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Orianthi – New Album, Rock Candy, Out October 14. New Single, Light It Up, Out Now

Platinum-selling recording artist and world class guitarist, Orianthi has announced the upcoming release of her new studio album, “Rock Candy” on October 14, 2022.

The release follows 2020’s studio album, “O”, which, at the time, was her first new studio album in seven years and her first new music as a solo artist in six years. Sonically, “Rock Candy” is a hard rockin’, blues tinged, display of Orianthi’s dazzling guitar playing and her soulful vocals.

Check out the videos for the album’s first single, ‘Light It Up’

Watch the music videoOrianthi’s first major solo artist success, as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, was with the Geffen Records release of “According To You,” which is now RIAA-Certified Platinum® and has over 29 million streams on Spotify. Her music’s ability to transcend time and remain relevant cannot be more clear than its recent resurgence on TikTok. There are over 110 million views on the “According to You” hashtag making it a viral trend that is introducing Gen Z to Orianthi for the first time in a big way. Career-long fans are used to seeing their favorite world-class guitarist playing arenas with rock royalty and global superstars like Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Carrie Underwood, Alice Cooper, and more. The juxtaposition of her newly arrived online popularity and her lifelong pursuit of artistic credibility shows the transcendence of this shining star.

 Joining Orianthi on this release is the multi-talented Jacob Bunton, who produced the album. Additionally, he provides guitar, bass, keyboard, piano, and violin playing through the course of the album. Jacon Bunton is known in the rock world for his work with Steven Adler, amongst others, but he is an Emmy Award-winning composer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist whose credits include Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, Smokey Robinson, Akon, Pop Evil, and many more. Drummer Kyle Cunningham rounds out the line-up for “Rock Candy”.

“Rock Candy” Tracklisting:
1. Illuminate (Part I)
2. Light It Up
3. Fire Together
4. Where Did Your Heart Go
5. Red Light
6. Void
7. Burning
8. Living Is Like Dying Without You
9. Witches & The Devil
10. Getting To Me
11. Illuminate (Part Ii)

Orianthi – Vocals, Guitars
Jacob Bunton – Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Violin, Backing Vocals
Kyle Cunningham – Drums

Pre-order/save “Rock Candy” on CD/Colour LP/Digital HERE:

Follow Orianthi 

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Web | TikTok

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[Review] Hilltop Hoods @ Brisbane Entertainment Center, Brisbane 27/08/2022

Over a ‘Great Expanse’ of 20 plus years, I would have seen the Hilltop Hoods perform live six or seven times now. While, yes, the sets and crowds continue to get bigger, and the pyrotechnics, lighting and venues continue to improve, what hasn’t changed – and what I suspect is the real reason thousands flock year after year to see the Hoods – is the energy the famous trio bring to every city they visit. Enamoured by fans young and old, Suffa, Pressure and DJ Debris blessed a sold out crowd in Brisbane on Saturday night. Here’s just one Brissie girl’s recollection of her time in ‘The Nosebleed Section’.

An X-ecutioners fan from way back, I was disappointed to not quite get to see all of DJ Eclipse’s set. Fortunately, Brisbanites can catch the Brooklyn born turned Aussie local fairly regularly. It’s obvious why Eclipse continues to receive accolades for his blending, scratching, and beat juggling. Having been in the business; the ‘Show Business’; for nearly three decades now, and having even being credited with helping to pioneer turntablism, Eclipse still knows how to hypnotise an audience. Previously, he’s explained the benefits of playing to an Australian crowd: a crowd noticeably more open to showing their excitement than those in the Big Apple. He takes us on a journey. His own journey emanates from every set performed – there’s no mistaking the sounds of the New York scene in the late 90’s, a time referred to as the Golden Era of Hip Hop for a reason. How appropriate then that the revered DJ is now signed to the Hoods label entitled, Golden Era Records. Fortunately for me, this also means Eclipse returns to the stage for A B Original’s set.

Until then though, crowds are treated to an all-too short set by young Kenyan powerhouse Elsy Wameyo. Like the Hoods, this talented vocalist grew up in Adelaide and though relatively new to the scene, it’s obvious she won’t be an ‘Outcast’ for long. Her flow is flawless, fast paced and frenetic. Her professionalism and range allow seamless switches between soulful ballads like Daily and festival-bound bangers like the River Nile. Come the third song, Promise, Elsy entices the Brisbane audience, initially hesitant to get involved, to sing along. Though just four of her usual 7-piece band join her this time, they too are exceptional. If you are yet to listen to Elsy, make it a priority. I genuinely can’t help but move when her beats drop.

