[LIVE REVIEW] Good Things Festival @ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne 07/12/2018

The inaugural Good Things Festival kicked off yesterday in Australia’s music capital Melbourne. With a forecast temperature of 38 degrees, it was hot, damn hot, but this did not dissuade the crowd, they came in droves many clutching water bottles and hats as recommended. The fantastic people from Good Things took every precaution to keep everyone cool and hydrated with misting tents and water filling points and a lot of additional shade added. But with the weather being the one thing you have no control over, we just embraced it as we did when torrential rains hit for Download earlier in the year. 

With four stages running all day it was hard to get to see every act on the lineup, but I did my best, so sit back and enjoy my overview of our first Good Things Festival. Void of Vision and Northlane were the openers for Stage 1, two terrific Aussie acts to get the party started. They drew in large crowds and got the day off to a great start. Stage 2 saw Stuck Out and Waterparks, which had the younger fans wasting no time to get up front. The colorful Awsten Knight matched his hair to his guitar, purple, of course, leaving the fans thrilled with their 45-minute set. It was time for Stage 3 to get loud with Waax and The Wonder Years leading off the days’ entertainment. Stage 4 had the awesome Ecca Vandal whose set I thoroughly enjoyed. Followed by Boston Manor who had the fans jumping, they were engaging and gained a new fan today, check them out!

A quick look at the punters told you that there were A LOT of Babymetal fans at the festival, eagerly waiting for their idols to breakout on stage 1. One fan adorned in a striking Pokémon jacket that given the heat was probably not a great choice but it was impressive none the less. The Japanese metal trio decked out in black and gold outfits, gave us a heavily choreographed set with blasting double bass drumming tying their sound together.  Whether they are your thing or not the fans loved them and it was terrific to have them debut in Australia at the Good things Festival. Bullet For My Valentine filled the next spot and all I can say is WOW! They could have headlined the show, the fans flocked to see them and I can see why. Professional and tight from start to finish their set was full of everything you wanted to hear and more. Please come back and do a headline show soon, we need more Bullet in our lives.  La Dispute and The Used were next up on Stage 3, both drawing in the crowds, even in the heat of the day they still came out in force, many sunburnt but inebriated enough not to care. Until they wake up today that is!! Many will be nursing hangovers with a mix of sunstroke, but to the majorities credit, they used the water facilities provided and kept hydrated, it was good to see people having a fantastic time but being smart about it. Overall it was an extremely well-behaved crowd and while it was well policed they didn’t really seem to have to do very much, kudos to all in attendance.

Back to Stages 3 and 4 and the outstanding Palaye Royale, giving us 45 minutes of their best, the crowd grew from one song to the next. Definitely one to give a listen, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. Following on from them was our very own Tonight Alive with a wicked set that had fans running to be part of. Audience participation was at a high for the day, following the lovely Jenna McDougall who commanded their attention and got it ten-fold over. What a set of pipes she has, belting out a blistering set with ease.  Time to turn up the amps with Make Them Suffer blasting onto Stage 4. If symphonic death metal is your thing then you would have been going off like a frog in a sock as they tore through a 45-minute set in no time, drawing a large crowd showing they had a large fan base in attendance. Followed by Scarlxrd, this is where I reached for my trusty earplugs, he was loud with a heavy bass line that was a little too much for my maturing ears. But the punters loved him, his intensity was off the scale, add to this DJ Jacky P and together they drew a large following who were happy to get the mosh started. They left nothing in the tank, giving the diehards what they came for, an absolute arse-kicking, definitely one the fans will be talking about.

Good Things was an extremely well-run event, with fantastic signage, clean amenities and plenty of food options. Add to this a Vans photo booth, some time out for a haircut or taking a spell in crowd care, no base was left uncovered. Even some entertainment in the form of a stomach-churning amusement ride. Given the heat and alcohol consumed I thought it would be lucky to get off the ground, but much to my surprise it was running nonstop all day and night. Many happy to brave the odds of keeping their lunch where it belonged. Although with extremely high temperatures the ice cream van made a hasty departure as even he couldn’t stop the frozen delights from melting. People watching was fantastic, and from my shady rest point, I did lots of it. Hair was represented in every colour of the rainbow (green seemed to be a standout), and if tattoos, piercings, and short shorts are your thing you had a little slice of heaven on a plate right there. Some even favouring to just come in their underwear, hopefully, they did apply some sunscreen or it could have made for a restless night’s sleep if ‘sensitive’ bits got burnt. But the fans are what make the festival and to see them turn out spruiking their own personal style is what makes them such a success. Without the fans, they would be nothing so I must applaud them for not giving a shit and just enjoying the festival vibe.

