THE SMITH STREET BAND
MAKE THEM SUFFER
Gallery by Tracie Tee
Gallery by Tracie Tee
Gallery by Tracie Tee
Gallery by Tracie Tee
Gallery by Tracie Tee
Gallery by Tracie Tee
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
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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Gallery by Lynda Buchanan & Tess
Gallery by Lynda Buchanan