Segression, Shotgun Halo, Devilskin, Messiam - Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane 16/3/12

An evening of pleasant surprises...

I'd had a bit of a rough week but with Battle Beast's Steel album pumping through my headphones, I stepped out into the night knowing things were going to get better. I was off to Brisbane's Jubilee Hotel to see Segression and support acts Shotgun Halo, Devilskin and Messiam and things were looking up. Even the nutty old tramp at the station was pulling out some sweet air guitar moves; a sure sign the night would be good.

Messiam was up first and they switched from an extreme metal style through to some unusally funky, groove based metal in the blink of an eye. I heard from several patrons that this was Messiam's finest gig so far; tight and in top form. They were tight and guitarist Brett Smith played his eight string with enthusiasm and much aplomb, bassist Tony Payne was cool as ice and drummer Jarad Wise kept it all together with his kit. Vocalist Brad Bromfield had a broad range and Messiam got everyone warmed up (even at the back of the room). There were a handful of die-hard fans shouting the lyrics back at Brad too - highly impressive, and I'd definitely recommend you check them out.

Next up was New Zealand's Devilskin with sultry vocalist Jennie Skulander. A bit of a baggy start but by the end of the first song everyone had warmed up and fuck! Jennie's vocals were stunning. She pumped out the clean vox to perfection and her death growls were inhuman! Devilskin's drummer looked about 12 years old but as it turned out he was 15 or 16 (couldn't get that clarified - sorry). He kept everything together and you know he's just going to get better and better. The bassist Paul Martin and guitarist The Nail looked likes twins, or possibly clones, with shaved heads and long red beards and they pummmelled the riffs. Another fine band delivering some excellent rock/metal.

Last of the support acts, Shotgun Halo were, like the previous bands, excellent. They played a kind of Kyuss stylee stoner rock vibe and it was totally sweet. The bassist leapt off the (tiny) stage and roamed about the place, stirring up the crowd. What I loved about Shotgun Halo was the fact you could see they were having a fucking good laugh as they played, taking the piss out of the guitarist as he tried to play a clean part on one of the songs. Admittedly that bit was a bit loose but it didn't matter because they were having such a good time and that translated to the audience. Everyone was getting into it and it was bloody good fun.

I caught up with Chris Rand prior to Segression hitting the stage - as always he was easy going and relaxed. He told me they'd got original guitarist Sven Sellin back on board as Shane Partridge had just had a baby (well, his missus actually...) so wasn't up for the current tour, which is fair enough. Even Segression's soundcheck had a heinous sound level and the place was full of New Zealanders (presumably there for Devilskin?) but suddenly the venue began to thin out a bit which was surprising. Segression hit the stage to Tubular Bells again and who can fault that? They were brutal from the opener and reminded me of Rage Against The Machine with their vigour and energy. Rand's vocals were perfect and I noticed the place had filled up again. Segression are consummate professionals with a wall of sound that swept the audience away. They were tight and I don't think I heard a bum note throughout the entire set. Chris had his shirt off in the first ten minutes, mainly to wrap around the microphone which he kept getting shocks from but it didn't slow the pace down at all. Never Dead was delivered perfectly and the drums and guitars were crisp and delicious. Sven and Mick were in perfect sync and were having a ball. Chris always downplays his bass playing but it was bloody good and the mosh pit of six or seven were going mental - not bad a bad effort considering the size of the venue. All that marathon running has turned Chris into the proverbial whippet and I was tempted to nip out and get the man a pie. Following a masisvely funky/groove based interlude (complete with spanking bass and ethereal guitars), these hard working fellows cranked up the wall of noise; even the cleaner guitar breaks, where a lot of performers fall down, were executed with precision and the sound was as if there were eight musicians playing on stage, though obviously this wasn't the case. Internal Thought Flow had some beautiful runs on the guitars and Red was bang on form. I looked around and the crowd had thinned again - it was kind of strange that there weren't more people there - I suspect Brisbane's bizarre 'lock-out' laws had something to do with this; you have to be in clubs before a certain time or they won't let you in. Ridiculous.

Anyways, the gig was awesome and we were played out to Blood Lace Black Day and Fifth of the Fifth, with Chris reminding everyone they'd be back in July. Pencil it in your diaries, you rock chuffing mentalists...

A cracking gig despite the numbers.