Gig Review: Darkcell's Psycho Circus Brisbane 2017

Event: Psycho Circus 2017

Headliner: Darkcell

Support Acts: Trash Queen + New Clear Vision + The_MOLOTOV + Flynn Effect + Seraphic + Dragonsmead + Holistic + These Four Walls

Venue: The Brightside, Brisbane

Photography: Brandon Sheilds

Review: Jackson Price

As I make my way into the The Brightside in Fortitude Valley I’m not met with the usual style of decor and fashions I would usually associate with this venue. Faces painted in various types of horror and black metal influenced make up, trench coats, tops hats, black lace, spikes, all sorts of costumes and fashions covering everything from the classic goth look to steampunk to gore infused horror. Being here for the inaugural DARKCELL’s Psycho Circus should have made it clear things weren’t going to be the standard night out, and that just becomes more apparent as the festivities continue into the late hours.

I have arrived just in time to catch the opening act Trash Queen. Their style of heavily 70’s inspired bluesy hard rock wasn’t the first thing I expected to hear on arrival, however seemed to fit in with the whole sideshow type theme and feel the show had. This festival felt like it could be open to a large range of musical genres and tastes, and that seemed to sum up what this line up would bring. The crowd is still slowing building during the opening bands set, and Trash Queen’s groovy trip back in time and solid performance makes for a great start to the day.

New Clear Vision from the Sunshine Coast are second to take the stage with their abrasive yet funky style of nu metal. Frontman Brad Bromfield has embraced the feel of the day by donning blood covered clown face paint for the day, while some of his fellow band members have made their own statements in various fancy dress and paint. The mixture of rapping, screaming, guitar solos and fun begins the crowd moving for the day.

It’s now well after 5pm on a Saturday afternoon and Gold Coast’s The_MOLOTOV are launching into their own eclectic mix of all sorts. I really can’t pin this band down with 1 sound to describe to you. There’s an alt rock sensibility that takes sounds and ideas from an eclectic array of genres. Black metal, punk, a bit of industrial, a bit of pop. I was during this set that it dawned on me the amount of covers I was hearing. Already today I had heard Misfits and SOD from the prior bands and now a rather original version of the B52’s Rock Lobster which was manipulated really well to fit The_MOLOTOV’s MO.

The venue has reached a point of comfortable standing room by this point, and the room is looking more and more full with the higher ratio of bizarre costumes, hair styles and fashions constantly adding to the circus sideshow theme. And it’s amongst this growing party that Brisbane’s own Flynn Effect decide to change up things up with their take on dark progress music. This band brings it’s own atmosphere into the venue and the change is obvious. Even amongst some technical issues the crowd remain undeterred and focused on the impressive vocals of Tomina Vincent, while bobbing their heads and swaying to the etherial, yet heavy tunes.

The current mood in the venue is kind of fitting for the storm that has hit outside, in a good way. Except some of those jacked up hair styles aren’t as high as they once were and a lot of make up has been caused to run due to the downpour. The weather has also forced more people to take shelter in the venue just in time for the more traditional meets operatic metal sound of Seraphic. Their addition to the line up is another layer of the diversity within this festival, and I’m nat just saying that just because this is the 3rd female fronted band we have seen today. The phenomenal guitar playing is given a more classical feel and offset with constant dynamic keys parts. Seraphic’s passionate and entertaining performance sees the festival pass it’s halfway point.

It just wouldn’t be a mini festival in Brisbane without a party band, and Brisbane’s Dragonsmead have taken that role for tonights event. The folky power metal songs of drinking and conquest are a big change to their counterparts so far today. The party mood is well and truely alive with the crowd participating in the shenanigans and the 7 piece band barely fitting on the stage only adding to the party times aesthetic. The pummelling drums, violin and shreddy guitar parts are just fuel to the fire and energy that has erupted in the punters

After the light hearted and fun set is finished, it brings about the most heavy hearted part of the evening with the SEQ metal scene saying farewell to Sunny Coast metalcore outfit Holistic. It’s not the first time I have written a review on these guys, and if you have read those reviews you know I rate the band pretty highly. They didn’t fail in going out with a bang either. Their usual tight and solid set has the crowd headbanging, with pits and a wall of death breaking out all over the floor in front of the stage. Balloons are bouncing around the room and plenty of beers are being consumed in support. It was a fine way to finish that chapter, and hopefully we see some of the boys back out there again with some new projects in the future.

Filling the final slot before the headline act is These Four Walls. This was another act that seemed to come out of left field, and to begin with was met with a bit of apprehension from parts of the crowd. Their slightly more polished hard rock meets punk sound was somewhat removed from the more underground/abrasive or progression natural of the bands before them. However after a few songs they did start gaining more and more support and involvement from a large part of the room that I’m guessing had not seen or heard them before. Their fun and catchy song writing and style got cheers and punters moving by the end of the show, and I’m pretty sure they converted a few new fans by the time their time was up.

It was now time for the masterminds, organisers and headliners of the show DARKCELL. From the way the crowd reacted when the lights went down, it was very clear that this was the band most were of course here to see. It was awesome to see them celebrating the second of their 2 successful Pyscho Circus 2017 shows in such a high regard. A home town crowd seemed very fitting for the event and the band didn’t let anyone down in what was a very packed room. The band was full of their signature stage charisma as always. Jay Macabre exhibiting his highly entertaining and almost possessed drum performance, Postmortem Matt and Rit Derelict enthusiastically commanding their respective sides of the stage, and all this the backdrop for the always larger than life stage presence and antics of Jesse Dracman.

The show was a success and I take my hat ff to any band that can put in the behind the scenes work for a show like this and then preform at such a high calibre as well. Hopefully there may be another Psycho Circus sometime in the future, because is this was the start of something I’m very keen to see where it can go.

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