When aptly named A B Original (say that quickly now) hit the stage, the energy continues. Unapologetically political, Briggs and Trials continue their mission of presenting young Indigenous Australians with a vision and a sound of what’s possible. Previously they’ve reflected on not having local Indigenous rappers to look up to as children. Like Elsy before them, they are initially – and visibly – disappointed with the audience replies, but soon get us joining into their passionate set which includes King Billy CokeBottle, 2 Black 2 strong, Black Balls and their version of Paul Kelly’s Dumb Things among others. Joined by a pianist, DJ Eclipse, guest vocalist for January 26 and the equally powerful and multi-talented Mo’Ju, A B perform passionately. They suitably warm the audience up for what is sure to be a killa night ahead.

At about this time, my friend and I start taking bets on whether the floor-to-ceiling maroon velvet curtain hiding the ‘real’ stage will drop or rise when the Hoods come on. It drops…revealing a 5 metre-high, platform for Debris constructed upon a massive HTH fluro-illuminated emblem. Perhaps the Hoods need to get better at keeping secrets though – ha ha – fans like me had already seen the set when they’d posted it on social media earlier that day. Hey, it’s understandable – as was Debris’ obvious excitement during footage of him first seeing his coveted office-space for the night. Who says working from home is the best?!?

And so, the stage alights – literally with fire -and Suffa and Pressure start their marathon performance with Leave me Lonely, running to and fro, jumping non-stop and leaving no doubt that these veterans can still cut it. In May I had the privilege of sitting down with Suffa Mc (see that whole interview here). During our chat he was telling me how earlier that day his personal trainer had nearly broken him – you can see why that’s necessary – neither him nor Pressure stop to take a breath for most of the 90plus minute set, a set they’re next taking to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide. Though an older fan like me would have liked more from the first two albums, their inclusion of Chase that Feeling made me very happy, and reminiscent. It’s also during this song that I first realise just how far out into the crowd the rappers can come.. and they do so often. Indeed, making their crowds feel welcome and involved is clearly a mission of the trios. Favourites Nosebleed Section and 1955 come next, the latter of which sees guest vocalist, Nyassa, join the stage. She wears what has come to be her signature look including headband, and a boxy jumpsuit with shoulder pads that would impress even the 1980’s. Her mic seems quite quiet at first but this is later rectified. Like time travellers we’re suddenly thrown back to the present, with not one but two new songs busted out: first Show Business – normally featuring Eamon and the song that gave the tour its title and then Whole Nights Day, the tune that got ‘the 1955 band back together’.

By now I’m predicting a few slower tracks – surely these two are going to pass out at any minute…. but I’m wrong. They pick up the pace once again and get everyone back on their feet for I Love It. This track is hot, and not just because the flame throwers have come alive again. Suffa and Pressure alike are sweating. So are we but in the best way possible. Ok, so I was one song off. The pace does slow briefly for Let You Down. Clark Griswald follows – but where are those grey wigs, plaid vests and Chinos fellas? Nearly didn’t recognise ya!

Despite being a diehard fan, there are a few songs, typically those with guest vocalists, that I haven’t always appreciated as much as I should have. Songs that just ‘bang’ with so much more ‘buck’ when live. This is true of Exit Sign I think. It’s so much fun. Live and Let Go follows with the crowd singing along in the absence of Maverick Sabre and Brother Ali. It is at this point, during Through the Dark that the Hoods, and Pressure specifically, remind us of just how far they’ve all come, just how versatile they are … and how blessed. Written hospital bedside in 2014 while his son battled Leukaemia, Pressure explains this was one of the hardest songs to ever write. Thankfully, this prayer “to Hip Hop Almighty” was answered and post a full recovery, his son’s battle has inspired a collaboration with CanTeen offering young cancer patients Side of Stage perks. If you’ve never looked at the lyrics for Higher – the set’s next track- go check them out. With almost as many cultural references as an all-time fav of mine, Fifty-in-five, such writing reminds us that the Hoods are indeed dope lyricists, poets even, not just Emcees with flows for days. At this point, Nyassa leaves the stage. Though clearly a talented vocalist, the Hoods ever the professionals, are generous to a fault and gracious, even giving her literal centre stage for the entire time she joins them. Perhaps Suffa and Pressure instead envied Debris birds’ eye view – both joining him at different parts of the set. Counterweight channels eerie Radiohead vibes to start but also lets the drummer and the horns section show off their skills. This is a great example of a tune that should shut down any haters who might dismiss Hip Hop as lacking melody. Indeed, the Hoods don’t just “write rhymes” but have consistently pushed the boundaries of the genre – highlighted best perhaps by their ongoing collaborations with symphony orchestras both on stage and in the studio.

