As some of you may recall, local art-pop enthusiast Darcy Rhodes, or as he’s better known, Max Chillen, released his debut ep Coffin Fit just a matter of months ago. We listened to it, we reviewed it and we pretty much fell in love with it.
After a swirling of hype off the back of Coffin Fit, fresh Brisbane venue The Foundry announced Max Chillen as part of the lineup for the January edition of their monthly Loaded showcase / party / fiesta / extravaganza.
Being Chillen’s first EVER live show, it was apparent that nobody knew quite what to expect, but boy, what we got was just something else.
Upon arrival to The Foundry, I was greeted to the great sounding Killer Trunk Hunks warming the crowd up for the night. Watching the first support act was the man himself, along with his band; looking as ready, determined and fierce as ever. We chatted, I wished them luck for the show, then within the space of 10 or so minutes they had to disappear backstage to prepare.
Killer Trunks Hunks finished their set and went into the night. The crowd dispersed to various locations to kill some time between sets, be it the bar, smokers’ deck or bathroom, the venue room was cleared out.
Through the magnificent art of making small talk, I managed to pick the minds of some lovely fellows on the balcony looking over Ann St. From this interaction, I gathered that the majority of people there at that moment had come specifically for Max Chillen.
Five minutes to showtime, I decide to head in and get a cozy spot at the back and side of the front section. Not only could I have a full view of the stage and band and observe the mosh’s general reaction, but I could also lean against the wall. Checkmate, bitches .
As the live band set up all equipment and mics, literally within the space of two minutes the room went from being near-empty to completely packed out. Bloody hell, this guy can pull a crowd.
Then the moment had finally arrived. Showtime.
The familiar opening bassline of Coffin Fit single Vietnam begins to play. All is going well except for one small observation, where is Darcy? The man that everyone had come to see was not yet on stage with his band.
The song slowly progresses, the drumline kicks in and then the guitars thrash into action, with Max ‘fuckin’ Chillen sprinting out to main stage, dancing and head-banging uncontrollably to the welcoming absolute roar of the crowd. It was definitely as energetic and epic an entrance as you can hope to make, ever.
The energy didn’t stop there though, oh no sir. Opening song Vietnam saw Chillen take full command of the stage and not stand still once. It was almost as if he were a mother bird, literally feeding his babies (the crowd) energy, and they were regurgitating it right back to him. Dance moves were so slick that only a shitty gif can do justice at describing them.
Upon finishing Vietnam, Chillen was understandably pretty fkn puffed. Gulping down water and exclaiming “..and that’s what happens when you have an epileptic fit on stage“.
He bid his time in regaining energy for the next song by actually addressing and speaking to the crowd, introducing the band and having a few laughs along the way. It was clear that a lot of the crowd personally knew him and were there with their 100% support, which he absolutely fed off throughout the night.
The band then jumped into a rendition of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, which went down as smoothly as possible. There were a few well-known songs covered throughout the night, which Chillen himself explained “is purely due to laziness“; including Joy Division, The Doors’ classic How Soon Is Love? and fellow local band Howling Seas’ Hilary.
Max Chillen powered through original tunes with meaningfully heartfelt lyrics such as Queen Street Mall, which was explained as being about “being a depressed fifteen year old from Brisbane, and having no-one take you seriously because you’re a depressed fifteen year old from Brisbane”. Perhaps it’s this type of upfront, confidently delivered honesty that wins us all over.
Also showcased were new tunes such as Ich Bin, Nothing Important, Allianz Insurance and ending the night on Goodbyes. The latter of tunes brought the crowd to sadness, and cries for an encore were chanted before he’d even started playing it.
All in all, Max Chillen; at his first ever live show graced the stage with the confidence, stamina, hilarity and skill to a level that would normally take years, even decades to build up. A natural born performer, he knows who his crowd is, what they want and how they want it; and then delivers a show 10x better.
11/10 would recommend making your way to a Max Chillen live show, there’s sure to be a bazillion of them popping up soon.
Listen to Max Chillen – Vietnam below.
– This review was written by Jakob Rosenblatt.