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Live Review: TRAILS @ The Zoo


It was a quiet Saturday night in Fortitude Valley, desolate likely because of the irregular heartbeat Laneway Festival the weekend gone left most of us still dealing with. Inducing a state of nostalgia muddled with anxiety with each fluttered and struggling beat. Serene and hush aren’t exactly adjectives that spring to mind when thinking of The Zoo though, which is exactly where Brisbane’s sonic six piece TRAILS  were lit. As their amps doubled as defibrillators, they sent waves of guitar laden ‘fuck yeah’ through the crowd, pulsing new life and hope through us all!

Opening the set with an earlier release, Aligator, the psychedelic alt rockers warmed the crowd with swirling guitar licks and synth distortion consistent enough to accompany front man and co-founder Tyler Shilling’s dark, raw vocal delivery and soaring solos. Lead guitarist and other half to TRAILS founding, Daniel Booth, displayed fretwork and technicality that was pretty much un-faultable. With influences ranging from Radiohead to Everything Everything, TRAILS sonic and dark demeanour makes an impressive display of genre hoping originality.

Churning through a backlog of unreleased songs, and with energy never dimming, the group oozed  a cohesion you’d expect to see from a group of 32 year-old dads at the local, non-the-less a band that’s been together for a few minutes short of a year. Attributed to their former Queensland Conservatory background, or their talents showered with recognition and nurtured with scholarships from QUT’s Music School – perhaps, but TRAILS delivered a production and polished shine to their live performance you honestly wouldn’t expect from a group of shaggy (trend) haired, 20 somethin’ lads.
The dance floor, once warm and a few Stella’s down, didn’t stop moving. With limbs of dedicated fans flailing and heads banging to the vigour and towering riffs of Never Needed, the vocal harmonies shared between Guitarist Dominic Pelecanos and Keys’ Geoff Ham, along with the crashing drums was enough to send bassist Cusack and Shiling diving into the crowd, jamming and throwing down with the raucous and fiery front line.

Drawing towards a close, TRAILS served us their latest single Borderline. An ethereal, multi-layered piece, with justice only being absolute by witnessing it in its live glory. The sharp guitar riffs, select percussion and ethereal harmonies cement this single as TRAILS triumph to date, a showcase of their musical range, diversity and experimental god damn excellence!

This rendition was also greeted with a little extra ‘hops’ to it…paying homage to a long-lived ritual and much loved beverage, the group unified the crowd with the Victoria Bitter theme song, served as the introduction, and inducing a stern salute from a mob of punters with a “hard earned thirst”.

TRAILS set was energetic display of tight production and  rich lyricism, with an experimental awe to the synergy they shared on stage.  It left you out of breath, full of pride and grabbing onto the collar of the excitement that’s chasing their first EP, set to be released early May 2016.

Catch TRAILS at Brisbane’s The Milk Factory on Friday 4th March supporting Sydney’s Slumberhaze w/Outside the Academy.