GIG REVIEW: Nuclear Assault, Elm Street, Hidden Intent & Deraign Live at Crowbar, Brisbane
I hate farewell shows. I know that sounds abrupt but it’s not because they are bad, I just hate seeing people who have forged a name and a career for themselves by imprinting their art on people’s lives call time on that. With that in mind, it becomes a double whammy when a farewell show is also the band’s first and only time in your city. Such is the fortune that Nuclear Assault fans had in Brisbane last night at the band’s first and only show in our city. Sharing the stage with some great local acts meant the night was going to be a hit, but knowing that it was the band’s only show in Brisbane ever just made it that bit more special.
First band on stage for the night was Deraign, and although it had been some time since I had seen these guys at a local show, they showed a sizeable growth on stage which looked pretty damn impressive. The sound was crisp, although at times a little too distorted, but visually the band looked tight and well-oiled unit on the tiny stage. You could tell that they have been working hard at a local level because there was a sizeable crowd of moshers up the front and they held them for their entire set and for me this meant that the night was only going to get better.
Second band for the night were Hidden Intent, and I must admit had mixed feelings about them. Visually they were pretty good to watch – particularly their guitarist – but there was just something about the three-piece which didn’t latch onto me like the other bands. Their music was good, true-to-the-genre of thrash; however, with the exception of a few guitar pieces it felt a little bit rudimentary. I’m not saying it was bad, I just couldn’t get involved with them as I did the other bands on the night. They were definitely a good pick for the night and were enjoyed by most, but I just don’t think they captured the energy as good as some of the other bands.
Elm Street had a much smaller crowd compared to their predecessors, which is a shame as I thought they were the most technically sound band all night. The traditional-metallers have one of the best sounds to come out of Australia in recent years, and while their content might seem to be borderline cheesy (song titles like “Heavy Metal Power” and “Barbed Wire Metal” anyone?), their performances never fail to disappoint. So it was for these reasons that I found it disappointing that there wasn’t as big of a crowd present that had been there earlier in the night. While their performance was relatively tame, musically these guys were flawless, making them well deserved of receiving the penultimate act of the night slot.
Nuclear Assault had sure waited their sweet time in making it down to Australia and it was good to see that their one and only show in Brisbane was a nice and packed out affair. The crowd that had been missing during Elm Street beforehand seemed to resurge back, filling the venue to the point where there was not much space to move and gave Nuclear Assault the welcome that they deserved.
It took but a few moments for the crowd to go into an absolute frenzy once the band had come out on stage, and where most band’s need to put in an energetic performance to really ring home the feel of their music, Nuclear Assault didn’t. From the very onset the band showed exactly why they have still managed to stay as an important part of the thrash metal tapestry over thirty years. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a stripped back performance with them just standing still, but a performance where most of the aggression came from the musical output of the band. Each song brought with it a new facet those that were on before, and while their setlist couldn’t cover everything, they made sure they hit as much as they could during their 90 minute performance.
What I will say about this show however is that while I loved it, I feel slightly asham
So while it took 30 years to happen, Nuclear Assault finally managed to blow a Brisbane audience away, and while it is always sad to see a band’s final show in any city, there seemed to be a sense of appreciation from the crowd that the band had finally managed to pass through Australia on their Final Assault tour. Meeting with the fans at the bar afterwards might have been the band’s personal way of saying goodbye, but after all these years it seemed a perfectly fitting way to close a chapter of Nuclear Assault history.