Hellions Album Tour @ The Triffid, Brisbane

I entered the Triffid’s back door and prepared for the night’s quietest set, the opener. Well when DREGG are opening for you, it’s safe to say it won’t be quiet. I passed through the security and doors to see a healthy crowd all there to see the Melbourne weirdos, DREGG. I’d seen the band before, but not for some time, and looking back it’s obvious I was not ready for what was ahead. A set similar to that of The Wiggles on acid took place that night but I definitely wouldn’t want my money back.

Crowd favourite “Sorry Daddy” popped like the cork from a bottle. It was clear that they knew exactly what they were doing. The theme of being true to one’s inner self was present, even being talked about between songs. DREGG are definitely ambassadors for self-expression and it was nice to see their platform being used to spread positive messages.

One last laugh from the set came from something most fans had been discussing. Since the release of the bands new track, “Hyperbole”, fans have been pretty quick to notice a mispronunciation. Rather than the correct ‘hi-per-bully’, the song features the phrasing ‘hyper-bowl’. “This next song is called Hyperbole, or otherwise known as Hyperbole.” Don’t get me started on the irony of writing a mispronunciation, it was just too funny to skip over. DREGG left feeling the room buzzed and ready for an evening of fun. It was quite a spectacle seeing the sheer growth the band has undergone in the past year. While it may not have been a room packed to the rafters, it was one bursting with energy. Long live the DREGG.

A man has to refill sometimes. The first half of Yours Truly was spent by me stocking up on beverages. I think we’re all familiar with the size of bar lines. I did, thankfully, get to see the Sydney pop-punk quartet rip the place apart. One of my big take outs from the set was just how clean, crisp, and straight up crazy vocalist, Mikaila Delgado’s performance was. A perfect showcase of this balance between incredible talent and fantastic mixing was the song “Delusional Paradise”.

Yours Truly had a new item to push, as we all do, their new EP Afterglow. This didn’t stop them from staying real however as they still busted out some older songs. The night had felt almost like a ‘best of’ by showcasing a wider catalogue of the band’s music. For all you keen readers, that’s going to be a theme for the rest of the evening. The crowd was again an energetic bunch, bouncing from one side of the Triffid to the other. I was still impressed with the love all the supports were getting.

As I found to be the case with Yours Truly, the new songs were getting bigger and better reactions. The newer songs genuinely did sound better live as well. The band closed out the set with their hit “High Hopes” and it was easily the most movement I’d seen so far. Another step closer to the night’s headliners and it had again felt like a headline set in itself.

As far as releases go, the Brisbane gang, Young Lions have been relatively quiet since their 2017 album Mr. Spaceman (which boasts a 10/10 here at Depth Magazine). That’s not to say that Young Lions haven’t been busy. Already this year the group have multiple tours lined up, including shows at The Big Pineapple Festival. With the exception of their 2018 single, “Help.”, the band have really just doing themselves for a while. The impacts of this were pretty evident when an almost full Triffid stood there waiting for the show to begin.

I was interested to see quite a hefty amount of songs from the band’s first album, Burn. The night’s greatest hits sessions had continued. The torch had been passed through the acts and now to Young Lions. Towards the end of the set, singer Zach Britt jumped the barricade and continued his performance from the crowd. A feat quite common in the hardcore scene, but at a venue like the Triffid, it’s surprising to see a vocalist pull that off.

Young Lions busted out a classic, “Burn the Money” and the only way I can describe it is mental. Hands were flying and people were pushing. It was the perfect mood to keep kicking on. The crowd had well and truly loosened up by this point. They’d just had three phenomenal performances and weren’t very far off the finale. Young Lions wound down, but the crowd did not; they were thriving. The band said their goodbyes and left, but the punters stayed as they knew what was just around the corner.

