Lagwagon, Friends With The Enemy, Fake News – Princess Theatre Brisbane [Live Review]

Review and gallery: James Garrahy 

By Request. What an amazing format for a gig. With a career spanning over 3 decades and a shit tonne of albums, it’s the PERFECT format for a Lagwagon gig. Tonight’s show at Brisbane’s Princess Theatre is going to be one that gets talked about for years.

I arrived fashionably late with much regret as Fake News kicked off the festivities. Now, if you’ve heard me talk about these lads, you will know exactly how I feel about them. I managed to catch the last 2 songs of their set and as usual, they just deliver an absolute monstrosity of pure punk energy. These lads are the epitome of raw live music.

Friends With The Enemy….. fucking hell! I’ve never had the chance to see them live, but this was spectacular. Female dominated vocals, 3 chord punk slop, hefty percussive energy, this is what ive wanted from the local punk scene and it makes me damn excited. With the quick fire SoCal feel, these locals shred and would not be out of place on the Fat Wreck Chords label. Fat Mike, sign this band for a multi album deal NOW! So epic.

The ’Wagon. I cannot have more love for this band. Go back and tell 15 year old JD that one day he’ll be shooting and reviewing their shows, interviewing Joey Cape, and I would’ve told you exactly where to go. This is a ‘By Request’ show, so strap in for one of the best setlists of any band ever!

How do you keep the fans happy, while still playing the tracks that everyone wants to hear? Well, you leave it to the fans. Perfection. Gracing the stage and launching straight into ‘Island of Shame’ is a damn good precursor to the rest of the set. Following straight away with ‘Dischords’ and ‘Violins’, our lovely lads from the US of A are firing on all cylinders and then some. Killing every track with laser point precision, every member of the band goes above and beyond to deliver the best experience possible.

Lets address the elephant in the room, Flip. If you’re not familiar with what has transpired in the last few months, Chris Flippin suffered a heart attack and couldn’t make this tour down to our glorious country. Its OK Flip, mate, we completely understand. Heal well our gigantic friend, we’ll see you next time. In his place for this tour is our very own countryman, Lindsay McDougall, The Doctor, of Frenzal Rhomb notoriety and boy does he give everything to the performance. I love Lindsay, his candour with Mr Cape, his on stage playfulness with Chris, Joe and Dave. Its brilliant to see how our own stock blends with the powerhouse that is Lagwagon.

Powering on with an all-encompassing setlist, Lagwagon busts out some of the retro gems that we all want. Sleep, Beer Goggles (damn that was great sing-along) and ‘Angry Days’, pepper the middle of the set. This is peak 90s punk nostalgia. Straight afterwards though, we’re treated to ‘Sick’, ‘Know It All’ and ‘I Must Be Hateful’. What the fuck is happening here? I feel like busting out my old skate deck and hitting the half-pipe. Am I going to do it? Hell no, I’m too old for that shit. Double Plaidinum was the theme tune for my senior years at high school and we get a treat with a one-two of ‘Making Friends’ and ‘Choke’. Damn it was a wild pit while these songs were thrashed out.

The last half of the set is divided up across their career perfectly. ‘Dividers’, ‘Obsolete Absolute’, ‘Rifle’, ‘Razor Burn’ and ‘Mr Coffee’ just hit every bit of golden oldie value (sorry lads, but after 30+ years, you are classed as such). There isn’t an unhappy person in the venue when they close out their main set with ‘Stokin’ The Neighbours’. Every cup is full, every heart is happy. This has been a gig for the ages and with the backdrop of the Princess Theatre, it couldn’t be more perfect.

Ah, the brilliance of the forced encore. Is there any gig that doesn’t have this these days? This is no different. Well, maybe a little as we are treated to a triple combo of ‘Owen Meany’, ‘Whipping Boy’ and finally ‘May 16th’. There is NOTHING that the Wagon boys have missed out on. As I said before, this was a gig for the ages. Nothing will compare for the masses of aging punks that we are.

As we move away from the Princess, everyone heads towards the closest pub or tavern to recount the show they have just witnessed. It was nothing short of legendary and we all wait with bated breath as to when the next Lagwagon Australian tour will be announced. Keep that wallet stocked, because it WILL happen again. ALL ABOARD THE LAGWAGON!!!