In celebration of all things spooky and, uh, dead, Brisbane’s Bedlam Records rounded up an eclectic mix of fine Australian artists for their annual Halloween-based bash. This year, Deadlam spread its cobwebs over a few venues in their home of Fortitude Valley, with the main cavern being The Brightside on Warner Street; equipped with their cracking outdoor setup as well as the usual inside stage. Black Bear Lodge and The Foundry also helped host the bodies – a short walk for the punters who were keen to sample a little something from everywhere on offer.
Kicking things off nice and early at The Foundry was a young Brissy-based singer / songwriter who goes by the name Charlesworth. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Charles warmed up the room with a beautiful set of his smooth, soulful songs, delivered straight from the heart. There’s something special about this talented 20-year-old. Charlesworth even got the tears flowing with his last song – a touching piece written for his young sister, who was right up the front for her brother’s set.
Golden Age of Ballooning kept the heartfelt vibes flowing over at The Brightside with their unique blend of folk and rock, with reflections of The Gin Club and Fleet Foxes. Genuine toe-tappin’ goodness.
Bedlam’s own Twin Haus kicked things up a notch when they took to The Brightside’s carpark stage, unleashing their heavily atmospheric, ethereal jams to a solid crowd of swirling heads. Keep an eye out for this band – they are not messing around.
Festival headliners The Drones were the final act for Deadlam, and the perfect choice to top the bill. Widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest bands, no one does it like The Drones – especially live. It was shoulder-to-shoulder as the five-piece took the carpark stage for a blistering set spanning their seven incredible studio albums. 2016’s Feelin’ Kinda Free featured most prominently, as the band kicked off with the album’s opener, Private Execution – Gareth Liddiard’s chilling perspective on the death penalty handed to Andrew Chan in Indonesia last year.
The Minotaur from 2008’s Havilah tore through the audience like vicious beast, and Six Ways to Sunday from their debut 2003 record remains as powerful and menacing as ever. There is something truly incredible about the way Gareth engages with his audience; wide-eyed, spit flying, with his body bent and distorted like a man possessed. The Drones combine the untouchable combination of sheer raw power, searing beauty, and intricate, highly intelligent song writing. It takes an age to unlock their brilliance. After crushing it with the title track to 2013’s I See Seaweed, the final blow came from an oldie – one of their heaviest, darkest and most brutal tracks; The Miller’s Daughter. I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off Deadlam for 2016. Cheers for having us.
Reviewer: Steve Rodgie