulder-to-shoulder filled room (at max capacity for the first time post-covid) you could see conversations and teary eyes everywhere you looked, so imagine the room when ‘So Sentimental‘ played out. It was emotional to say the least, but the gang didn’t hold up, getting back into the swing of things slowly with ‘Saramona Said‘ and ‘Fur Eyes‘ from 2013’s critically acclaimed album Hungry Ghost. The tempo increased for former opening song ‘How to Taste‘, resulting in more eruptive moshing than before and ‘Vacation Forever’ kept the mood flowing nicely, leading up to the first elongated stop-down from the band as guitarist James ‘Tids’ Tidswell addressed the crowd with a plethora of thank yous from over the years – giving honourable mentions to managers, mentors and crew such as Johann Ponniah of IOhYou and the band’s booking agent Evan Davis, who they’ve had on the same team since 2006. The emotional speech could be felt from the barrier to the back of the room and everywhere in between – while we don’t know the intricate details of why this band are calling it a day or going on an indefinite hiatus to get technical (nor is it any of our business), Soho pushed through and thanked each and every one of us for coming along with them on this journey, stating that we are a family and their success was a joint effort between the two groups.
Luke’s anecdote about writing this next song while engaged to Tids’ sister provided a cheerful (and much needed) laugh of the night as the lads tore into ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend‘, complete with plenty of crowd surfers and bodies being flung into the air as they transitioned into ‘Like Soda‘. Then came the most powerful performance (from all parties within the walls of the Forty Music Hall) as the band called for the crowd to give them their loudest “Hell Fuck Yeah” ever for ‘Covered In Chrome‘ – which resulted in pandemonium and a sea of phones capturing the moment for the final time – see the video below for the full experience and bear witness to arguably the BEST live performance of this track since the early 2010s.
Soho walked offstage for a breather and the lights stayed off with the mob screaming and cheering for more, before they headed back out for an encore like no other – five songs long – full of energetic prowess and gut-wrenching sadness knowing that this would be the final time we’d see these guys on stage together in the near future. ‘Dope Calypso‘ lead the charge with a group of blokes beside us grabbing hold of each other, bouncing and singing along from start to finish. Then came ‘Muscle Junkie‘ which was dedicated to the old school fans who have been following the band since the mid-2000s before we all picked ourselves back up again for ‘Pick It Up Again‘ (pun intended).
2012’s ‘Tinderbox‘ rounded out the “fun” throwback sound invoking us all to scream “I TRIED SO HARD, TO SAVE IT” as we all did our very best to hold back the tears that had been swirling around inside us since the start of their set. However, none of us were in any way shape or form ready for the daunting climax of the night, ‘Okay Cathedral‘, which brought many of us to a blubbering mess as the gang somberly played through its hard-hitting and raw feel. Looking around at this point, there were plenty of arms around mates, eyes completely glued to the stage as the trio of guitarists jammed one last time for the extended outro that just seemed to go on and on forever – not in a bad way, but as if the band weren’t ready to let go of this final moment – Tids sat down on the drum stand, basking in the moment as Henery slouched on top of his bass, his hair waving back and forth like a metalhead in an earthquake and Boerdam playing his guitar, captivated by the surreal moment that this would be the final song they’d play on this stage. His performance akin to that of Kurt Cobain back in the day, with his energy levels exceeding anything we’ve seen from this man before, before he dropped to the ground and continued playing with his guitar laying flat, while he strummed along to keep the moment lasting as long as physically possible. The intense drone-like effect accompanied a wave of depression (I have no other words for it other than that) which spread across the venue like wildfire and despite Violent Soho putting on one of the BEST live shows I’ve seen them play, you couldn’t help but leave with this unnerving feeling of loss and sadness gripping tightly to your soul. The band took a final bow and reluctantly walked off stage into the shadows surrounded by a rapturous applause that (without an ounce of doubt) could have been heard by punters walking through the Valley outside at the time. Close to 3,500 fans then shuffled away from the biblical experience as we slowly gathered our thoughts and headed back into reality – turning our backs away one last time from a band who many of us shared a tight connection with – some for the better part of almost 20 years.
Usually, you’re elated and fulfilled leaving a show – ready to tell anyone and everyone about it – but this time, the mood was overshadowed by this dark lingering feeling of mourning – brought on by the abrupt notions of one of the greatest new-age Australian rock bands calling it a day… until next time. While it’s no secret that we ALL appreciate this band and everything they’ve done throughout the years, the fact that we won’t be able to see them again soon leaves you with this sense of loss, sadness and dread. They have so much potential within them and it’s still hard to comprehend a world without them in it. But this final show will go down as another memorable and significant moment in Australian music history, when a band of brothers hellbent on making a name for themselves poured their heart and souls into their last show and proved that anyone within the music industry could do the exact same, no matter how long it takes.
Until next time Violent Soho, we will all be waiting with bated breath, hope and optimism that you’ll return to us, making everything right in the world again…
Gig Review by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Until Next Time Setlist
In The Aisle
Love Is A Heavy Word
Lying On The Floor
How To Taste
Jesus Stole My Girlfriend
Covered In Chrome
Pick It Up Again