Live Review: Pandemonium Rocks – Brisbane 2024


Look what the cat dragged in! It is 2am and I am coming down from such a jaw-dropping day. Overthinking what to do first, sleep, edit photos or write this review with tingle of white noise in my ears and the smile still permanently etched across my face. I look like crap and feel it to being way to old to stay out on a school night especially to 2am but I never miss an opportunity to work with Drew from Hear2Zen along with the professional relationship you never know what is going to happen and any given moment that normally ends in stomach pains form excessive laughter or tears! But what an amazing day it was Pandemonium Festival 2024 Eaton’s Hill Hotel.
Unfortunately scarred with a few loose cannons and negativity and a set of unfortunate band departures through just bad luck really! This was one of the most amazing fun-filled festivals I have ever witnessed and the musicians who took center stage all produced the goods and provided an outstanding display. All diverse and impressive in their own unique ways made for a mismatch of bands that flowed beautifully and worked so very well.

Local Brisbane lads Pistonfist were first up. These boys smashed a set of hard rock tunes that would rival any season veteran’s equivalent. There is something about Aussie Hard Rock that really has a feel to it and nothing else can be compared to legends such as The Poor, Rosie Tatts, Angles, jets it is just in our blood. Geffro and his team of misfits were clearly having a blast and they proved why they were chosen to be a part of this festival with a performance that was second to none. I always remember people saying if you look like you are having fun, everyone around you will be having fun! So bloody true, this was a magical display of heavy rock! It is a hard gig trying to warm up a crowd in the late afternoon, but PistonFist had the place pumping with such a dominant exhibition of musicianship, class, and ballsy QLD hard rock!

The crowds were still rolling in and becoming steady at Eaton’s, next up more Australian legends the Cosmic Psychos, they stayers have been smashing pubs and stadiums since 1982 and have been educating the masses with their style of what can only be described as hardcore, punk, Australian rock with attitude! My interpretation at least! A Rose Tattoo love affair with Ramones kind of thing if you get my drift! (technical explanation for those who do not know)
Picture 3 Australian larrikins Always having a laugh on stage and no fucks are given! With a fashion sense of tank tops and footy shorts that would only rival that of Louis Vitton and Gucci, Ross, Dean and John really showed the Eaton’s crowd a good time. Armed with only attitude (No swearing McKeer!) Fuckwit City! And Nice day to go to the Pub helped motivate the punters to ensure they stay well hydrated. The set was incredible and musical ability and obvious bond between the band really shows with constant banter and a great laugh from start to finish!

The crowd was generating now with the green filling and the venue and excitement building. There was a relaxed vibe with the patrons, and everyone was well behaved and settled in to have a good time. Some were season veterans in battle regalia and others new generation being bought together for one thing the music. This is what festivals do! It is a medium to bring people together for the love of music. I seriously hope these events keep coming to Australia and are supported as they are a truly magical day out in a world that really needs it right now!

The incredibly Talented and Andrew Stockdale’s Wolfmother were next on the bill. And you never know what Andrew and the band are going to bring! I mean that in a good way, Wolfmother brings their A game each and every time! Andrew is powerhouse and his energy is incredible to watch and really highlights what a live rock show is all about. The pure talent of this band is undeniable with the masses singing along to every word fixated on Stockdale and his outlandish stage antics, undeniable shredding, and graciousness towards his audience. Wolfmother has been a part of Aussie music royalty for 20 years and no matter where they play, a pub or a stadium it is always an exhilarating experience with these guys. The band is tight, really tight the music is electric, and the energy is undeniable. The mix at Eaton’s hill was perfect, highlighting the absolute brilliance of these musicians. The backline of bass and drums were simply outstanding along with cutting guitar that woke up surrounding suburbs. All coming to a climax with the undeniable riff of “Joker & the Thief” (extended Version) Stockdale took the time to film the crowd on his mobile before graciously thanking the QLD crowd and totally blowing the roof off the place! Well… if there was one?

American legends Wheatus were next to showcase and what a pleasure to have the band back in Australia. The mix ideal for this event providing a chilled fun vibe, Brendan is always a laugh and improvises and interacts with the band and the crowd and you cannot help but feel this is a gig in your lounge room. The stage setup was a little different with drums to the right and vox to the left with backups bass and key across the middle showing again that Wheatus likes doing things their way and showing the respect for each other they have as all members are share stage equality. Did I mention the banter, the band just had FUN! They mess with each other, taunt and poke each other and it makes for a hugely entertaining and personal experience. There is no denying that the band are loving every minute of the experience performing some of the classics that have seen them through the last 28 years, and it does not get old.

Holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, Brendan has this way of truly mesmerizing you with his vocals, which are clean and enchanting at the same time. With a checky grin on his face constantly. Along with an amazing group of musicians Wheatus never fails to deliver. Taunting the crown with “Teenage dirtbag” Brendan played with the Brisbane faithful asking the crowd to sing it! “I’ve got two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby Come with me Friday, don’t say maybe I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you” Echoed through the grounds a breath-taking moment! Brenden then saying to the crowd that’s it we don’t need to finish its done… to moans and groans! Before teasing the punters and going on to complete the song. What an amazing experience, thank you Wheatus for being a part of this festival and adding such a great feel and vibe to the event. Did I mention Brendan is a massive AC/DC fan! Points right there!

Things were well and truly heating up now ready for the headliner Alice Cooper. But before then the London based band The Psychedelic Furs were bringing their classic new wave, rock pop punk brand to the stage! The response was amazing with the crowd really showing gratitude and respect to a band that has deserved the title of one of the finest examples of this genre to have graced our shores. A true privilege indeed. This band commands respect.
Like all the bands on the bill each has offered something unique and different to the festival providing quality entertainment and proving that different genres of punk, rock, alternative, metal, indie and pop all work hand in hand together to create that special spark only found with these types of events. Bringing people together for a common love of music.

Richard Butler’s iconic voice was in fine form, taking the crowd on a nostalgia trip through the eighties post-punk glory days. Mixing both new and old tunes over the set with a truly enchanting lighting display that resonated those radio memories of an era many would have lived and loved and never forgotten. The band had a presence that was mesmerizing to watch with a calmness and coolness that only they can seem to achieve. I could not help but reflect on those Roxy Music and Velvet Underground undertones the band state as major influences while watching in total awe. Another magical experience while Richard and Tim are continuing to create and perform, I hope what is old will become new again with a resurgence of this elegant British underground pop punk goth exquisite musical art. A beautiful experience that will never be forgotten.

So, what a day the stage has been set from Aussie rockers Pistonfist, Aussie punk no bullshit Cosmic Psychos, The insatiable Andrew Stockdale and all powerful Wolfmother. Brendan brown’s alternative rock from wheetus. The captivating Psychedelic furs…Now time for the main event the Shock Rock head of mayhem himself Mr. Alice Cooper.

What seemed like an eternity, the hour waiting for the stage to be set was greeted by the echoing of bells and the lonely figures of two lonely figures dressed in black wearing plague masks pacing the stage to a large black backdrop. The scene was now set for one hell of a rock show!

As quickly as that the curtain drops to a mesmerizing display of lights and multiple distractions as to where to look first. A feast for the eyes and senses. The formidable multi-talented Tommy Henriksen and Ryan Roxie trading riffs jamming to the opener Lock me up! The insatiable Nita Strauss holding her presence at the front of the stage looking incredible while looking over her shoulder an ominous clown! The monster on Bass Chuck Garric hammering down the bottom end and his master in crime on the drums Glen Sobel providing a solid backline completing the masterclass of pure talent that is the Alice Cooper Band.

The Eaton’s Crowd erupts to the man himself Alice Cooper “if you don’t like it, you can lock me up, Woah, oh, oh, oh, oh” echoing through the arena! The sound was deafening. An entrance reserved for royalty with a reaction fit for a king! The master, the legend, no we are not fucking worthy! (excuse overused cliché) Alice Cooper!! The Alice Cooper experience is something truly magical that cannot really be explained to do it justice. It is something that must be seen and felt as there is nobody ever who can do it as well or as good as Alice Cooper. The show is a visual theatrical spectacular of showmanship and entertainment that will never be replicated.

Alice was on fire belting out classics “No More Mr. Nice guy,” “Eighteen,” “Under My Wheels,” “Department of Youth’, “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Elected” to name just a few. The band are complete and utter freaks of nature with a skillset that is undeniable. Each member of Alices band is a virtuoso in their trade making everything look so easy and gelling like a tight knit team that obviously have a strong connection and love for each other. This is so apparent with cheeky smiles and interactions throughout the show that really was incredible. The gel these guys have with each other truly is infectious.

This is my third Alice Cooper show, and I must admit that smile I mentioned earlier did not leave my face. Wow, just wow it just gets better over the years Alice has never sounded better, the show is incredible although shorter for this festival it was amazing having all those elements that are synonymous with and AC show. Frankie, the guillotine, Alice Cooper Money, confetti and all the bells, and whistles.

This was a true highlight for me and many of the fans at Eaton’s Hill. Alice was in top notch form and the sound lighting and theatrical extravaganza was nothing short of truly unbelievable. Thank you, Alice cooper and band, for headlining such a fun festival and proving that music is not dead, festivals are not dead, and the love of music goes beyond age, gender, and politics a uniting force that brings us all together. Yes, Alice, we would vote for you, and you would get elected!

On that note a big thank you from myself to Hear2zen for having me along and hats off to all the crew, caterers, cleaners, security, sound engineers, managers, promoters, staff, bands, and everyone that makes these things come to life. It is a substantial risk; it is challenging and there is so much work behind the scenes that can go wrong. But this has been such a positive day for everyone there and I am so happy to have been a part of it. Thank you.

Remember to unleash your inner rockstar!