As the heat finally started to drop it was time for the big hitters to start, back at Stage 1 it was All Time Low, again drawing a huge crowd, fans losing their minds during the 1 hour set, but they quickly dispersed to Stage 2 as the Dropkick Murphys tore the punters a new one. What a delight to see this Celtic punk band in the flesh, a first for me but hopefully not the last. I was blown away from start to finish. Such a professional outfit and the dueling vocals of Al Barr and Ken Casey fed off each other perfectly, many dancing jigs and singing along delivering the lyrics with their loudest alcohol-induced voices.  Moving back to Stage 3 it was a packed house as Emmure ripped into the fans, once again having a huge following this metalcore band headed by Frankie Palmeri left the fans wanting more and hopefully a return tour in the near future. Dashboard Confessional filled the next slot and although they had a few technical issues they pushed on and gave the fans a 60-minute set which closed out stage 3 for the night. A worthy finishing band that drew in many for the occasion. Mayday Parade headed up Stage 4 and didn’t the youngsters love them, girls swooning, screaming, even crying at seeing their pin-up band live in the flesh. The crowd was huge and given the age of the punters at Dropkick Murphys being more my demographic it soon became apparent where all the youth of the day had disappeared to. The Smith Street Band were the closers and they didn’t disappoint. It has been a massive year for them with sell-out tours across Australia and the fans spoke with their feet, flooding in to see one of their favorites up close.

It is now all down to the final two of the evening and boy were they big ones, Stage 2 and Stone Sour. Does anyone really compare to Corey Taylor? absolutely not, he is the ultimate in frontmen and had the crowd pumped from the minute he set foot on the stage. Demanding their attention and holding it for the hour-long set. Opening with Taipei Person/Allah Tea the set went from strength to strength the punters singing their hearts out, Corey frequently tossing bottles of water into the crowd, a nice little memento for a steady hand to catch. Also blasting us with a confetti gun, the revelers loving the extra touches. Bother was a standout, fans taking over the vocals in unison, giving me chills from start to finish. Song 3 saw the wanna-be fans pipe up, happy to sing along to a familiar one, here’s hoping they knew a few more by the end of the set. Complete with pyro and one of THE best bands of the day Stone Sour were my stand out of the festival, they NEVER disappoint and love him or hate him Corey ‘Fucking’ Taylor is the ducks’ guts of music men and I can’t get enough of him. His charisma and stage presence were unwavering, and if you are yet to see Corey Taylor live, do yourself a favour and get along to a show. As they finished out their set a small mosh pit piped up as Fabuless rang out, a ripping song to finish out a kick arse set, complete with colourful inflatable air dancers waving in approval.  Whether it is Slipknot or Stone Sour please don’t leave it too long between drinks before you grace our shores again, we will be ready and waiting.

The day was hot and long but with only one band left the whole crowd congregated to Stage 1 and made the most of the last 90 minutes. It has been 24 years since the release of Smash, the album that put The Offspring on the map and we were lucky enough to get it live and in full. They literally ‘smashed’ through the album to massive applause, Noodles was in fine form cheekily chatting between songs and enjoying every minute. Tony Kanal of No Doubt fame filled in on bass duties and did an outstanding job. The voice of the whole outfit Dexter Holland not looking like he had aged a day, still ripping out the songs with gusto. Pete Parada kept everyone in time while wickedly hitting the skins. Of course, Come Out and Play and Self Esteem were loudly received everyone singing along not wanting it to end, and with Smash being wrapped up in 45 minutes it left them just a little time to come back with a few additional hits for our listening pleasure. You’re Gonna Go Far Kid, All I Want and Why Don’t You Get A Job? filling the first three slots much to out delight. A cover of Whole Lotta Rosie followed by Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and The Kids Aren’t Alright saw out the set to deafening applause.

What a sensational conclusion to a most wonderful day of live music, while we may have lost our festival spirit for a short while, I feel it is back in force and the fans voted with their hip pocket turning out in the thousands to enjoy the day. While it is named the “Good Things” festival it was much more than good, it was exceptional and if Melbourne was any indication it will be here to stay for a long while yet. I for one will be back next year, and while I may not be sporting the short shorts or coloured hair I will fly the flag for the over 40’s with pride and show the youngsters just how it is done!

Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale

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