We Came As Romans + Invent Animate + Headwreck – The Princess Theatre Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Jack Price
Photography: Luke Petty

Thunderous cracks and pops echoed in the outdoor beer garden of Wooloongabba‘s The Princess Theatre as fireworks burst overhead in a colourful display, courtesy of the Riverfire event hosted in Brisbane City, while attendees clad in black and band tees lined up for merch and drinks, conflicting with the rainbow display overhead.

Inside, the naked brickwork walls of The Princess Theatre, accented with black and gold pillars either side of the stage, and basked in low, warm lighting, is an ideal setting for tonight’s show. And as the lights begin to lower further still, the auditorium of the venue is filled with conversation and excitement as more people flow in.

Headwreck, fresh off their Reflection Room EP release tour, are first to appease the crowd. The Brissy boys are creating more and more of their own following and it is well deserved. Each time we hear these lads, their sound is getting bigger and harder. The booming bass rumbles the walls while frontman Connor Hickman‘s fry vocals and growling gutturals are perfectly complemented by cleans provided by guitarist Jamo Benadie, as showcased in Shiver.

Backing them up is bass player Dayne Paix, with both cleans and screams. The crowd are enthralled with their local band, headbanging to their post-hardcore meets nu-metal material, infused with synth trap beats, phones up recording and taking photos of the quartet tearing it up on stage.

The already invested crowd are thrown into a joyful mixture of moshing and dancing as the band performed a cover of In Da Club by 50 Cent. The unexpected curveball has the
crowd losing their minds in the pit and not a single face isn’t wearing a grin at the spectacle. Ending their set with Freefall from their 2021 EP, Glamorise Demise, the Headwreck boys have well and truly shown they have the skill and energy to not only open for but share the stage with the big players.

When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they were obviously talking about Invent Animate‘s sound! And oh boy, these guys sure know how to draw a crowd! The showroom filled in before the band hit the stage. As the lights dimmed and the intro track oozed from the house PA, the curtains rear of stage opened to the band’s logo. Not a moment’s notice and the boys burst to life with Shade AstrayMarcus Vik‘s blood-curdling scream erupting through the room.

Brissy!” Crows Vik, “This is the first time in your beautiful city!” The crowd cheers back at the frontman. ” Today, we saw some fighter jets, we saw some koalas, and now we want to see you fucking move!” before jumping straight into Labyrinthine. The arrangement of strings from guitarists Keaton Goldwire and Trey Celaya are ripe with fret tapping and technical riffs while being pushed along to the bass droning of Caleb Sherraden, all to the crashing cymbals and percussive mastery of Brody Taylor Smith.

Following up their newest single Absence Persistent with Elysium with Marcus announcing, “This Song, is your song”, for all the fans in the crowd. And for those that aren’t familiar with the band, the energy and tightness of their set is the perfect mix of metalcore and prog with technical guitars and throaty growls and screams from the frontman, not wavering for the entire set.

Ending their time entertaining the Brisbane crowd, Invent Animate ended their set with Immolation Of Night, stirring the crowd into a frenzy with their djent fueled face melter of a track, before releasing them for the headliners to deal with, like children hyped up on soft drink and cake after a birthday party. Just, without the party bags or balloons.

The lead up to tonight’s headline act feels like forever and to ease the painful wait, the house PA plays a medley of emo and pop punk tracks from artists like Fall Out BoyParamoreMy Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco. The patiently waiting punters join in singing along, keeping the energy and vibe high.

At long last, We Came As Romans took to the stage, the tag line for their recent album echoing through the venue in the distorted feminine voice, “We are Darkbloom”, setting the bands performance in motion as the high energy track Darkbloom kicks the evening into high gear. As the last leg of their Australian tour, We Came As Romans were not here to disappoint and the crowd in Brisbane were in the same mindset.

Following up with Doublespeak from the new record turns the crowd feral and opens a circle pit in the middle of the auditorium, bodies spinning and smashing into each other, a mess of aggression and angst expelling into the evening air, a beautiful sight to see as people move back covered in sweat and catching their breath while enjoying the band.

There were some very tender moments in the set as frontman Dave Stephens expressed the importance of being present and enjoying the time we have with our loved ones, not to take anything for granted, and to love one another.

His speeches obviously coming from a place of mourning and loss but also admiration and pride for the bands fallen brother, Kyle Pavone. During the sentimental track Learning To Survive, which also marked the halfway point of the set, Stephens performed the song basked in a spotlight and was visually moved by the song’s meaning and response from the crowd.

During a short break from playing, Dave teased the crowd with one word. All he had to do was say that one bloody word and this pack of hoodlums lost their mind. That word… Shoey. A roadey rolled out a box with 5 vans shoes with cans in them and as the crowd chanted, Dave, guitarists Joshua Moore and Lou Cotton, and drummer David Puckett emptied the cans into the shoes, skulling them as bass and backing vocalist Andy Glass stood abstained from the spectacle.

When questioned by the frontman why he hadn’t partaken, Glass simply said he had something better in mind. With that, he proceeded to remove one sock and perform the world’s first, well Brisbane‘s first, Sockey.

As he knelt on the stage, the crowd cheered and cackled as the can was emptied into the sock and poured in to and all over the bassist. It was a moment of humour after such a serious opening half of the set and the tension melted away instantly, proving that a little fun at someone else’s expense can be all that is needed to lighten the mood.

The chaos continued, as Glass disappeared from the stage, moving through the crowd (with security) and up to the mezzanine during Tracing Back Roots, playing bass while it hung overhead of the crowd. The band had shown that even at the end of their tour, they still had the energy to throw down as Moore and Cotton moved effortlessly around the stage as they played, while Stephens one-man-moshed centre stage the entire performance.

Golden and Hope followed before the end of the set, with Dave proclaiming the final song to be the craziest song of the night. Daggers was a perfect final song, the crowd matching the bands energy in giving him exactly what he asked for – punters crowd surfing, moshing and generally going crazy. The vocalist tested his faith in the crowd by leaving the stage, climbing the barrier and standing on them as they held him aloft as he performed. An excellent end to an excellent show.

As the band departed the stage, a cry for an encore grew. Not wanting to let their adoring fans down, We Came As Romans returned to the stage to perform arguably their biggest track to date – Black Hole. “Let’s rip this shit up. Give us something to remember until we’re back in Australia next year!” screamed the frontman as the intro swelled.

The room moved as one to the final track, everyone lending their voice to close off the show. If Stephens is a man of his word, Australia is already ready for next year’s tour! With some luck, seeing them for our festival season would be perfect. Can’t wait to see them on a bigger stage, with a bigger crowd, for even more craziness!

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