Photograph by Robbie Atkin
Review by Tara Williams
FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL OPENING
A sight so common on a rampageous night out in the heart of Brisbane’s Foritude Valley; Brunswick Mall. It is easy to reminisce on nights remembered, and nights perhaps forgotten, when standing at the traffic lights on the corner of Wickham and Brunswick street. However, this is no ordinary night out to be forgotten, but certainly one to remember. Festival Hall is cheering from the sidelines as the Fortitude Music Hall opens it’s doors for the very first time. It’s shining entrance protruding out into the otherwise familiar landscape of Brunswick mall. After three years in the making; the dazzling lovechild of the teams behind Secret Sounds, The Triffid and Live Nation makes a timely entrance to the Brisbane music scene.
Drawing inspiration from Brisbane architectural classics like Cloudland and Festival Hall, it’s no wonder Fortitude Music Hall; a venue adorned with glowing warm lights and dazzlingly large chandeliers, manages to evoke both feelings of excitement and nostalgia. Brisbane has finally been gifted the 3000+ capacity venue it has been missing since the abolishment of Festival Hall, that it needs to secure itself a place on the national and global music scale.
The opening evening festivities were one glorious tribute to the wonderful and diverse range of homegrown musical talent. The night was MC’d by The Grates' front-woman Patience Hodgson, who mesmerised the crowd with her fabulous glittering headpiece - a true compliment to the venues glamorous yet classy aesthetic. Hodgson kicked the night off as she introduced Brisbane’s up and coming pop star Tia Gostelow. Gostelow made musical history as the first live act in the Fortitude Music Hall as she performed tracks from her album Thick Skin and her popular single Strangers. The instalment of musical treats had just begun, as artists such as Thelma Plum, Busby Marou joined the stage.
For the second major instalment of the night, DZ Deathrays took to the stage with their unwavering energy turned the pace of the evening up a few notches. The dynamic trio’s electro performance consisted of an assortment of special guest appearances. First up was Jeremy Neale who joined the DZ boys to perform a unique and heavy rendition of Twist and Shout. For many weeks, months even, leading up to the opening of the Fortitude Music Hall, there was much speculation as to the whether or not national treasure Powderfinger would reunite to bless the hearts of Brisbanites and their brand new game-changing venue. Although it may not have been the whole team, when Bernard Fanning and Ian Haug joined the stage to perform the Powderfinger classic Baby I’ve Got You On My Mind, the crowd went wild as the atmosphere swirled with nostalgia for both the history that was being repeated, and the history that was being made.
With big shoes to fill, there could have been no better act chosen to close the evening of musical history than Brisbane’s one and only Ball Park Music. Frontman Sam Cromack stood lit up like a statue in front of a sea of bodies as the packed out venue stood soaking up the moment. The Ball Park gang delivered the crowd an assortment of favourites, opening with their more recent number The End Times from their album Good Mood. They continued to deliver an appropriate range of hits from their almost decade long career such as Coming Down, Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You, Exactly How You Are and Fence Sitter. To put the icing on the cake, as Cromack addressed the crowd, he welcomed Custard's Dave McCormack to the stage. McCormack looked the part in his circa 2000’s top hat as he performed Custard’s 1995 hit Apartment. McCormack’s appearance was short but sweet, and Ball Park Music were handed back the historical task of closing the evening. The band bought us down gently, and ended with the impossible-not-to-dance-to banger Hands Off My Body, which was accompanied by an equally as vigorous and captivating light show.
The Fortitude Music Hall captured the very essence of what makes the Brisbane music scene so special. It was local, it was diverse, it was collaborative, it was welcoming, and it left you wanting more. It will be an exciting journey to watch the future of Brisbane’s live music scene make its mark on the map as the Fortitude Music Hall opens its doors to so many more magical moments.
See our full gallery from the night with photographs taken by Robbie Atkin & Seamus Platt below.