And just like that “they came and they conquered”… well not quite. I sometimes get annoyed at Brisbane crowds – often their demand for encores are not what they should be! But, true to form, the Hoods treat us to not one but two extra songs: Rattling the Keys to the Kingdom and, as predicted, Cosby Sweater. All supports are welcomed back on stage too and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre really lights up. “And it’s all good. And it’s all good. And it’s all good”.

Suffa, Pressure, Debris you continue to amaze. You continue to educate but “it would take a nation of millions to stop” me requesting that you play your millions of fans more of The Calling, The Hard Road and State of The Art next time. Cos, like you, “we’re still standing and we’ll be back again.”

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Enter Shikari Share Video For New Single ‘The Void Stares Back’ Feat. Wargasm.

Fresh from dominating the main stages at Reading & Leeds festivals over the weekend, Enter Shikari are today sharing the video for their latest single, The Void Stares Back feat. Wargasm. The song became the subject of much conversation over the weekend as the band brought Wargasm themselves out on stage with them for a first live airing.

Lead vocalist / producer Rou Reynolds previously described the song as being about “the forward march of social progress” and today the stunning official visual for the song is unveiled, directed by Elliot Gonzo.

Enter Shikari are also announcing that they will headline the 2023 edition of Slam Dunk Festival. Reynolds comments on the booking: “I’ve been intoxicated by the idea of headlining Slam Dunk again ever since our Take To The Skies celebration headline set back in 2017. It’s such a great festival, always nails its bills, and has the added bonus that us lads can actually cycle to the Southern date, being that Hatfield is a neighbouring town to us!
In fact, essentially, this will be our biggest “hometown” show ever, now that the festival has grown even more. I cannot wait. In fact, I will not wait. I demand we play this tomorrow!
I think playing outdoors is my favourite thing to do in life. Just being able to look up and see the sky, with the expanse of people underneath it, all sharing the same emotions and experience, it’s just such a raw, beautiful, and reifying thing.
Slam Dunk is a festival I try to attend every year regardless of whether we’re playing it. I love both the sites, and it’s always full of mates and has such a convivial vibe. (That’s my word of the week).
We’re already thinking about stage production ideas, we’re going to do everything we can to make this our biggest show yet.”

Enter Shikari will also return to Australia in November for their national headline tour with special guests Creeper and Windwaker.

A SO Recordings, 30 Century Management & X-Ray Representation,
In Association With Destroy All Lines Presents




Tickets on sale NOW

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AURORA Announces THE GODS WE CAN TOUCH Australian Tour 2023

