FILTER + Black Smoke Trigger – The Triffid Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Jack Price and Nev Pearce
Photography: Luke Petty

Brisbane‘s The Triffid is bustling with live music from the beer garden this Sunday evening. Despite the bands pulling in punters for a drink, feed and entertainment, The Triffid will be hosting one of the greatest and elusive alternative rock bands of all time tonight – Filter.

Back in 1996, a little movie called Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight changed everything for me. In the opening scene when we are introduced to William Sandler’s character Brayker there was a song that instantly hooked me and as I raced through the credits at the end of the film I found it – Hey Man Nice Shot. It was from that moment on that I knew that I had found a new band to add to my list, but little did I know how much of an important role Richard Patrick and his music would play in my life over the following almost 30 years.

Now it’s very rare that Filter tour Australia, I first saw them in Brisbane in 2000 on the Title Of Record tour and then again at Soundwave where their set was cut way too short due to a technical issue so to say that I was keen as fuck to see them again is an understatement, especially at The Trffid, one of my favourite venues.
There would be some wait-time before heading down memory lane, as the opening act had been pushed back an hour from their 7.30pm start time, till 8.30pm. But as the lights to the auditorium dimmed, and a blue light illuminated the stage, our brothers from across the ditch in NZBlack Smoke Trigger took to the stage. As vocalist Baldrick expelled a deafening scream, the band kicked off into the riff-heavy The Way I’m Wired.
The Kiwi‘s were here to show they meant business, with their heavy rock chugging guitars from Charlie Wallace, doomy bass from Dan FultonBaldrick‘s soaring vocals and rolling drums from Josh Te Maro.

Before jumping into Blindfolds & RattlesnakesBaldrick proclaimed to the crowd, “I wanna  hear everyone sing along by the end of this one!” The frontman got his request with fans of every tenure, new and old, singing along to the chorus of whoas.

Catching up quickly after the show, the boys told us their back story of humble beginnings in New Zealand, Covid fucking up their tour plans but ultimately letting them work on their craft to produce one hell of an EP (2019’s Set It Off, produced by Michael Wagener (Motley CrewAlice Cooper, Ozzy OsbourneSkid Row) their next adventure would be to head to the UK in support of none other than Bruce Dickinson, due to kick off in a couple of weeks after this tour ends. Good luck guys and we are definitely looking forward to seeing you in Australia again soon!

After a quick stage change, the lights dimmed once again, an eerie voice emitted from the PA system, indicating the arrival of Filter. The passion project of former Nine Inch Nails guitarist, Richard Patrick, that has ultimately gained the same loyal following than his previous group, is spritely and fresh despite a three decade-long career.

As You Walk Away starts to rumble through the PA, a hooked Patrick can be seen centerstage, microphone held tight to his obscured face. The ambiance and tone of the performance are set then and there, with the hooded frontman only uncovering his face after the first two tracks.

Vocally, Richard Patrick sounds amazing with his air-raid siren screams and husky voice still as smooth as ever, delivering massive tones of energy and aggression throughout the set. The lighting pulsates for The Drowning, creating a further shade of character and disorientation to the performance.
Shortly after the hood came down from the singer’s head revealing his ashen hair and sun glassed face finally, he asked, ” How are you guys doing tonight Brisbane? We are a little band called Filter.” This statement was met with a call of cheers from the crowd.

“Let’s see some ass shaking in here”, Richard requested before announcing What Do You Say from 2013’s The Sun Comes Out Tonight. The funkier, stripped back bassline/drum verses and lyrical structure definitely make the track a rump shaker, while the chorus turns the crowd to a jumping, moshing pack of animals as they scream “Hey” back at the band.

Leading into Face Down from the recent album, The Algorithm, the crowd are providing as much energy as they are given by the band, with Patrick praising them afterwards with a casual “Fuckin-A, Bubba. Let’s do something old…” before jumping straight into (Can’t You) Trip Like Me. Continuing the praise mid song, as he requests the crowd sing along, telling them “You sound fucking fantastic, baby!”

Richard clearly enjoys riling up his loyal crowds, introducing The Take and telling them that this is usually where people start moshing so be careful, and then after thanking their crew, the house and the boys from Black Smoke Trigger, announcing their biggest hit from 1999’s Title Of Record Take A Picture.

Donning a guitar himself, the frontman provides an extra layer of strings for Dose, which is extended for an impromptu jam sesh mid song, It’s Gonna Kill Me, and American Cliche with some cleverly altered lyrics in the chorus to express Patrick‘s disdain for former president Donald Trump. The changing of the lyrics “get on the bus” to “Fuck Donald Trump“, whilst being accompanied by a light show of red, white and blue lights, was whimsical and witty.
Introducing the band members, with Jonny Radtke on guitar, Bobby Miller on bass, Tosh Peterson on and drums, he went on to introduce himself as Dick, stating “No one fucks with DickDick does the fucking” before mocking himself for the joke. He proceeds to inform the crowd as they don’t do encores, but there were only three songs left of the night’s set.
Richard then masks a cautionary message as intrigue by asking who does drugs before swinging into Drug Boy, a song about his own struggles and dealings with illicit substances. With Welcome To The Fold, he asks for the crowd to scream one more time, as they kick off.
With the final track looming, Richard Patrick asks “I wonder what it is?” giving the hint that “it rhymes with Shmey Mern, nersh shert” and explaining that Hey Man, Nice Shot was the song he left Nine Inch Nails for but still considers anyone wearing a NIN shirt to be family.

The track is a fantastic climax to the evening, leaving the band to take some happy snaps from the stage before venturing off stage for some well-earned rest.

Considering their start in 1993, multiple line up changes, and countless tours and shows, witnessing Filter perform tonight was an experience not worth missing. Patrick knows his craft, writing heavy as fuck riffs but delivering some fantastic melodic choruses. His current line up of band mates strongly support him as they continue to deliver hard hitting alternative rock. We can’t wait for the next evolution of Filter.

FILTER April 2024 Australian Tour Dates

Tuesday 9th April – ADELAIDE, The Gov
Wednesday 10th April – PERTH, Magnet House