Review: XXXX Presents Live At The Brewery (Brisbane)

XXXX Presents Live At The Brewery was staged 16 November, 2019.
Solar-powered journalist with a love for live reviews and the challenge of describing sounds with words. Always: cooking, often: thrifting, sometimes: playing the piano, rarely: social, never: late. Living abroad in Japan.

Seems surprising, this being the very first pairing of XXXX Brewery with a music festival – wide open space, shelter, and unlimited beer, the venue is undeniably ideal.


First Beige began performing to a relatively modest audience (16 November); only dozens crowding around the stage, others glancing from a distance. The group has recently recruited a female bassist/back-up vocalist – a cool and talented addition to an already eclectic group of musicians.

Debut releases were surrendered early in the set, ‘Sole Reality’ asserting itself as the sparkly, discography favourite. The six-piece shifted through a shimmering assortment of newer singles, ‘Desire’ instantly likeable, ‘loungy’ without being dull or predictable.

I may be Brisbane-biased but the band are very tidy; their music is heavily layered, yet their timing is always impeccable. Jazz-influenced genres often slip into background music territory, but their disco hues are the opposite – it is impossible not to listen.

Performance charisma is notable too, the group clearly comfortable on stage, they ooze charm and personality, without having to say a word. The crowd seemed sold as well, many more congregating throughout the set. I saw plenty noting their approval, plenty swaying, plenty plain impressed.

Mildlife were new on my radar, and a surprising change of pace; I had expected Australian indie rock, yet here were more funk-driven groovers. ‘The Magnificent Moon’ struck an immediate chord, from the very first tumbling riff, the eight-minute monster progressing into an improvised-like wonder.

I love watching psychedelic music come to life in a live-show format, seeing instruments artfully execute what sounds like total electronic production. Each song spilled into one another, the band rarely pausing between tracks, and while it was easy to zone out and dance, listening carefully, the composing was lovely.

I have followed Good Boy to more gigs than I can count, the crowd response to their energy always fierce, and always infectious. Though surprisingly, the audience was much calmer than I expected, what is usually push and shove was more so listening in contentment.

The band were less chaotic as well, exuding breezy afternoon sentiments, even swapping fan-favourite ‘Poverty Line’ for slower chillers, like ‘Millie’. Though lead singer, larrikin Tom Lindeman was just as amusing as usual, proving that downright yelling can be impressively melodic.

How rad to have an iconic band like Custard remaining relevant, first album released the year I was born, yet still gracing festival line-ups. Initially, I was worried I knew too little of their mass of music, though classics like ‘Girls Like That’ and ‘Music Is Crap’ were instantly recognisable.

‘Apartment’ was of course the standout, the kooky crooner left until last. The song proves the group were at the forefront of the Australian indie-rock movement.

An interesting contrast, switching from fast-paced rock to the more emotion-drenched Holy Holy, lead singer Timothy Carroll one of the standouts of the evening. His pipes are truly incredible, he never misses a key, but although more subtle, Oscar Dawson is just as proficient on guitar.

They crafted an excellent set list of newbies with popular tracks from ‘Paint’; though the earlier-released ‘Sentimental And Monday’ was my pick of the pack. It was the first time I had heard ‘My Own Pool Of Light’ performed live, the album more pop-tinged than their last, the harmonies executed beautifully.

I never fail to rave about my love for Confidence Man, but it has been a while between drinks (new music wise), and my obsession had started to fade. Wrongly so – as the masked musicians emerged, I immediately remembered the hype, both shirtless and playing keyboard and drums with faces completely covered.

Dream team Janet Planet and Sugar Bones entered and were met with wild applause, kicking off with the underrated ‘Fascination’, and following with the stellar ‘Out The Window’. I remember quietly noting that their costumes were uncharacteristically modest, but alas, a change ensued, the duo returning in glowing shoulder pads and bra.

The dance routines paired to every song were performed in perfect succession, even my dance-abhorrent brother quietly copying their every move. “You do what she says!” he said to me as I grinned in his direction – the perfect summary of how Confidence Man have power over their audience.

I instantly knew XXXX Presents: Live At The Brewery would rate highly on the Australian festival scene – pair an iconic brewery with a wicked line-up and you have one, ‘good as gold’ frothie.

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