LIVE REVIEW: The Fortitude Music Hall Opening

Brisbane has been long overdue for a new music venue for many years. It’s a city that has a rapid growing nightlife and has a presence in the music industry that is getting bigger by the year. With massive artists like Cub Sport, Mallrat, Amy Shark, Ball Park Music, DZ Deathrays, Violent Soho and The Last Dinosaurs hailing from the Sunshine State, there is no shortage of homegrown talent. It’s also the home to the industry showcase week Bigsound and an increasing amount of new festivals popping up across the city including Festival X, Scene & Heard and Wildlands. Brisbane is quickly becoming the musical place to be. But an issue that has been constantly debated is the lack of mid-sized venues to fit the demand of shows and range of artists. The Tivoli holds a capacity of 1500, while the next venue is The Riverstage which holds 9500 punters. There was no in-between for artists to play. Well, until now. The Fortitude Music Hall finally is here to fill the void with an impressive mid-range capacity of 3000. 

To celebrate the opening of the exciting new venue, a massive party was thrown that highlighted the level of homegrown talent that Brisbane has. Headlined by Ball Park Music, DZ Deathrays and Tia Gostelow, there were also some special guests that graced the stage throughout the night to make sure that this was one memorable opening night. 

The venue itself is a beautiful hall located in the middle of the Brunswick Street Mall in the club precinct of the Fortitude Valley. With a Gastby themed style, the venue has two giant chandeliers that hang over the dance floor while the balcony has two elevated levels to make sure everyone in the venue has a chance of securing a decent vantage point. The staging is big and allows the acts to bring a gracious sized production and elevate their live show.

Hosting the nights festivities was The Grates front-woman Patience Hodgson, who entertained the crowd with her comedic wit and stylish glittery headpiece. Alternative pop newcomer Tia Gostelow kicked off the nights musical proceedings with a reflective set that included her tracks ‘Giants’ and ‘Hunger’ which have both gained massive traction on streaming platforms. Earlier that day Gostelow released her new single ‘Get To It’ which she played for the crowd and is also going on massive headlining tour for in September. Bringing Thelma Plum onto the stage for a duet performance of ‘Around Here’ from Plums debut EP, she also brought up Sam Cromack from Ball Park Music to perform her own song ‘Strangers’. 

With this show purely curated to celebrate the Brisbane music scene, the line up was really diverse in capturing the variety of acts this city has produced. DZ Deathrays are a punk-rock band that always know how to deliver strong energy. With songs like ‘Total Meltdown’, ‘Gina Works At Hearts’ and ‘Like People’ scattered throughout their set they also had one of the biggest guest spots of the night. Jeremy Neale was the first to come out to perform a cover of ‘Twist N Shout’ with the band but then it was Bernard Fanning and Ian Haug’s turn from Powderfinger to bless the new stage with the DZ boy’s to perform an electrifying version of ‘(Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind’. I mean, talk about a momentous opening memory. 

After a brief changeover, Ball Park Music finally made their way onto the stage for their headlining set. Opening with ‘The End Times’ from their recent album ‘Good Mood’, they didn’t waste any time in making sure the crowd were ready to dance the night away. ‘Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You’, ‘The Perfect Life Does Not Exist’, ‘Coming Down’, ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’ and ‘Exactly How You Are’ created those harmonious singalong’s that you were expecting from their set. But there were some little surprises thrown into the mix for good measure. The first one was a guest performance of Custard’s ‘Apartment’ with lead singer Dave McCormack. The second then came via an energetic performance with Patience Hodgson from The Grates. Wrapping up their set with ‘She Only Love’s Me When I’m There’, ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’ and ‘Fence Sitter’ they said good night to the ecstatic crowd with the hilariously energetic ‘Hands Off My Body’ which is a song that was born for the live stage. 

The Fortitude Music Hall could’ve got any massive act to open the venue with an exclusive one off show but instead they chose to honour the local artists who are helping put Brisbane on the world music map. And it’s because of that, that this opening night became so memorable and special in it’s own right. 

Check out the full gallery captured by Claudia Bill Photography HERE;

Photos by Claudia Bill