Review: Sticky Fingers @ The Riverstage (Brisbane)

Sticky Fingers played The Riverstage (Brisbane) on 28 October, 2023 - image © Clea-marie Thorne
With an insatiable passion for live music and photography adventures, this mistress of gig chronicles loves the realms of metal and blues but wanders all musical frontiers and paints you vibrant landscapes through words and pics (@lilmissterror) that share the very essence of her sonic journeys with you.

Short-lived breezes are blowing in, off the old brown water snake caressing my cheeks as punters are adding to it as they are moving past me.

There are a number of fans clearly busting their chops to get the closest vantage point to see Sticky Fingers giving it up live at their rescheduled Brisbane concert. Many have travelled by plane or long road trip for a second time with nothing but love and wild anticipation for tonight's show (28 October).

Firstly, the mosh pit tenants and fringe dwellers on the grassy slopes of the amphitheatre will have not one, but four appetisers tonight. The first being YKP (YK) and Mission Gangsta (M.G.). I am damn happy I made it in time, even if cutting it fine.

The two up and coming rappers are just taking the stage and I note they are keeping at opposite ends. Both have a mic in one hand and their drink in the other.

They both keep it simple onstage, no seemingly rehearsed stage manoeuvres, choosing to have punters focus solely on their lyrical content. It's a good tactic for drawing in new fans. Less distraction means they're more likely to digest and reflect on the stories and messaging in songs such as 'Glitz' and 'My Street'.

YKP Mission Gangsta
YKP & Mission Gangsta - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The gathering crowd get it too and chill out to the beats and groove, listening along. Some fans in the crowd are not holding back, however, joining in with voices of varied abilities.

One third of the mosh pit is now stacked from the barrier and the larger gaps on the slopes of the outdoor venue are becoming less sparse. I find the vibe of the lyrics "kicking back chilling with a couple of stacks in the billy" pretty much sums it up for me.

Hell yes! My second live instalment of MAXINE as she is claiming the stage, dressed in a crochet-macrame outfit and fur leg warmers. Not plain fur this time! No siree, tonight's thigh highs leg warmers sitting above her platform pumps are adorned with sweet lil teddy bears. Super cute!

As she opens her set, MAXINE almost squeals with excitement as she acknowledges fans know the words to her song and are singing along. With a high energy, kicks, twists and stepping out on speakers to get close to her fans, the energy has been raised to another level.

Another song, this one is a sad track she is telling us; she wrote it for her ex-boyfriend, Peter. While it may be sad, the mood doesn't shift and the crowd goes with the flow.

MAXINE - image © Clea-marie Thorne

A fan is signalling a request to MAXINE and gets her attention. Turns out they are asking for one of her teddies. MAXINES's answer is "yes, you can have a teddy!" How sweet.

As she continues to tantalise our ears, mascot of the night Danny Lim, with his sandwich board of changing protest posters, is up on stage with MAXINE and the band now. He's dancing and sandwich boarding – I guess that's a thing, right? Ha!

Not to be outdone by Lim, MAXINE finishes the song with a quick little twerk in front of the keys. Haven't seen the Lim do that one yet. A couple more and "I'm free falling," along with the lyrics as are the fans in the crowd for this gorgeous voice. MAXINE rocks it out to the very end and exits in a shower of cheers as she blows us kisses in return.

Our hunger continues as we await the third dish to be served. It is LEE, who from memory had a bunch of fans in the crowd the last time he performed here and I am pretty sure he picked up more from that performance. Yup, sure looks like they've all shown up as it's a pretty big welcome.

Taking the stage in his stride, up and down its length behind the multiple snaking leads and fold-back speakers, he gives up the lip service in a rapping sermon and song to us.

LEE - image © Clea-marie Thorne

A guest vocalist takes the stage with LEE. At first, they are both masked by a pretty thick stage smoke. Is there anybody in there? Oh yes, there they are! It's Tommy Gunn, oozing confidence and he also gets a big roar from the crowd as he dominates the stage for a bit. As the crowd are singing along, "take control of me", we are told this one's going on TikTok. That's likely to go off in a big way after tonight!

Lingering on to showcase more, LEE and Tommy Gunn have given up a lively set and before it is over, we get 'Up'. The taped intro, followed by spacey vibes are perfect under the night sky. After the fade all I hear is "Thank you, Brisbane," as a person taller than me has blocked my view (for now).

The support sets are kept short and breaks are even shorter – a good thing right and we all know a curfew looms so bang for your buck is the best way.

Opening with an intro into 'Chills', I have to say this was not a surprise considering the collaboration with some of the headliners. . . The crowd get a whole lot of nuts for it and I am in the throes of my first live hit of this final support act, Dante Knows.

Dante Knows
Dante Knows - image © Clea-marie Thorne

The blend of large, spacey, electro sounds with rocky guitars is delectable. I am fairly sure that is Tasker on the axe but can't tell yet as it is too dark. Well, I can guess however, the tall human in a graphite cowl neck ceremonial gown and animal head mask (I can't quite tell if it is bunny, horse, deer, but very Donny Darko) is the artist known as Dante Knows.

Something tells me, for this performer, although it is nearly Halloween, this would be normal stage get up regardless of the date.