Secret Sounds is thrilled to announce that powerful Norwegian alternative pop songstress AURORA is returning to Australia, bringing her powerful live performance to stunning venues across the East Coast including Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall, Sydney Opera House and Palais Theatre, Melbourne throughout March 2023. The highly anticipated dates will see the enchanting artist grace Australian stages with a host of new songs from her critically acclaimed 2022 album, The Gods We Can Touch.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2015 with her debut EP, Running With The Wolves, AURORA has amassed over 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify, an incredible 2.6 billion overall streams and 1 million+ global album sales. This all started near Bergen, Norway where Aurora Aksnes grew up surrounded by forests and mountains, she was just six years old when she first felt the compulsion to sit alone and create. By the time she was twelve she had written ‘Runaway’, a song that would later receive a full release and would inspire a twelve year old Billie Eilish to make her own music. The song catapulted into the Top 40 Singles Chart in the UK for the first time in 2021, six years after its release and fourteen years after it was first penned, it also peaked in the Spotify Global Top 20 thanks to an unexpected TikTok trend that saw the track reach a whole new global audience, clocking up 300 million views a day.
A triple threat, AURORA is renowned for her talents as a singer, songwriter and producer. From performing her contribution to Frozen 2’s pivotal track ‘Into The Unknown’ at the 2020 Oscars, playing Coachella and Lollapalooza to appearing all across US talk shows and featuring on millions of TikToks, AURORA has a diverse legion of fans that admire her multifaceted artistry including peers Troye Sivan, Doja Cat, Katy Perry, Shawn Mendes and the aforementioned Billie Eilish.
Having grown up surrounded by nature, AURORA’s first three albums focused on issues like global capitalism, the environmental crisis and what it means to be human amid it all. She has worked with the UN’s CHOOSE programme to lessen her environmental footprint, converting the amount of harmful gases she uses as a touring artist into electricity in Thailand. Through her stark, angular pop AURORA has debated with herself and urged fans to stand up for themselves and each other, while giving us mantras to chant like “you cannot eat money”. Her most recent record The Gods We Can Touch turns that piercing gaze inward, sharing her inner self for the first time.
Released in January 2022, The Gods We Can Touch saw AURORA score her first UK Top 10, landing at #8 on the Official UK Album Chart. Inspired by Greek mythology, the euphoric record was the third most streamed new album in the world on Spotify the weekend of its release. The Gods We Can Touch finds AURORA reunited with long term producer Magnus Skylstad, and a carefully-curated cast of collaborators: guitarist Fredrik Svabø, Askjell Solstrand on piano, French singer songwriter Pomme and renowned bandoneon player Per Arne Glorvigen. It sounds like an album that was made in a castle, and that’s because it was. AURORA chose to record much of the record in Barony Rosendal, a structure surrounded by mountains, resulting in a body of work that is elegant but provocative as it explores the concepts of shame, desire and morality.
Single from the record, ‘The Woman I Am’ garnered great success on the airwaves in the UK. It was included as BBC’s Radio 1’s coveted Hottest Record, Tune Of The Week and AURORA’s Piano Sessions, where she covered Harry Styles’ ‘Golden’ and performed her own track ‘A Temporary High’, became the most viewed of the past year in just one week. The song also picked up countless plays on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2. AURORA followed this with sensual track ‘The Devil Is Human’, previously only available on the vinyl version of The Gods We Can Touch. Her most recent single, the dreamy and heartfelt ‘A Potion For Love’ was released in July 2022.
AURORA headlined Norway’s Øya Festival in August 2022, alongside Florence + The Machine, Gorillaz and more; she stunned a crowd of 20,000 people as she joined the star studded lineup of London’s BST Hyde Park in July and has been dominating stages across the US on her headline tour. April saw AURORA complete a sold out Spring UK tour where she played a packed 02 Brixton Academy in front of over 5,000 adoring fans. Not long after this she won a highly-regarded Spellemann Award (Norway’s version of the GRAMMYs) for International Success Of The Year. No doubt she will be ready to stun with her ethereal stage presence when she graces Australian shores in 2023.

Tickets to AURORA’s headline shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will go on sale from 9am local Tuesday 30 August. Fans can sign up to presale access here.AURORA The Gods We Can Touch – Australian Tour
Sunday 5 March 2023 – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
Tuesday 7 March 2023 – Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Thursday 9 March 2023 – Palais Theatre, Melbourne

Presale available from 9am local Monday 29 August
Tickets on sale to the general public at 9am local Tuesday 30 August

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JULIA JACKLIN Announces ‘PRE PLEASURE’ East Coast Headline Shows – FEB 2023

With her highly anticipated third studio album, PRE PLEASURE, released this Friday, Frontier Touring and Penny Drop are delighted to announce acclaimed singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin will perform three special headline theatre shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in February 2023.

Currently on tour in the US – part of a comprehensive US, UK and Europe trek which will see her performing in her biggest venues to date, including London’s Roundhouse and Brooklyn Steel in New York – Jacklin today also revealed another slice of her upcoming longplayer, with new track ‘Be Careful With Yourself’ out now.

