[LIVE REVIEW] Good Things Festival @ Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane 09/12/2018

Good Things thundered into Brisbane on Saturday at the RNA Showgrounds with a stellar global lineup of rock and heavy metal goodness ranging from punk to emo and everything in between. The rhetoric throughout the day and night constantly being spoken, “it’s so good to bring back rock festivals to Australia.”

The festival itself was very well spread out across the showgrounds, with a plentiful variety of food trucks and a Nintendo Switch chill out area as well as first aid, essential amenities and merch tents easily accessible on both sides of the festival and close by to the paired stages. Originally predicted to lightly shower, instead the sun chose to shine on with the rock stars. There were constant reminders onstage screens, to drink water, slap on sunscreen and wear a hat. This festival’s event management team had clearly thought out everything- places to fill up on water, spraying water into the mosh pits and yes, even selling hats. Speaking of merch, BABYMETAL products were sold out within the first hour much like predicted from Sydney’s and Melbourne’s tour legs.

The stages schedule were tight and ran perfectly to time. It was such an awesome idea to have the stages paired up so as one band would play on stage, the other would be prepped and sound checked ready for the next band on the other. This reduced wait times between bands dramatically, thus never a dull moment.

By the time I arrived, La Dispute were towards the end of the set on Stage 2, belting out King Park. The mosh pit was a sea of black shirts, rocking out to the post-hardcore band. Vocalist, Jordan Dreyer later apologised to the crowd for “not putting on the perfect show” but promised to do so next year. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why he was apologising- must have been something I missed prior to arriving if anything as the part of the set I saw was great. A short break followed as Stage 1 did final sound checks ahead of Japanese act, BABYMETAL.

BABYMETAL was welcomed with open arms and screams as the drum rolls built up anticipation, the girls slowly stepping on stage in trademark costumes with cat masks held in front of their faces and moved into position. All the otakus were out along with the band’s fan club in the pit. They jumped into their first number, Megitsume with their amazingly synchronised dance moves, then broke into Give Me Chocolate. They delivered a high powered energetic performance throughout finishing up with Distortion, KARATE, and Road of Resistance. The Japanese and eclipse logo flags flew high in the crowd, fans taking group photos together after the outstanding set.

Over on Stage 2, a tie-dye backdrop was unfurled ahead of The Used taking stage after BABYMETAL. After an extremely brief break, The Used crashed onto the stage with Take It Away. Lead Vocals, Bert McCracken wrapping a wet towel around his head as he belted out lyrics and dropped Shakespeare soliloquies between numbers including “To be or not to be” from Hamlet. They played hits including The Bird and The Worm, Cry and Pretty Handsome Awkward. McCracken called Brisbane, “absolutely beautiful” and commented that “it was about time” that rock’n’roll festivals were brought back and that it’s a bright future before telling the audience that they were obligated to be “their child-like selves” at festivals. The band channeled their aggression at Donald Trump with McCracken raising a middle finger high.

McCracken then allowing the band to take a sip and a breath convinced the pit to create a circle pit for a singalong to an Australian anthem. That anthem turned out to be the Playschool theme song. I’m never going to listen to that theme the same way again and this needs to be on the Spotify if it isn’t already. The band rounded out the set with A Box Full of Sharp Objects.

Meanwhile, on the ground, the pit grew bigger and started chanting, “Bullet” as final stage preps were done to Stage 1 with a marbled rainbow set of wings on the backdrop in anticipation of Bullet for My Valentine. The band screamed into Don’t Need You as their opener, the pit bouncing wildly. Crowd surfers in the crowd and the audience banging into one other. Needless to say, I had already opted to be on the outer side as the pit had become quite claustrophobic beforehand. They played on with tracks including No Way Out and Scream Aim Fire. Later finished off with Tears Don’t Fall and Waking the Demon.

