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Live Review: Sticky Fingers @ The Tivoli

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How to tell where Sticky Fingers are playing: Follow the parade of patterned shirts, broad-brimmed felt hats, ragged caps, and an array of questionably festival fashion. A collection of Brisbane’s stoners, hipsters, and general music lovers packed into The Tivoli to experience the first of Sticky Finger’s two Brisbane sold-out shows, and everyone got what they bargained for one way or another.

After several false alarms, chants of “Stickies!”, and a drunken rendition of the band’s much-loved track Australia Street, the Sydney 5-piece finally strolled onstage. The reception they received was a deafening combination of applause and shrieking from both genders. This reception was to be expected, as “STI FI” have been one of the best Australian breakthrough acts of the last few years after releasing their debut album ‘Caress Your Soul’ in 2013. They’ve since played Splendour’s Amphitheatre, toured nationally and overseas, including recently returning from an extensive North American tour, and now enjoy a huge and vocal Aussie fan base.

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With such an incredible last 36 months it was kind of fitting 2016 Sticky Fingers looked more like rockstars than Newtown stoners. With their leather jackets and slightly professional stage persona, they definitely looked and sounded more mature and polished than their last national tour. They kicked off the set with Land of Pleasure, the title track of their highly acclaimed 2014 sophomore album. However, the shear excitement and adoration of the crowd drowned out ‘Stickies as the voices of the many inebriated fans filled the room, meaning the first song many heard was second song These Girls.

Frontman Dylan Frost grinned like the Cheshire cat as the crowd whispered along to his softly delivered first verse. ‘Stickies Guitarist Seamus Coyle capped off a their first audible song of the night with glorious wah-wah filled solo, that was noticeably more adventurous than the recorded version.

The sold-out crowd again drowned out the band during Gold Snafu, with their attempts at the song’s whistled hook resulting in varying degrees of success. Thankfully for those towards the back of the venue, after the first chorus the crowd descended into wriggling dance floor with most choosing to dance along to the triple j 2014 Hottest 100 entry rather than sing with Frost.

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Bootleg Rascal’s guitarist Jimmy Young came on for (coincidently named?) Bootleg Rascal and never really left. Everyone’s hands bounced up and down in the air to the track’s groovy chorus. Frost spat out some impressive freestyle vocals before the song descended into an epic psych-rock jam that saw Young and Coyle trade reverb-drenched guitar solos. Just For You sadly lacked its usual oomph. The onstage energy and strobe lights masked a lackluster live rendition of what is one of their best songs, not that the crowd really cared as they jumped and sporadically screamed lyrics at the nearest person.

The highlight of the set was Liquorlip Loaded Gun. Freddy Crabs’ piano intro was met by a rapturous applause as the crowd linked arms. As the verse began Frost pulled away from the microphone to allow the crowd to sing the first few lines. Normally this might seem lazy or pretentious, but there’s something magical about Liquorlip Loaded Gun, and live the song is literally spellbinding. The dynamics were perfect, and the additional guitar parts from Young added just that little bit extra zing to a song that’s already a masterpiece.

Sticky Finger’s latest single Outcast at Last injected plenty of energy back into the entranced Tivoli audience. Crowd surfers began popping up everywhere and arms flailed in all directions as Frost delivered his hard Rastafarian vocals above the single’s very un-stickies rocking, moshable riff. Rum Rage was unfortunately drowned out by the crowd, but the snippets we heard highlighted just how versatile ‘Stickies are. They can deliver softer songs with just as much purpose and impact as their high-energy stoner-reggae anthems.

How To Fly was their best reggae track of the set, and without a doubt a fan favourite. The Tivoli rocked as every soul screamed, “I forget my name” (surprisingly in time) along with Frost, who looked like he’d landed in heaven. Drummer Beaker Best also added some great embellishments to the otherwise straightforward reggae rhythms. Bassist Paddy Cornwall then gave a quick sermon about Queensland’s new lockout laws, spraying the mosh in some very colourful advice. “Brisbane’s at risk of becoming as sh*tty as Sydney, you know what I’m talking about. Don’t let it happen!”. We’ll try Paddy!

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Australia Street, the unofficial new national anthem, was a little quicker and rougher than usual. However, the overall atmosphere of the song wasn’t lost as the band and crowd were bathed in green and gold lights. Frost again held back from the microphone, allowing the crowd to do most of the singing. Patriotism and feelings of not wanting to grow up were at record levels for four glorious minutes…

After the encore break Freddy Crabs became lord commander of The Tivoli as the Nacho Libre doppelgänger began the band’s homage to their keyboardist, Freddy Crabs. The room was drenched in super lush keyboard progression before the rest of the band joined and the song quickly turned into the loudest, grooviest psych-reggae jam. Coyle’s phaser-soaked solo was mind blowing, as his technical ability complimented his face-melting use of modulated and overdriven effects.

The set finished on a strange note as ‘Stickies tore through an aggressive Rastafarian track, which ended with Cornwall throwing his bass away and knocking over every microphone stand on his way offstage. Thankfully Frost stayed behind to salute the adoring crowd with a beer, a wink, and then parted with a humble grin plastered all over his face. Catch ya at Splendour fellas!

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