Date / Venue: Thursday July 7th, 2016 - Maxx Watt's, Brisbane
Tucked down a small side street in Brisbane's trendy West End, the live room at Max Watts (formerly Hi Fi Bar) is a staple of the Queensland music scene. Boasting a sizable stage and dance floor yet remaining an intimate theatre style, the venue has become something of an Alternative music hub. Knowing this, it's no surprise that Max Watts was the venue of choice for Seattle based Alt/Metal/Punk legends The Fall of Troy as they made their way up Australia's East Coast, touring in support of their 'OK' album, the first released since announcing their hiatus in 2010
Starting the show off nice and early were Brisbane Funk Metallers Osaka Punch. These guys have been ripping up all over Brisbane recently, growing their audience and name amongst many of the countries biggest bands. Despite the 7:30 start, fans who already rolled in early to catch them were rewarded with a great set. Osaka Punch have a killer rhythm section and it's a great platform for ultra charismatic front man Jack Muzak, who on top of singing and jamming on synths, provided some of the best interpretive dance I've seen in some time! It was a set of big dynamics and thunderous breakdowns. Although overplaying muddied some sections into sloppiness, the great musicianship shown on stage quickly pulled it back. These guys are going to be one to watch!
Sydney's Meniscus were up next with an entirely different mood. Dark and brooding, patient and building, the multimedia event captured the growing crowd and held them tightly in its grasp. To expect good things from an instrumental band who include their visual artist in their live show is to be expected, to have your expectations met and then some is quite a feat indeed. Under a dim light, thick musical themes played amongst stunning visual beamed onto a large screen. At times I was memorised by the rich instrumental textures, other times I was hypnotised by striking images and visual loops. Wholly, I was thoroughly impressed by a true representation of music as art.
By this time of the evening, the crowd was starting to fill up and they were sure in for something special as Closure in Moscow started to tear shit up! With a striking mixture of funk, rock and alternative, all glossed over with a intricate pop shine, Closure put on a truly professional show. Despite suffer minor technical difficulties early on, the band's professionalism, especially that of front man Christopher de Cinque managed to make light of the situation. The crowd interaction was outstanding and every member of the band absolutely owned the stage. Their songs are infectious and the crowd moved along with every beat as the band ripped through a solid and greatly varied set. Every time I have seen Closure in Moscow, they have left me impressed and with the shorter set tonight, they left me wanting more. They could be one of the most unique rock acts in Australia and without a doubt one of the best live bands this great nation has to offer.
After a reasonable break and a full stage strike, the audience we were ready. Shyly walking on stage, front man Thomas Erak spoke softly into the microphone “We are The Fall of Troy from Seattle”. That was the last time we were going to experience quiet for quite some time. To describe The Fall of Troy through superlatives or comparisons would be an injustice to something that is truly unique. They are a smash up of raw talent, power, musicianship, and creativity stirred thoroughly in a pot of frenetic energy and they explode it all in every song. Shirking all song writing conventions and exploring any musical route they damn well please, The Fall of Troy's live show is a combustion of noise and chaos that is all maintained carefully by the bands combined brilliant musicianship. Despite making the announcement “We haven't played live in a while, can you tell?” this band was on fire and showed no signs of the implied rust they may have gathered other the last 5 years.
Erak's ferocious guitar playing, alternating between frantic picking and Van Halen-esque finger tapping and pinch harmonics, is more playing than you'd expect any lead guitarist to unload during a live show, let alone have to sing lead vocals over the top. How a brain can handle that level of multitasking while navigating such complex time signatures and sharp dynamic shifts is truly baffling. Simultaneously holding down the fort and tearing it down, Drummer Andrew Forsman was a whirlwind of complexity and finesse showing infinite groove when required and then pummelling the skins into oblivion when required. Keeping tight on such complex arrangements is always a tough gig for any drummer and seeing Forsmann live is something truly remarkable, using every style in a modern drummers arsenal as if it was his natural pose. It's easy when talking about a live band like The Fall on Troy to get locked in on the flashy musicianship of Forsman and Erak, but without the absolutely rock solid foundation of bassist Tim Ward, the entire foundation would crumble to the ground. Spending more time in the pocket than a cockney street orphan, Ward laid down a solid base for the others to shine.
The Fall of Troy are not an easily accessible band musically. They are an abrasive and challenging musical entity, but their strength is held in the honesty of the performance. Making jokes with the audience, engaging and bringing the vocal crowd into the performance and making them a part of the show is a true testament that this is a band that are here for the fans and deeply understand the symbiotic relationship a band like theirs has with such a dedicated core audience. To reciprocate, the crowd screamed along with every scream and sang along with every note and they danced up a storm throughout the jam packed set. The show was a completely heartfelt performance and no one left disappointed.
As the lights rose after The Fall of Troy’s encore, smiles reigned supreme amongst an audience that had been treated to an impressive evening of music. From the opening notes of Osaka Punch to the closing riff Erak shared as he remained the lone performer at the end of The Fall of Troy's set, this was a rich blend of musical styles and outstanding performances.
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