Review and Pictures : Dan Maynard
It’s a Monday and on top of that, it’s the day after a sold out Good Things festival in Brisbane, but that ain’t stopping punters heading to The Tivoli to catch Swedish punk rockers Millencolin. I watch as the crowd begins to flood The Tivoli and I notice one main thing that stands out, punk never dies. Millencolin took like a tsunami in the late 90s early 2000s, releasing earworm after earworm to a community of skaters across the globe. And tonight, the same community are coming through those iconic doors, still looking as punk as ever and I mean that in the best way possible.
Brisbanes very own Something Something Explosion are tonight’s opening band. An absolutely fun packed punk trio if I’ve ever seen one. The crowd may be at a slower pace arriving tonight (probably all still recovering from Good Things), but that doesn’t stop leading lady Grace Drummond from performing like she’s playing to a sold out stadium. The band are full of fun antics, solid laughs between them and great banter between songs. The perfect way to begin the night.
Drastic Park are the middle child tonight. The three piece Melbournians are here to bring the more light hearted punk scene to the table. With elements of the poppier side of the genre, there’s the likes of Blink 182 and Simple Plan shining through in their set, with some massive sounding keys and synth like backing tracks to fill out an already massive sounding three piece. They even bring Something Something Explosions vocalist Grace the stage at one point, adding another dimension and again bringing Graces energy back to the stage one more time. A great way to lead us into our headliner tonight.
What 90s/00s era punk kid doesn’t know the name Millencolin? Can you even call yourself punk if you don’t know who they are? Tonight is all about one of punks greatest exports….ever. Millencolin are the band that proved that you don’t need to be So Cal to be a great punk band, you don’t need to have formed your basis and grounds in the United States, in fact, the four piece veterans hail all the way from Sweden.
As they take to the stage, it takes them no time to blast into crowd favourite Kemp from their 2002 album Home From Home. Their ballistic energy has them feeding off of each other, the crowd is instantly at a frenzy and a packed Tivoli of old school skate punks are showing why they are amongst one of the greatest generations of genre driven cultures. From Kemp, frontman Nikola Sarcevic takes a moment to speak to the crowd, but there’s no time to fuck around, Nikola announces “This song is called Bullion!” and the crowd is at a relentless pace again and they keep it up as it’s slam bam into Sense & Sensibility. It’s a concoction of nostalgia and the punters are lapping up every moment of it.
The setlist manages to incorporate at least one song from every album they’ve released over their 30 year long career….fyi, that’s 9 flipping albums. The massive hits like Fox and Penguins & Polarbears are no stranger to the crowd. Fans show their love as they overtake Nikolas vocals as they belt out the lines “You’re on the top when I am low, as soon as you’re fading I will grow” and it is just something else to witness. Around midway, the band exit the stage, leaving Nikola to his vices, grabbing a guitar rather than the bass that he usually tears up. It’s time for a ballad and I mean that quite literally. Nikola plays Pennybridge Pioneers closing track The Ballad to a captivated and emotionally devoted audience. You think skaters and punks don’t have feelings? Just stick them in a room together with Millencolin as they play The Ballad, you’ll see things differently.
The night is coming to an end, the sweat and summer humidity fills the air and it’s no surprise that the set is closed out with one of the greatest openers to an album. No Cigar hits hard as the snare cracks over the venue. The crowd know this is it and they’re dishing out every last ounce of energy they have left in them and Millencolin are clearly thriving off of it, matching the crowds energy ten fold.
We don’t get enough punk bands touring here anymore, it’s the white whale of genres that tour Australia these days, even though they do, it’s just not near as much as we’d like to see. So when bands like Millencolin bring a headlining show to town, you better believe people are gonna be all over it. And tonight is no exception. It’s smiles all round, some limps and sore backs, but it was all worth it. Yep, definitely worth it.