This set is really upping the ante tonight and is getting us primed but all the hungrier for Sticky Fingers. With a seven song set list, and change from latex mask to a mail coif, Dante Knows has fans in the crowd bursting with refrain and the rest of us newly converted grooving along to songs, including 'Lose Your Mind' and 'Vicious'.

Now with the robe off, left standing in pants and his mail coif, 'Fable' is dished up next by this mesmerising artist. The guy beside me clues me up that he is wearing the mail coif in the clip to the song and there's a cameo by Sticky Fingers' Freddy Crabs.

Leaving us with a ripper final song 'Banter', while I am not a musician, this one has a strong flavour of its song writing collaborators and is the best transition to gee us up for Sticky Fingers. The crowd are singing full force: "Take no prisoners, take no prisoners."

Punters are shifting their body weight from foot to foot and eyes are on phones as the clock shifts past 8:15pm.

Lim is back onstage, entertaining the crowd, posing for videos and photos for the punters as he is dancing, shaking his fist and climbing onto the speaker boxes much to security's concern as he's a bit shaky on his tootsies. However, this does not stop him hamming it up and to be truthful the crowd are egging him on.

Our headliners are still not yet onstage and the last three minutes are feeling like hours. It seems we are about to get an announcement about tonight's show. I am drawing in my breath. As I hold it, it seems an apology is forthcoming – one that is quickly turning my gut into a "oh no, not again" to bloody hell, surely not.

It is nearly Halloween not April Fool's, but I prefer the latter right about now! Turns out it was meant to be playful, and very quickly ended up in a quirky confirmation that Sticky Fingers WILL be playing tonight! The groaners in the crowd are cheering and those of us that were holding our breath finally let it go and can breathe again!

However, it is not until we see the naked and hairy chest of Freddy Crabs converse with Lim before ascending his riser to take position behind his keys/synth that we really know it is happening. As the others take their spaces, it is all starting to shift from surreal to real and the excitement sets back in, just like it never left.

Fans of all orientations are already crying out for Crabs (Daniel Neurath), dressed to impress those who adore the look of an unleashed but somewhat tamed beast. I mean, these are shoes and socks and shorts from a bygone era – wild is one thing, brazen and unapologetic is another. We love it!

Sti Fi.3
Sticky Fingers - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Dylan Frost gets the biggest welcoming roar of them all, as he hits the stage in clown face paint, oriental smoking jacket and I think spy skeleton printed garb beneath it. What a welcome! What a relief after that heart starter, now let the real party begin.

An explosion of movement and vocals from Frost elicits more raucous cheers from the crowd as they are releasing their excitement to be in front of the band on stage.

There is little doubt as to why Sticky Fingers have such a loyal fan army of unwavering love and support and the passionate fans are singing along in their best voices mirroring the energy of Frost while Coyle's and Cornwall's impeccable axe skills are connecting him with the fans with an undeniable enthusiasm.

At times we are swooning and crooning along with the likes of an acoustic 'Love Song', the next we are slow grooving to reggae and psyche-surf beats of 'Something Strange' with its magic guitar solo and those reggae feels kept coming with 'Bootleg Rascal'.

When the spotlights hit Beaker Best thrashing it on tubs and Crabs behind his keys, calls carry on the night air towards them, particularly for Crabs. I've lost count the number of "I'm in love with your body, Freddy!" I've heard from men and women alike – he needs a to sell a calendar! He'd make a mint and I'd love to take those photos.

Elation is in the air and washing over us as we lap up all the favourite bangers one after the other: 'Rum Rage', 'My Rush', 'Outcast At Last', 'Gold Snafu', 'Liquorlip Loaded Gun' and 'Sidelines' are all gifted to us before another acoustic thriller and personal favourite 'Cyclone' that builds up and up ,and ends like a perfect and powerful storm to match that voice.

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Sticky Fingers - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Tonight, there is no encore ritual to be played out. We did get to see artists on the sideline, creep in onto the stage and we got our every minute of their Riverstage time instead of wasting a second on waiting and calling out for "one more song" cos it was always coming.

So is that footy that Crabs is drop kicking into the crowd. Punters are roaring at this.

StiFi's performance, totally incredible, totally worth the wait and their tireless jam filled our ears, eyes and hearts with a whole lot of Sticky Finger goodness that is being concluded with the classics of all StiFi classics 'Land Of Pleasure', the flavourful psychedelic reggae treat; and 'Freddy Crabs' that gets a thunderous response ahead of 'How To Fly' (Oh yes, we shouted "Sticky Fingers, don't forget the name," loud and clear), 'Multiple Facets Of The Same Diamond' and 'Waterfall'.

It has been a most magical night and fans got to see their favourite frontman vocalise and play a damn fine set with his supportive band members, who nothing short of slayed it onstage with impeccable precision.

All night there has been airy feels of gentle love on the aether floating ever so gently toward the stage in return for the musical vibrations Sticky Fingers sent out to us to enjoy. Collectively, they made good on their promise to return to their unwavering fan base gathered in Brisbane – locals and travellers alike returning for the experience.

We are even told that despite the ups and downs and controversy of the band – we are solid and make for the best fans in the world! Our faces lit up the dark with the brightest beaming smiles.

Sti Fi.4
Sticky Fingers - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Tonight, the magic happened under a perfect sky, in front of a powerful light show with the most chill crowd I've ever been part of, ever. Nothing could tarnish my goblet that is running over with the live music bliss of tonight's show.

More photos from the show.

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