Children Collide, Deep Sea Arcade, Palms @ The Zoo, Brisbane (17/03/2012)

It was a fairly modest time for a night out in the Valley, but things had already started to heat up inside the Zoo as Sydney band Palms took to the intimate stage. Whether it was giddiness caused by a Saturday night or whether it was the fact that it was St Patrick’s Day, the slowly-growing crowd seemed to appreciate the easy-to-digest and upbeat tunes from the Sydney band-formed from ex members of now defunct indie rock band Red Riders. The cool Autumn breeze was barely penetrating the cosy venue’s open windows as Palms played their fittingly-titled track, Summer Is Done With Us. The relatively young outfit seemed pretty comfortable playing to what would soon turn out to be a sold-out crowd.

Second support came in the form of Deep Sea Arcade, who showed their readiness to perform tracks from their new album, Outlands. Their debut may have been released just the day before, but the five-piece showed off their veteran tour status with on-stage confidence. The band, headed by strutting singer Nic McKenzie, seemed to exude a distinct air of 90s Brit-rock. It was quite a fitting choice that Deep Sea Arcade had recently supported Noel Gallagher and his band on their recent tour of Australia. Supporting a heavily Nirvana-influenced band tonight, then, may seem a tad askew but the Sydney band simply concentrated on doing their thing while performing songs such as Keep On Walking, Lonely In Your Arms and Girls. McKenzie cradled the mic in his hand like a lover, with the same care as those swaying couples who were now littered across the dancefloor. To the unfamiliar ear, Deep Sea Arcade may have been stretching their forty-five minute set to the max with a setlist largely lacking tempo-based ebbs and flows. Either way, they kept the now considerable crowd moderately entertained and left to a round of hearty applause.

An anxious half hour later and the loose crowd had now quickly compressed and filled right up to surround the Zoo’s tiny barrier-less stage. The lights were lowered, and out of the darkness emerged the powerful post-punk trio known as Children Collide. Every individual in the venue showed they were clearly ready and rearing for the full-on audio assault to come, with their cheers sounding like their own form of battle cries. It was an appropriate choice that the Melbourne three-piece would open with Chosen Armies; as soon as the first explosive burst of sound hit, the compacted crowd erupted into a messy mix of moshing and fight-dancing. This glorious battle both with and against each other continued throughout further classics from the band’s debut album, The Long Now. Feeding off of the crowd’s violent energy, vocalist Johnny Mackay took a dive backwards into the sea of hands and continued to play his twirling guitar riff during Skeleton Dance.

Back on stage, Mackay took a short breather to properly greet the crowd, “hello Brisbane, why so serious?” His thickly Aussie-accented banter with the boisterous crowd below him serves to lighten the mood between each of his band’s vicious songs. The metaphorical My Eagle, from their second album Theory Of Everything, proved to be a crowd favourite before the trio launched into a couple of fresh new songs from their yet-to-be-released third album, Monument. The lead single, Sword To A Gunfight, finds itself represented with surprising passion by a trio of punters wielding pretend foam swords. Mackay can’t help but laugh as the ridiculous faux weapons bend and flail under his nose in time to the beat. A quick knighting by King Mackay follows the end of the song before the band launches into another new song called Cherries. With its undulating bassline, it is songs such as these where bassist Heath Crawley ’s dexterity on his instrument of choice is really apparent. The crowd showed their appreciation of the band’s new material, as crowdsurfers twisted and twirled on their backs-some not so lucky and ending up as casualties, ejected from the battle against security.

But the swelling crowd was unified once again as they outsung each other in a rousing sing-along of Children Collide’s own definitive anthem, Farewell Rocketship. Mackay himself positively beamed as he left the mic stand to let them finish before voicing his approval, “you guys are a fuckin’ excellent crowd.” The aural onslaught was merciless as the band continued hit after hit, with songs such as Loveless and Jellylegs. Although the setlist was predictable and nearly verbatim every tour, Children Collide prove they have longevity as their relentless national touring continues to sell out in Brisbane and elsewhere. It is then perhaps not a surprise that the band stayed true to their no-encore policy and chose to close with the purely instrumental barrage of sound known as Fire Engine, from their first EP. Knowing the bombardment he and his bandmates were about to unleash on the crowd, Mackay’s eyes slowly searched the crowd as he expressed one final, insane smile.