Originally published through Tone Deaf
For those who missed out on an elusive Meredith ticket, the Hot Snakes show at the Corner Hotel was an excellent opportunity to catch one of the most exciting bands on the lineup.
For others, the festival was merely a welcome excuse for the post-hardcore heavyweights to come to Australia.
The band have a rich history with the country – most notably, their 2005 live album Thunder Down Under was recorded here – and it was great to see them back. They certainly have the fan base to welcome them.
The torrent of face-melting rock started with local trio River of Snakes, who sweated out a satisfying set of heavy guitar, exploding drums, and pulsing bass.
The vocals alternated between guitarist Raul Sanchez I Jorge and bassist Elissa Rose in tones that were often more banshee scream than singing.
Not to be outdone, highly entertaining Brisbane five-piece 6fthick put on an hour of destructive, showy swamp rock, their two frontmen, brothers Geoff and Ben Corbett squirming and convulsing like men possessed.
It must be said that these two did seem rather drunk, but this only added to their Iggy Pop-influenced sense of theatricality; complete with backflips, high kicks, and masochism.
After all, it wouldn’t be a hardcore gig without someone repeatedly punching themselves in the face at some point.
Right from the outset, Hot Snakes were on electrifying form, sending out a tight performance of ‘I Hate the Kids’.
From the crowd shouts of ‘ L.A.X’ to the seductive guitar licks of ‘Suicide Invoice,’ they showered the crowd with a tidal wave of chugging guitar, pounding drums, and feverish vocals.
The drummer also changed halfway through the set – from a gloriously pigtailed version (Jason Kourkounis) to a more traditional, scruffy-haired variety (Mario Rubalcaba) – but both were more than capable of moving the assembled crowd before them.
Aside from this changeover, the band didn’t jump around too much, but the music spoke for itself.
Despite over a decade together on and off, Hot Snakes is an extremely cohesive unit, each member a musician at the top of their game .
High energy anthems such as ‘Braintrust’ proved why they have such a reputation for playing live – their songs are power-driven enough on record without a doubt, but in the flesh those riffs shudder through your bones.
Showing some local love, their cover of Australian band X’s ‘Revolution’ was a surprising highlight; and then there was the battle cry of any independent musician, ‘Kreative Kontrol.’
The punch-packing ode to staying clear of corporate bigwigs shows just how dedicated the band are to their art, with lyrics like “I’d drink piss for creative control/I’d cut off my dick for creative control.” Watching them give their all up on the stage, you’d almost believe them too.
The casual threat of “some stabbings…maybe some eye gouging” towards the end from frontman Rick Froburg was so raspy it could barely be heard, so frenetically had his vocal chords been working over the past hour.
This, fortunately, had no impact on his vocal delivery, as the pleadings of a particularly devoted audience member (“pretty pleeeeease!”) convinced them to begin their encore with an impromptu rendition of ‘Anti-Boy.’
They finished up with a rousing cover of Big Boys’ ‘Red/Green’, in what was a blistering performance, and a fitting end to the night.
After last Friday, fans will only be all the more desperate for Hot Snakes to come back to the country again – and soon.