Headed over to the other side, I managed to catch the end of Sydney band, Tonight Alive’s set at Stage 4 witnessing the fantastic vocals of Jenna McDougall and excellent sound with numbers Wasting Away, Disappear and The Edge. Admittedly this is the point where I needed to take a break and get a feed. Of course, most people had the same idea! The one truck I lined up for was so popular that they ran out of food and had to end the queue before me. A little devo that I didn’t get Buffalo Wings, but the silver lining here was the variety of offerings- everything from Japanese to German to Italian. You could go as simple, gourmet or as healthy as you wanted.

Took a seat at the grandstands with food in hand in time to see Stage 2 alive with the Celtic rock sounds of Dropkick Murphys, opening up with The Boys Are Back. They played fast and furiously, often a little too quick for me to catch, with songs like Rebels With a Cause. Then it was a crowd singalong with Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya. They kept playing hard with more tracks including The Walking Dead, Out of Our Heads and Until Next Time. The finale arguably their biggest hit used in the film, The Departed and in numerous Brisbane Lions ads, I’m Shipping Up to Boston.

All Time Low on Stage 1 was far from a low- the mosh pit constantly bouncing around at lead singer/rhythm guitarist Alex Gaskarth’s invitation to “dance with us”, starting up the set with Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t). The mosh pit grew, even more, covering the oval completely, as the day entered into the night, Gaskarth even asking if there were any vampires out there. All Time Low played out an electric set, dishing out tracks including Weightless, Life of the Party and Something’s Gotta Give. Talking about the Good Things tour, Gaskarth saying that while “Melbourne and Sydney killed, Brisbane feels different” and he thanked both fans and people who were new to the band, “for giving us a chance.” They performed Birthday in dedication to those celebrating their birthdays and trolled the audience into thinking he would jump off stage to crowd surf. The band closed out with Lost in Stereo and Dear Maria (Count Me In).

With barely a breath between, Stage 2 blasted with a metal intro and the many tiny glows of phones pulled out to record Stone Sour hitting the stage with the track, Taipei Person / Allah Tea. Pyrotechnics were all fired up and the band left no stone unturned in stage theatrics. The audience roared throughout, crowd surfers traveling along the fronts of the pit. Stone Sour screamed into a non-stop set including Knievel Has Landed, Bother and Get Inside. Lead vocals, Corey Taylor clearly enjoying himself even firing out confetti cannons into the crowd. The set ended with Through Glass and Fabuless.

After a brief quiet moment, the Time To Relax audio hit the speakers with the lights out hailing The Offspring’s appearance at Stage 1. They blasted into their first track, Nitro (Youth Energy) and continued to play their 1994 album Smash in it’s entirely all but one played in order (Self- Esteem was played later). Playing on bass was No Doubt bassist, Tony Kanal ripping through the numbers as only he can. Vocalist, Dexter Holland commenting that it was “so good to be back” and saying this was “the best show so far” in the Good Things tour. After fully playing the album, the band took a short intermission literally only a few minutes if that then playing the Intermission audio almost feeling like I was on hold. They headed into hits like You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid, All I Want and (Can’t Get My) Head Around You. Stage crew then pulling out a lit up piano for the band to perform the heartfelt Gone Away. Holland talking of this particular song, that he found putting a loss into words can be healing.

The band then changed pace completely, heading into mega-hit Why Don’t You Get a Job? turning into a mass singalong. Holland and Noodles (guitarist) then talked about the Aussie bands they loved- Grinspoon, The Living End (love your taste in music, guys)- before of course, doing a cover of Aussie mega rock band AC/DC’s A Whole Lotta Rosie.

Changing back to their own catalog, they delivered the other mega-hit turned mass singalong Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) thundering into a finale with The Kids Aren’t Alright.

Good Things really was so much more than good! The party continued into the dawn a couple of blocks over at its Afterparty at The Brightside. Can’t wait to see how 2019’s tour can top this!

Review Contributed by Sarah Minazzo

Photos Contributed by Tracie Tee