Iconic psychedelic rockers, The Brian Jonestown Massacre returned to Brisbane for their first Australian tour in three years. Having built a devoted fan base in Australia since the 1990’s, the Brisbane crowd knew they were in for a thrilling live show. Supported by the beautiful Gabriella Cohen, this mesmerising night at The Tivoli will surely stick in our minds forever.
The seductive sounds of Gabriella Cohen warmed us up before the main event. Having never seen the songstress live, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her and her band. I was awestruck when she opened the set with a solo song on electric guitar before her drummer, a bassist and lady Kate - who was switching between guitar and synth - joined her on stage. The performance was totally electrifying, they had the audience’s attention captured from the get-go with an undeniably fun chemistry between the two women, Gabriella and Kate. This created for a relaxed but engaging stage presence.
A little later in the set, Gabriella introduced her fifth tune. She explained to the audience, “The person who I wrote this song about is probably in the room”, and for this reason I was particularly excited to hear the lyrics. To my disappointment, I could not understand what she was saying. I was standing in the middle and since the stage is so big at the Tivoli and the speakers were so far apart, it left a big gap in the front-middle section where the pit of people were. We could hear more from the foldbacks than we could from front of house. Apart from that, her music and performance was smooth, heaps of fun and easy to have a boogie to. I was disheartened when Gabriella’s set got cut short because I was dying to hear more!
Not long after, we patiently waited to be drowned in infectious psychedelic shoegaze by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. After a quick tuning of his guitar from frontman, Anton Newcomb, they dived right in. Right from the first song, it was easy to tell that this crowd was full of dedicated fans. The band wowed the audience with a crazy four guitars (a 12 string!), drums, bass and the coolest, most nonchalant percussionist you’ve ever seen.
Anton showed no remorse in criticising his band members. At one point during the set, he repeatedly asked the audience if he should restart the song or if it would stump the flow, yelling at his colleagues for missing a significant pause. When groups of people in the crowd started yelling out, they restarted the song. He did this multiple times during the set and I couldn’t help but feel like I was a kid at my friend’s house, in trouble by their mother as I awkwardly stand idle by. It was obvious that the crowd favourites were “Pish” and “Anemone” both receiving excited cheers and everyone’s phones in the air, desperate to catch the performance for keepsakes.
As expected, The Brian Jonestown Massacre did not disappoint in bringing an enthralling combination of new material and songs that us fans have been familiar with for years. Newcomb and his band members had the audience mesmerised for the entire two hours. If you ever get the chance to catch them live, you won’t regret taking the opportunity!
Review by Anna Leatham
Photography by Dom Gould