[LIVE REVIEW] Good Charlotte w/ Special Guests @ Riverstage, Sydney 28/03/2018

Download Festival doesn’t just stop in Melbourne- Queenslanders got to share in the love through the Download Sideshow held at Brisbane’s Riverstage on Wednesday night. Good Charlotte headlined the show with Aussies Chase Atlantic, Americans Issues and Falling In Reverse as well as Welsh band Neck Deep also playing the gig. The iconic GC logo filled the stage’s backdrop.

The Riverstage is a fantastic venue for such a show- its hill slopes in towards the stage making a semi natural seating with easy viewing. Half the crowd chose to sit on the hill, chilling picnic style while the other half ready to rock, flooded the stage front and sides; moshpitting. Chase Atlantic played first up and Issues followed, warming up for the night to come.

Falling In Reverse was the third cab off the ranks, definitely popular with the moshpitters chanting “Falling” repeatedly. Their banner dropped down over the GC logo, wicked guitar riffs announcing their arrival. They played hits such as Alone and Losing My Mind with the audience singing along, hands bouncing in sync. Their set was full of energy and angst, prompting the chant of “one more!” as the set started reaching its end. Lead singer Ronnie Radke in response, asked the audience to raise their hand “if you or anyone you know are an asshole?” Of course, the majority raised their hands, heading into their final song, Just Like You with great delight from screaming fans jumping around.

The stage then changed over banners to Neck Deep’s art during a fifteen minute intermission giving attendees a chance to get food and drinks. When it hit Neck Deep’s performance time, a countdown lead into deep rumbling audio with piercing guitar riffs. The band opened with Happy Judgement Day, playing songs from The Peace and the Panic and Life’s Not Out To Get You albums for their set. Lead singer, Ben Barlow shared with the audience that “touring with Good Charlotte was something on the bucket list” and “without Good Charlotte, bands like us wouldn’t exist.” They bowed out for the final number Where Do We Go When We Go with the lights flashing down and fading out emulating rain apt for the song’s lyrics.

Noticeably, more people arrived through the gates towards the end of Neck Deep’s set and in the break that followed– they only came for one band. A great deal of those picnicking, packed up their gear, were up standing; moving closer to the stage. The tour shirts were everywhere. Their five year break clearly didn’t hurt their fandom.

The stage went black, everyone screamed. Rumbling audio with sirens and helicopter sounds panning across the speakers. Good Charlotte ran on to the excitement of everyone, opening with The Anthem. As they played, those on the hill kept moving in, dancing and singing along. Theatrical smoke pumped in streams across the stage front. This band was out to put on a truly sick show. Hands were up in the air, bouncing madly. Lead singer, Joel Madden spoke to the audience, saying tonight was special to the band as it was nostalgic to be back in Brisbane. As they continued to play earlier hits, Joel dedicated the song, Riot Girl to all the girls out there and spoke about his daughter, hoping that “she will express herself without sexism, without discrimination.”

The band went on to play a newer hit, Life Changes from their recent album, Youth Authority with Joel speaking about getting back up from tough times and that at the start of the band’s life, it was tough for them. Never once did the audience stop singing along throughout the set. This was as the Madden Brothers proclaimed, “a house party in a really big backyard.” They spoke about their humble beginnings and how times were tough in their small home town. They spoke about their success and that “all the statistics said we should have ended up a lot differently than today, so every time we’re up on stage we’re grateful for you guys.” There was great level of sincerity in those words. This is a band happy and appreciative of where they are in life. To that end, they continued with Motivation Proclamation. Then there was a new chant continuing amongst the moshpitters- “Do it”.

Good Charlotte then got into Keep Your Hands Off My Girl and Makeshift Love, Joel confessing that the brothers didn’t get a lot of hugs when they were younger and now fans’ mothers and grandmothers hug them, also mentioning that the Brothers’ mom and grandma were also with them tonight on the tour; telling the fans to appreciate their moms and grandmas. The “Do it” chant continued to persist. Clearly they hadn’t done what the “Do it” was.

Joel continued along the nostalgia line by talking about how the band had struggled getting their first song on the radio. The first place in the world that played any Good Charlotte, was Brisbane, Australia- this lead them into performing Little Things. The hit songs got bigger and bigger, with numbers like Misery and The Young and The Hopeless. They then had a false start mixing up the cues for Dance Floor Anthem and Last Night, however handled this jokingly and played both songs. That “Do It” chant still persisted.

The gig was reaching its climax with mega hit I Just Wanna Live, the crowd singing louder and louder, responding to Joel’s every vocal challenge. The chant still didn’t die down and when you start working out which song hasn’t been done yet- what they were asking for became obvious. They broke into their break out hit, Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous– suddenly those chanters, broke into screaming praise! During a break in the song, they thanked the staff and shouted out their fellow touring bands, ending with streaming theatrical smoke and pyrotechnics putting the “live” in live show. Fans coming away from this show, satisfied was an understatement. Good Charlotte came to rock the “house party” and rocked it they did!

Review Contributed by Sarah Minazzo