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Live Review: The Foundry’s 1st Birthday Party


Throughout the following account I’m about to give you, one thing must be remembered: just over a year ago, around the time of The Foundry’s debut of a venue, it was far from certain there ever would be a first birthday. Several things were wrong at once. First, the inaugural party, headlined (again) by the ever-present Velociraptor, almost put a hole through the floor that would have sucked up about three-quarters of the Brisbane underground music scene, besides revealing other technical problems. The next month of gigs had to be moved elsewhere.

Teething issues aside, there was also the question of Brisbane being able to support as ambitious of a venue as The Foundry. The spectre of impending lock-out laws was beginning to hover ominously; The Tivoli was hanging by a thread as a venue, seemingly on an unescapable path toward redevelopment as a lame block of apartments or something, and so if The Tivoli, grand old beast that it is, hovers around insolvency then what hope for the rest? It is a great pleasure to report then upon entry on Thursday night I was greeted by the heaving warmth of a beloved, successful venue, packed thick with beautiful, pleasant humans having a beautiful, pleasant night.


I am instantly drawn to WHALEHOUSE’s frenetic punk bashings on the main stage. Colourful clothes, colourful music, colourful humans. Shredding through their EP, the charmingly titled ‘It’s an EP of a Time’, as well as other ephemeral blasts of searing guitar, WHALEHOUSE had the crowd heaving in a way that wouldn’t happen again until Velociraptor. If I could have a beer with any of the artists on the night, it would easily be this trio, who are doing justice to The Saints’ legacy in Brisbane punk.

I don’t like the back band room at The Foundry. It’s no-one’s fault really, and to complain is like complaining about the weather. But there is only one entrance to the long, rectangular room, and it tends to bottleneck there after the band has started. Luckily, this is less of a problem for Golden Vessel, whose spacious minimal electronica had the crowd completely pliable. I mean, zombified! Everyone was swaying rhythmically, not much going on really, but that’s exactly the response you want to skilful production.

There was a lot of buzz about Straight Arrows making a trip north of the border for The Foundry’s first birthday. Utterly deserved, too. More than any other Australian city at the moment, it’s Sydney who has managed to cultivate the most eclectic, thoughtful group of bands on the cusp. Names like Day Ravies and The Lulu Raes sit comfortably alongside the scuzzy garage punk of Straight Arrows. At times they sound more like Preoccupations (i.e. very heavy), others they scuttle back to guitar pop territory, but they’re mesmeric!


The main stage is set for Velociraptor but before them we experienced Astro Travellers, best known for their intricate mix of rhythm and rhyme. Indeed, were you to replace their urban hip-hop lyricism with a slower, more conversational vocal style, you would get a great product not dissimilar to Massive Attack. Musically, they were among the tightest of the night but there was also a noticeable absence of risk or engagement, so away from the first handful of rows the vibe felt a bit like a soufflé that hadn’t quite risen.


Velociraptor and the Brisbane scene are utterly inseparable. They have grown together in symbiosis, such as that you can’t imagine Velociraptor existing in Sydney or Melbourne, but nor can you imagine Brisbane’s scene being very fun in their absence. Lock-out laws may be imposed, the revolving door of band membership may keep shuffling members, but as long as Velociraptor are playing shows at The Foundry the sun will still set and the XXXX will still be cold. Perhaps only one Brisbane band currently elicits the sort of reaction Velociraptor received at this show, Last Dinosaurs. Violent Soho too of course, but they get that everywhere…

No, you’re in Jeremy Neale country now, son! And what a performance he put on. He comes across as a bit of a snake-oil salesmen, all huckster-charm and rapid fire conversation. If he didn’t make it in music he’d be great on daytime television. Their set, bookended with Cynthia and Ramona, as fine a pair of women as have ever appeared in song, and filled with favourites like Sneakers and Riot, was a writhing release of pleasure. When Neale produced cake, I think the whole room felt like it was their birthday…

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