I’ve seen many big bands play the Triffid, but I’ve never seen the walls shake like they did for Hellions. The boys from Sydney took the stage and the crowd roared. Without a second wasted, they kicked off with “Rue”. I took a deep breath and enjoyed my last few moments before the sea of cheering fans swept me away. Familiar faces from over years of Hellions shows greeted me; from 20 people gigs all the way to sold out shows. The sense of community is what makes Hellions real to a lot of people. I was instantly taken back years to the first time meeting all these fellow patrons. We’d all shared songs and memories. Along with a gathering of veteran fans, there was an intake of fresh faces. A new era of fans were being inducted to the Hellions family, who will one day reminisce with other familiar faces to them. It’s poetic really.

As I hinted at before, the band’s set stretched as far back as their 2013 debut Die Young all the way to their latest album Rue. The catalogue was massive! I still have no idea how they jammed so many songs into a 70 minute set. It was clear by the end that everyone could go for another 70 as the vibe was electric. They continued blowing the roof off the repurposed airplane hangar with “Blueberry”, featuring superbly silky vocals from guitarist, Matt Gravolin.

During the set, the band took a few minutes to share some important thoughts. Drummer, Anthony Caruso talked about support networks and the struggles in battling mental health. They invited fans to reach out and be there for each other as we’re all one big family. Arms went around shoulders and pleasantries were shared amongst friends. I failed to find anyone who wasn’t respecting the message and sharing some love.

As hits rolled on, like Indian Summer’s fan favourite “Nottingham”, bodies floated on the crowd above and tribes of dance took over. The floor began to grow slippery as drinks found their way to the ground. ‘I remember the Triffid having carpet’ I thought to myself as my feet slid out from under me. Piles of bodies continued to go down through the set, but for each fallen man there were three people there to aid. It took me back to the community centre days of Hellions; places like Byron Bay’s YAC with hard wood floors. It felt just as intimate as those tight knit shows but with hundreds of fellow listeners.

We were now in the thick of it and hits of a bygone era were coming from left, right and centre. Along with the hits were some special shout outs from vocalist, Dre Faivre. ‘This one is for the Gaffneys’ he said, leading into one of the night’s biggest moments, “Penultimate Year”. The crowd went wild as people clambered on top of shoulders and fans rushed to the front. Next up was Opera Oblivia’s “25” and in the spirit ‘This one’s for Jack’ (a shameless self-plug at very best). Last but not least, as the band played the opening few notes to self-titled track “Hellions”, Dre gave the most important dedication: ‘This one is for you Brisbane, if you guys had a theme song then this would be it!’ The reception was deafening, and the pit was madness. I can still feel the effects of those flying elbows. This night was all about paying tribute; to the fans, to the music, to the memories and the band members.

If you’ve been up to date on Hellions news lately, you’d probably be aware of the upcoming departure from Matt Gravolin. This was one of the final shows in Hellions traditional format, as he is a founding member of the band. Following the chaos of the set’s second-last song “Thresher”, we were reminded of this bittersweet fact from Josh Campiao, the band’s rhythm guitarist. Gravolin went on to make a speech about how lucky he felt to be a part of Hellions, to be supported by such caring fans and to be given a platform to share such personal thoughts. ‘I couldn’t think of a better way for this to come to an end for me.’ Fans cried out their love for Gravolin and he appeared to take in the set’s last few moments. A smile crept across his face and they marched into the show’s last song.

The night’s final dedication was one that hit heavy in the hearts of everyone. ‘This one’s for Wob’ Dre said. The crowd laughed, clapped and cheered, a monumental send off. The band ripped into “Smile” which garnered an overwhelming response. If the Triffid could house fireworks, there would have been plenty at that moment. I spent the next few moments toppling upside down over the barricade in a feeling of pure joy. I returned to the family of fans I had waiting for me and we sung the night away. Looking around, I could see numerous other groups doing the same. As Matt so lovingly put it, I too couldn’t think of a better way for this to come to an end.

[Photos courtesy of Rowan Donohue]
Jack Walsh

A fan of music and an even bigger fan of his opinions, Jack Walsh is a resident content creator of Depth Magazine. He is currently studying a Creative Writing degree and hopes to someday be writing for Rolling Stone. [Enjoyed the read? Shout Jack a beer.]

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