16 March 2019 at The Valley Drive In
A few months ago, Twelve Foot Ninja made an announcement they were going to do a side show to the Download Festivals. There was a call out on Facebook for local bands to nominate and be nominated to represent their state as their supports. A familiar name came up on the feed as Brisbane spoke and He Danced Ivy reign supreme. Also coming along for the national tour were special guests Perth’s Voyager.
I must admit I was worried when I saw the weather report for the day. With the Valley Drive an open venue, and with afternoon downpours predicted, I decided not to let it dampen my enthusiasm. As an eager group of excited fans lined the streets waiting there was not a care in the world about the threat of the sky’s opening on us.
First up was Brisbane band He Danced Ivy described as an alternative-rock band blending grunge influenced punk-rock with punk influenced prog. These guys originated in Coffs Harbour in 2014 but soon moved to Brisbane in 2016 to further their career. I have tried to catch them live for a while now and tonight I wasn’t disappointed. Starting the set of with The Verbal Kind, I was excited to hear more. Next was one of my favourites Guillotines, the verbal intro to this song is a gentle tease to what was to come with the band smashing us with their stage presence and enthusiasm. This band is fun and energetic with a little dash of crazy and you can see they enjoy performing together. Dave Cheney (Vocals) gracefully frolicked around the stage in good humour while Sean Rudner (Lead guitar), Mitch Hart (Bass) and Josh Hayes (Drums) all reciprocating the pure enjoyment on stage. A stand out moment in any performance is when a band takes time out of their own sets to support their fans and fellow musicians when Mental Health is involved. Something unfortunately not many are keen to discuss. They respectfully showed their support for anyone suffering with mental health issues, as a result of the tragic loss of the Late Keith Flint from The Prodigy. With a very touching message prompting anyone suffering, to access help, mentioning support services and stating we are not alone. The band went on to play an old favourite of theirs they covered when they first formed in Coffs, Omen to which injected even more energy and pure emotion into the already amped crowd. A new favourite of mine Me I’m A Seller saw these guys conclude an awesome set that I truly enjoyed. The energy these guys brought to stage made me want to see more and look forward to seeing them again. If you haven’t already check out their event details below and get to a show.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/hedancedivy/?ref=br_rs
Next up was Perth’s prog infused metal band Voyager. This band knew they were against the elements from the beginning and performed as if each song was their last. The heavens had opened, the rain set in, but the saturated fans were treated to an amazing set of progy power. With memorising vocals from Daniel Estrin and the bands smooth powerful riffs they had us momentarily distracted from the soaking we were receiving from the skies. They began pumping out their catchy What a Wonderful Day and playing the crowds favourite Hyperventilating. They went on to play Lost with an inclusion of The Prodigy’s Breathe to which set the venue off and got them pumped for the remainder of their set. The band is a well-polished group and their professionalism showed in their performance. Finishing off the set with Meaning of I they left the soggy crowd satisfied. An awesome performance tonight and looking forward to catching them again soon in Brisbane at the Dead of Winter Festival later this year.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/voyageraustralia/
With the rain now set in we were facing the chance that this epic show wouldn’t go on. A decision was made to delay the show due to safety with the hope that the rain would clear. With no power, due to the risk of electrocution, there was no way for the band to notify the waiting punters of the delay. A quick social media post from the always entertaining Stevic (Bass) notified those that had shelter or those risking their devices out in the elements, of the delay. But for most of us unaware, waiting like drowned cats, we were luckily informed in a Chinese whispers style from security that they were waiting for a break in the rain. These guys wanted in and they didn’t want to cancel. They saw the dedication of fans waiting it out in the pouring rain and didn’t want to disappoint. The time was passed by getting cosy trying to keep warm with our fellow fans discussing anything from music tastes to ways to keep warm to having floating beer can races in the ankle-deep water. After what felt like a lifetime the sky cleared and the rain slowed. The river at our feet subsided and stage crew came out prepping and drying the stage for what we were here for.
Lights went out smoke billowed from the stage and we all silenced. Finally, TFN were here and cheers of relief were heard from everyone. As Rohan, Stevic, Russ and Damon came out on stage Kin belted out One Hand Killing, it was as if there wasn’t any delay at all, the crowd came out of hibernation and got busy. The crowd had thinned slightly due to the unfortunate weather situation, but what was left were the true dedicated TFN fans. From the beginning of the evening I held my ground, front and centre at the barrier, I wasn’t about to give up my spot and neither were my newly made pit friends. This was a group of equals that came together and experienced less than ideal conditions who shared the same passion. The guys knew we had suffered, and they felt it. They wanted to show us their appreciation for our dedication. Luckily due to the venues extended noise restrictions they still had plenty of time to put on an awesome set and give us what we had waited for. They continued to play favourites including their new song Insectocide, which the crowd loved. This band are hilarious and made a rather crappy situation bearable. The interaction between members and the humour shared by all was intoxicating. You can see these guys enjoy what they’re doing. With rain coming down even heavier than before they kept playing, giving us what we wall wanted. Comments about a hairdryer being chucked into a bath were thrown in to lighten the mood about the unrelenting rain. They also found time to sing Happy Birthday to drummer Russ and gave him a cupcake that was quickly scoffed so they could continue before the rains really did cancel the show. The crowd continued to sing along to their set dancing/swimming along and basically making the best of the situation. This set included all the favourites including Kingdom, Point of View and Mother Sky. They finished of the set with Invincible and took the time to thank everyone for their commitment. Twelve Foot Ninja have one more Australian show before they head off on their European tour. Check their events and ticketing details below.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/twelvefootninja/
Although the weather sucked and there was a delay this was one of my most memorable concerts I have been to in a long while. It was soul cleansing, there’s something magical about dancing in the rain. I’d much rather be rain soaked then sweat soaked anytime.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone. There is always someone who will listen. Even if you feel completely isolated and alone, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or contact Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Line-up: Twelve Foot Ninja, Voyager, He Danced Ivy
Reviewer: Cherie Smith
Photocredits: Just Ignore The Camera