You know you’re in for a great time at Hilltop Hoods show, and Saturday night’s ‘The Great Expanse’ gig at the Riverstage in Brisbane, while exceptional, was no exception to this rule.
It was a full house and all smiles from the moment the Hilltop Hoods strode on stage. The set was a multi-layered affair, with DJ Debris at the top of the pyramid, the drummer and horn section on the next level, guest singer Niasa in the middle and roaming the front of the stage, Pressure and Suffa. If you did a double take at the mention of the horn section, yes you read correctly. Perhaps inspired by their 2016 orchestra-backed performances, the Hilltop Hoods brought their own three piece horn section.
They didn’t stop there with the unexpected additions – before launching into ‘Exit Sign’, the Hilltops brought Illy and Ecca Vandal out to bring the song to life. Flames, smoke, sparks and a streamer bomb also added to the surprise element throughout the show.
‘Chase the Feeling’ from 2009 album ‘State of The Art’ was the opening track releasing the pent up excitement of the crowd. In order to avoid hate mail, as Suffa mentioned, other old favourites like ‘Cosby Sweater’, ‘Live and Let Go’, ‘Hard Road’ and of course ‘Nosebleed Section’ all appeared through the evening,
It wasn’t all a one sided affair though, there was plenty of audience participation besides the exultant sing-alongs and bouncing like bedsprings on a honeymoon. Pressure had everyone get their phones out to light the night for ‘Through The Dark’, and ‘Rattling the Keys to the Kingdom’ required everyone to swing a piece of clothing high overhead. The night was really all about ‘The Great Expanse’ though, from the intergalactic imagery to the album-heavy set list. With their impeccable live renditions of songs such as ‘Leave Me Lonely’, ‘Be Yourself’, ‘Counterweight’ and more, anyone who didn’t already have the album would have grabbed a copy from the merch tent.
Inspiring, stirring, amusing and just a damn good time, the Hilltop Hoods are always a must-see. Shout out to support acts, Shadow and Mojo Juju who did a stellar job of warming the crowd on a fresh Brisbane night.
Images (c) Simone Gorman-Clark