Review : Jack Price
There’s nothing like witnessing a bands first show in our corner of the world. Doesn’t matter if they are brand new to the biz or veterans of distant lands yet to venture southward, they always seem to have the same reaction – an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude from their fanbase. And while Bad Omens are very much in their prime with their third album’s tour coming to a close, their gratitude for those at their maiden show at Brisbane’s The Triffid on a humid Monday night was powerful to say the least.
Sydney’s Bloom took the stage to warm up an already excited mob of fans. Frontman Jono Hawkey pumped up and controlled the crowd with his growling, raspy vocals being a polar opposite of guitarist and clean vocalist Jarod Mclaren’s, creating an exciting and energetic set. The guitars and drums are reminiscent of some of the best early post-hardcore bands of the 2000s, equally complementing the vocals to prove these boys from NSW aren’t here to fuck around. Between songs, they praised the headlining band for the opportunity they were given as opening act, as well as painting a picture of their own journey with anecdotes and mentions of inspiration for the following tracks. As they moshed their way towards the end of their set, The Triffid’s amphitheater was now brimming with bodies gearing up for the main course.
Darkness fell upon the crowd. As white lights erupted from the stage, growing into a warm glow, a figure garbed in a black trench coat and gloves emerged and stood centre stage. In an instant, the crowd synchronised it’s silence as Bad Omen’s frontman Noah Sebastian’s silky voice slithered like smoke into the opening of Concrete Jungle. The rest of the band filled their respective places alongside the charismatic vocalist, all dressed in black attire. Bassist Nicholas Ruffilo is hidden behind a black facemask but what his face lacks in expression, his mane of hair says for him; while guitarist and backing vocalist Joakim Karlsson takes his place on the opposite side of the stage lending his growling voice when needed. Drummer and percussionist Nick Folio is a powerhouse of talent that goes without mention, seamlessly switching from drums to percussion pad for the synth heavy tracks.
By the end of the first track, the crowd was at their mercy. Lulled into a false sense of security by the crooning vocals and androgynous stage presence of Sebastian. As the lights died once more, the vocalist emerged from the shadows, this time more menacing. Donned in a black balaclava, the once velvety voice and mesmerizing melodies that were coming from the quintet are replaced with guttural roars and raging guitars partnered with hard hitting drums. The band unleashed Artificial Suicide like a brick to the face and just like that, the crowd is let loose like a pack of wild animals. The circle pit opened like a blackhole, swallowing victims from all directions and fuck me is it a welcome sight as bodies spiral around, limbs flailing in all directions. It’s clear to see that the boys from Virginia are out for blood and bringing their all for their first trip to the land down under.
The rollercoaster ride continues as the band ebbed and flowed through from crooning tunes to heavy hitting breakdowns. The band exploded with fan favourite and sophomore single Glass Houses which is met by the moshing masses losing their minds. The Grey was a perfect follow up to this, with Noah’s operatic voice echoing through the PA, the mezzanine and floor bopping and swaying the whole time.
Sebastian addressed the masses multiple times throughout the performance, clearly the boys are excited to be in Aus and not just for Knotfest. He made a point to note that this was their first time in Australia and was impressed by the crowd, proclaiming “That’s how we do it, Brisbane!”. However, the response from the crowd is one I’m not too sure he was expecting. Most of the cat-calling and heckling throughout the show was from some of the more rowdy male punters, with their proclamations of love for the frontman.
As the lights died down for what seemed like the last time, the crowd chanted for one more song. They were left hanging, screaming for an encore. Just as I thought the chanting would die off and hoped it wouldn’t turn to boos and ruin what had been one hell of a show, the stage illuminated once more with that smokey, silky voice slithering back out to the wanting ears of the crowd as the Bad Omens boys hit them with a perfect rendition of The Death Of Peace Of Mind. Now, when I say the crowd got silly at this point, I mean they got silly. There were more than a few tears from some of the more infatuated fans.
The band finally ended on Just Pretend that spent 3 weeks at the #1 spot of the US Mainstream Rock Chart, and obviously proud achievement as they absolutely belted it out with more energy than I felt like they should have had after the hour long set. Their adoring fans lapped up every moment of the last track with Sebastian calling out for all the flashlights on their mobiles to be turned on, illuminating the crowd. As the track ended, the cheers and screams from the crowd could not have been more of a statement of the bands performance.
Individually, the members of the band addressed the crowd with signs of thanks and appreciation. Since their conception in 2015, Bad Omens have definitely put in the leg work to secure their place in the heavy music scene. Having only recently become a regular listener, the support their fanbase here in Brisbane showed the boys from Virginia, USA is unlike anything I have seen since the cease of all gigs during Covid. To see an international act such as Bad Omens venture to our homeland and have an obvious appreciation of their fans no matter where they are in the world is a breath of fresh air.
Bad Omens will appear at Knotfest 2023 In Melbourne Friday March 24th, Sydney Saturday March 25th and return to Brisbane on Sunday March 26th. After seeing their solo performance, they have definitely proven they deserve their spot on the bill and I for one will be looking forward to seeing them again.