Live Review: Reliqa mesmerize on the Brisbane stop of their Secrets of the Future Tour (20.06.24)

Escaping from a brisk Brisbane winter mere minutes before showtime, I found myself wedged far from the stage between the mixing desk and merch table, surrounded by a sea of eager fans filling the upper and lower decks of Brisbane’s iconic venue, The Brightside. In this little corner of Fortitude Valley, Sydneysiders Reliqa continued their Secrets of The Future Tour, showcasing their latest album and bringing their unique brand of progressive metal north of the border. With the venue pumping, it’s clear the secret is out, and the future is bright for this lot.

Contrasting with the otherwise mundane and chilly Thursday night outside, the physical warmth of a few hundred people packed inside The Brightside was outshone by my own warm, fuzzy feelings inside as an excitable, near-packed house arrived early just to throw down for the opening acts.

Kicking off the night’s festivities were fellow Brisbanites, Krave. With a brief introduction, lead singer, songwriter, and bassist Siana Davis launched into their set with “Out Of Control.” Ironically, just as the band began, guitarist Ryan White‘s signal disappeared. Demonstrating true professionalism and the adage “the show must go on,” Davis and drummer Lachy Shirley played it off coolly. With the three-piece momentarily down to two, they continued with an endearing enthusiasm and charm that suggested professionalism well beyond the band’s short tenure.

With guitar cranking through an amp once more, the trio quickly won over the crowd with a hybrid of alt-rock and metal tendencies. A departure from the expected headliners, there was scarcely a disappointed pair of well-warmed ears in the venue. Tight, fast, and riff-heavy tunes combined with the stage presence of Davis and White left a lasting impression. Finishing the set minus a strap due to a loss of the strap dowel, with the bass cradled on her leg propped up by a foldback, Davis proved she’s an unshakeable beast of a frontwoman, and Krave is as professional as they come. The only disappointment was knowing the band’s moody ballad “Take Your Bow” in recorded form would never touch that stellar live performance.

With a sonic shift equivalent to a full-speed handbrake turn, Perth’s own RinRin took the stage. Led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Qarin Hipe, the entirely unexpected yet wildly infectious pop-punk rocker came out guns blazing with opening song “The Game.” Backed by guitarists KR Arguelles and James Judges, and drummer Lawrence Lozada, RinRin brought the vibes. With an undeniably catchy and unique sense of dramatic, melodic hardcore punk sensibilities and theatre, RinRin’s energetic and enthusiastic delivery was unmatched. Hipe soldiered on through an admitted struggle with sickness, although without a mention, it was truly unnoticeable.

Most impressively, RinRin won over my normally utterly cold indifference to pop-punk. Not only was I buzzing, but the crowd in unity bought in wholeheartedly to what the band was offering. As each short, sharp, and incredibly fun song ran into the next, the band had the room in their hands. With Hipe’s nonplussed introductions like “this one’s about sadness… and shit like that,” RinRin is a super fun band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously but plays like seasoned pros. Proving to be highly memorable on a night of undeniably impressive musical offerings, there is an awesome spectacle awaiting you at the end of a ticket to a RinRin show.

As the second act finished, the buzz for headliners Reliqa was palpable. Similar to the feeling in the room, in the outside world the hype is continuing to grow around Reliqa. Coming hot off the strong release of their debut album Secrets of the Future, the band is smashing and selling out gigs across the country, reminding the Aussie public (and soon the wider world) what they’re capable of. Despite the album doing that pretty well, the live show elevated the material entirely.

As the band members took to the stage with the notable exception of their frontwoman, Reliqa kicked off with “Cave” from their newest album. With the chuggy marriage of Brandon Lloyd’s guitars and bass of Miles Knox that are carried by drummer Benjamin Knox, the sound was massive. Emerging like a true rockstar to a wave of rapturous applause and excitement, Monique Pym arrived just in time to lead the song with her soaring vocals. Covering a large swathe of the newest record that encompassed around three-quarters of the breakneck pace of the one-hour set, the band gave The Brightside everything they had.

Vocalist Monique Pym delivered a performance that should prove to cement her as an icon in the making. Performing with a reciprocated joy, her softer vocals soared and contrasted with exasperated fun in quips like “Holy shit Brisbane, look what we did to The Brightside!” Joyously leading her band throughout the night, Pym was the perfect ringleader, bringing the heavy madness of her proggy metal circus together, taming the wild crowd, and ensuring the show was a blast for us and the band themselves. With an undeniably demanding stage presence, Pym is a revelation.

Bringing in touches of rap-styled flows and electronica to their progressive sound, the combination of outside genre elements in Reliqa’s music makes the live show all the more sonically interesting. Sometimes heavy as hell, sometimes tinged with electronic pop, and breaking out into growling guitars with hip-hop flows bounding over them, the one-hour set was mind-blowing.

While Pym’s sweet and soaring vocals mesmerized, the band members each had individual moments to shine. While not known for indulging in massively technical moments, the members each took opportunities to melt faces and cement a strong grasp of their instruments. There was never any overindulgence, and the performance suggested the band always put the song first. The minor deviations and improvisations were a joy to witness though, while the band ensured the songs hit hard and fast, and never missed.

Standout moments included blistering solos from Brandon Lloyd, the crowd singing along word for word with “Dying Light,” and the sea of black shirts shifting from windmilling arms and flailing legs to rave dancing to the metal-infused techno-pop stylings of “Terminal” at the behest of Pym. I can’t suggest that there were any weak moments, as the hour-long set breezed past as quickly as it started.

Closing on “Mr. Magic,” it felt like the crowd had gotten its money’s worth, and the band was satisfied with Brisbane’s energetic and appreciative reciprocation delivered in spades. As the guitars faded out, they closed out a night of energetic heavy goodness the solidifies Reliqa as one of Australia’s best live acts.

As quickly as the cold Brisbane air hit me on the way out, so too did the realization that the absolute kick-ass roster of bands on display tonight was entirely female-fronted. Something that shouldn’t be surprising but unfortunately is, I was certain of two things: the secrets of the future might just be Reliqa heading for superstardom and the metal scene being in good hands with the ladies at the wheel.


Catch Reliqa at the remaining dates of their Secrets of the Future Tour below:

Sun, 23 June
Reliqa @ Never Had So Much Fun w/Redhook
Drifters Wharf, Central Coast AA
Tickets: BUY NOW