Jack Price: Review
Photography: JD Garrahy

The weather in Brisbane this Thursday night is not good. But as Vilify‘s Amy McIntosh points out to us while hanging out pre-show at the merch table, every time Vilify has played Brisbane, it rains. So why break the trend? It seems to be the norm now as every show they play here is an absolute smash!

Tonight’s venue will be Fortitude Valley‘s Black Bear Lodge, in which we are still yet to locate said black bear. Hot off the release of their stunning EP, Fever Dream, Central Coast hardcore ensemble Vilify are taking their music on tour for the east coast to enjoy! Starting tonight with some local talent as well as Canberra‘s ST. SINNER.

First to take to the Black Bear Lodge stage are Brisbane’s very own Acid Cherry. Do not take this band lightly, they go fucking hard! The all-girl group were crowd pleasers with their grunge-metal combo, and being the opening band, they almost didn’t leave any of the venue’s roof left to be blown off by the rest of the bill! Authentic and determined frontwoman Brooke Beauchamp is a force to be reckoned with, with a captivating stage presence and one hell of a vocal range. Her operatic vocals thrill without feeling too overused, while her gravelly, guttural growls are as much at home in their song as her clean vocals.

Near the end of their set, the frontwoman called out  “We are such dorks for doing this, who wants to see us play a cover?” before busting out their secret weapon – Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit. Fred Durst would be proud, despite the lack of red fitted caps. Nailing the cover seemed effortless for the ferocious feministas, proving they are definitely a band to watch out for.

As the band grew closer to the end of their set with their 2023 single, Nosebleed. Brooke explained the backstory for the final track, “the last band I was in kicked me out” she stated, “The guy said chicks can’t play heavy music. And like the mature adult that I am, I started Acid Cherry.” When they say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, clearly, they were talking about Brooke Beauchamp because now we all want to know who’s the motherfucking rockstar now?

Next to take to the stage are local lads Zuko, and they come out swinging with ferocity! Clearly the punters are familiar with their brand of not-quite-hardcore-not-quite-metalcore-core, the floor bouncing with the venue’s crowd jumping and moshing from the get-go.

Jesse Hudson‘s vocals are punchy and powerful, and the entire set is so full of energy that time seems to move faster than their riffs. True to their influences (such as KublaI Khan and Alpha Wolf), the set is a blur of blood curdling screaming vocals, flurry of thunderous drums, and raging, chugging guitars. The brissy lads hype the crowd up more and more as their set continues on, serving them up for the next supporting act.

Hailing from Canberra, the genre combining 3 piece ST. SINNER are supporting their mates Vilify for the tour, and boy are they a treat. Frontman Rory “St. Sinner” Maclean has one hell of a stage presence when they hit the stage, conducting the crowd of punters that seem a little unsure what to make of the black clad, white balaclava wearing persona that swaps from sweetly crooning pop vocals to growling roars. His compatriots Sam Thornhill and Caleb Jonas are tight in their performance with the well composed songs, backed by electronica backing tracks.

“Who likes Bring Me The Horizon” as the intro the Sempiternal starts to play from the PA. The 3 piece perform their own rendition of the metalcore staple from arguably one of the UK’s biggest exports. While it was not a perfect replica, there was the ST. SINNER flavour added to the cover which made it a spectacle to enjoy.

Returning to their own material, the infusion of pop and metalcore shows through with the mixture of huge bass drops, synth backing tracks, and the charismatic frontman’s clean vocals, before the switch to angry growls,  blast beats and raging guitars. Energising the pit back into full swing by the end of their set, the ST. SINNER boys put on a top notch show.

Now, if you like Australian metalcore and haven’t checked out Newcastle‘s Vilify by now, what the fuck are you doing with your life? Gaining some massive popularity earlier this year after opening the 2024 Cvltfest held by none other than Alpha Wolf, this year has projected Vilify to heights most bands only dream of. After a quick band huddle around drummer Kieran Jackson‘s kit, the band sprang into action with Rot By Design, the first track from the EP.

Despite Amy‘s mic issues, which were temporarily fixed by grabbing the backing vocals mic from in front of guitarist Deni Hourihan, they were able to get through the track without any other issues. The band, and shout out to soundtech Ethan, managed to get both mics up and running.

While they were sorting it, the powerhouse that is Amy Mcintosh kept the crowd entertained by hyping the opening acts (and Ethan, again), and claiming to not know any jokes. We don’t believe you, Amy. We know you’re hilarious.

Moving into Lightbringer, the first single from the EP, the band sounded on point. Lizi Blanco grooved around on bass, her long dark veil of hair swaying and whipping as she played, while Deni‘s live performance is not done justice by studio recordings. Jackson‘s percussive work is polished to a fault, while Amy holds the attention of the fans like their lives depend on it. With a twirl of her finger and the command “spin”, the crowd seems to expand as the mosh opens up, with limbs flying in all directions.

To thicken the setlist, the band added in some older tracks from their collection, such as From The Inside (prior to which Amy had a fun little message for any homophobes out there), Futility and Odyssey. The rest of the set list is made up of the remaining tracks off the EP, as well as some recent singles. “Fun fact,” says Amy, “you are actually the first people to hear all of the Fever Dream. This one is probably my favourite”.

Also my favourite track from the EP, Save Me sees some amazing vocal work from the frontwoman, with her ending the song kneeling on the stage, head to the ground and her hair draped over her face and hands. This is why Vilify are coming up, their heart and souls are in this music, and you can feel them with you when they perform.

After hyping up the new EP and asking the crowd what their favourite tracks were from it, Amy asked “How about just a hardcore banger?” before jumping into Odyssey. Following the track with one of the bands most impressive songs, Hang.Draw.Quarter, which signaled the end of the EP tracks. The final two tracks, Take The Pill and Dread Addict, are clear crowd favs.

How the crowd still has energy at this point is amazing as there wasn’t a single person who did not at least attempt to match Mcintosh‘s energy, a feat not easily mastered. As Dread Addict‘s intro rang through the PA, Amy announced “This is our last one, thank you for being the first on the Fever Dream tour”.

If you are one of the lucky ones who were able to witness tonight’s show firsthand, you’d be as envious as I am of the upcoming dates of the rest of the tour. If you are heading to one of the remaining shows, you are in for an absolute treat. Vilify has so much to offer and must be on everyone’s watch list. Their live shows are pure excitement and energy, homegrown in NSW, with a side of wholesomeness from a group of some of the nicest, most genuine people you could have the pleasure of meeting… who make angry, screamy music.

Whatever it is you love about metalcore, you’ll find it and a lot more with Vilify. Enjoy the rest of the tour, guys! And remember – if you’re homophobic, Amy will kill you.