Story Of The Year + Headwrecked + Sunbleached @ The Brightside 27.03.23

Review: Jack Price
Photography: Luke Petty 

As Brisbane graced us with a beautiful sunset, basking the river city in shades of yellow and orange, it set the tone perfectly as Warner Street began to fill with people. While exhausted no doubt from the massive day before at Knotfest, a hum of excited anticipation started to grow as conversations overlapped. People clad in merch they grabbed the day before, “Story Of The Year” plastered across every other person. The closer it got to gates open, the more people join the line to gain entrance to Brisbane’s The Brightside.

Opening act Sunbleached enticed the growing crowd with their resonating smooth rock sounds, inviting a cool ambience across the crowd before smashing their faces with unexpected emotional screams and a post-hardcore flurry of guitars. An interesting and yet enjoyable sound from the local lads and while it was a shorter set, the band’s performance was tight.
Headwrecked were next to take stage, and the South Brisbane boys killed it with their Nu Metal meets Post-Hardcore sound complete with synth openers, squealing guitars and Chris Motionless-esk vocal style of frontman Connor Hickman.

A definite ballsy move was performing a cover of Linkin Park’s Lying From You, showcasing guitarist Jamo Benadie‘s clean vocals but they pulled it off very well. The lads took the chance to promote and play their latest single Shiver which swelled through the PA speakers, encouraging the crowd beginning to headbang along. This quartet is one local act to watch with their sophomore EP Reflection Room releasing in early April.

With the crowd nice and warmed up, there is very little movement as people want to hold their places for Story Of The Year.

Side note, as the crowd was gearing up for SOTY, a wedding party wandered into the middle of the pit. Not something you see everyday.

Finally it was time for Story Of The Year to give in to the now packed Brightside. They burst onto the stage, grinning as if greeted by old friends with open arms. Springing into action, they opened with the title track from their most recent album Tear Me To Pieces.
Despite just spending the last three days playing Knotfest, not an ounce of fatigue is shown by these guys. They came out of the gate swinging! They followed up with tracks like We Don’t Care Anymore, The Antidote and Anthem Of Our Dying Day, all performed with perfect precision and energy.
The on-stage banter between the boys was matched by the heckling between vocalist Dan Marsala and the crowd, showing equal levels of comradery between each other and the love for their fans. Marsala joked about being old, even asking one of the younger fans how old they were to realise the band was older than the fan! Parenting done right in my opinion.

The band kicked it up a notch with War, one of their heavier tracks, with Adam Russell’s backing screams blowing everyone away. The band then slowed the set down and dedicated Real Life to the newly-weds that had made their way front and centre of the crowd.

Between songs, Dan made jokes, they shared their love for Australia and confusion on the origins of the typical Aussie saying “Not here to fuck spiders“. Russell queried if he was the only one with a sweaty butthole and guitarist Ryan Phillips pretended to fail an attempt to play a B track requested by a long time fan.
Taking the opportunity to include their newly-wed fans, the frontman encouraged a circle pit around them, to which the crowd obliged. Fans expressed their gratitude to the band by delivering shots which were met with mixed responses.
The “encore”, which they didn’t leave the stage for due to the Brightside being a little on the intimate side, was a medley of songs by bands Story Of The Year hold close to their hearts.
The kicked it off with Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard, whom they will sharing the stage with later in the year, before jumping into (I’m Not) Okay by My Chemical Romance. Closing the homage was The Taste Of Ink from nine other than The Used.
The boys mucked around on stage, sliding around the now sweat soaked stage while a rhythmical bass drum got the crowd clapping and moving before slowing for the final song preceded by a resonating and comical vocal session between Marsala and the crowd. And of course the band ended on Until The Day I Die, an absolute anthem for the masses of fans that sing every word with as much passion as the band delivers to them, and a perfect example of what perfecting your craft over 20 years looks like.