A loose jam, ‘Be Careful With Yourself’ equates true love with the fear of losing it. It reinforces the album’s throughline – Julia Jacklin at her most authentic; an uncompromising and masterful lyricist, always willing to mine the depths of her own life experience, and singular in translating it into deeply personal, timeless songs.

The February tour dates will be Jacklin’s first Australian shows with her full band since 2020. Get early access to tickets via the Frontier Pre-sale, which starts Thursday 25 August (1pm local time – see website for details). General Public tickets go on sale Monday 29 August (1pm local time) via frontiertouring.com/juliajacklin.

New album PRE PLEASURE, released by Liberation Records, is a masterclass in songwriting, cementing her status as one of the most important Australian talents of our time. Fans’ first taste of PRE PLEASURE came in the form of lead single ‘Lydia Wears A Cross’ (which the singer described as being “about a lot of things but mainly being a seven-year-old Jesus Christ Superstar fanatic attending Catholic school trying to figure out which way is up”), followed up by songs ‘I Was Neon’ and ‘Love, Try Not To Go’.

Jacklin recorded the 10-track PRE PLEASURE in Montreal, Canada, alongside producer Marcus Paquin (The National, The Weather Station), with collaborator Owen Pallett on string arrangements, which were recorded by an orchestra in Prague.

With over 200 million streams to her name to date, ever since the arrival of 2016 debut Don’t Let the Kids Win and 2018’s ARIA-nominated follow-up Crushing, the Melbourne-via-Blue Mountains singer-songwriter has carved out a reputation as a direct lyricist, wiling to excavate the parameters of intimacy and agency in songs by stark and raw, loose and playful. Earning accolades from Pitchfork, Uncut, the New York Times, i-D, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, NPR, BBC1, BBC 6, Sirius XMU global, Jacklin’s exquisite narratives and singular vision make her an artist not to be missed.

‘A masterclass in narrative songwriting’ – ★★★★★ The Independent
‘Julia Jacklin’s Crushing is exquisite’ – Pitchfork ​
‘The result is a profound statement…this year’s strongest singer-songwriter breakthrough’ – Rolling Stone

Don’t miss Julia Jacklin, live on stage in February 2023 – tickets on sale Monday 29 August.

Presented by Frontier Touring, Penny Drop and triple j

Via frontiertouring.com/juliajacklin
Runs 24 hours from: Thursday 25 August (10am local time) ​
or until pre-sale allocation exhausted

Via pennydrop.com.au
Runs 24 hours from: Thursday 25 August (10am local time) ​
or until pre-sale allocation exhausted

Begins: Monday 29 August (10am local time)

Saturday 25 February
​Enmore Theatre | Sydney, NSW
Licensed / All Ages
Ticketek.com.au | 132 849

Sunday 26 February
​Tivoli Theatre | Brisbane, QLD
Ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100

Tuesday 28 February
​Forum Theatre | Melbourne, VIC
Ticketek.com.au | 132 849

Out Friday 26 August through Liberation Records
​Pre-order available here

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[Review] MONOLITH FESTIVAL @ Bella Vista Farm, NSW 20/08/2022

The inaugural Monolith Festival kicked off in Brisbane last weekend to a fantastic crowd. The all Aussie lineup is helping us warm up to festivals and live shows becoming a more regular occurrence, once again.
7 bands, 1 stage, NO clashes! 

The morning’s weather is less than ideal, a grumpy sky and some rain make any punter nervous about the day ahead in an open field in Sydney’s west. As the clock edges closer to the gates opening, the skies open to a beautiful blue, just for us.
Today’s venue, Bella Vista Farm is a large open green ground, with sheep grazing behind a fence, and natures amphitheatre at the foot of a hill, this is where the stage can be found. With only 1 bar, 1 merch tent and a few food trucks it is not regular festival programming today. 

I walk the perimeter on my arrival, making sure I absorb every aspect of the festival set up by the legends over at Destroy All Lines, I get a drink and prop myself on the hill to watch Perth based, experimental prog rock group Yomi Ship, kick off the day.
Yomi Ship are the first of 3 instrumental acts on the Monolith line up. Yomi Ship demonstrates to audience members that although vocals give a band more depth, they are not always required. As we observe and take in Yomi Ship’s ripping riffage and melodies as they perform songs like Seamonkey, Ice Drake, and S.H.A.M.A.N. as we appreciate the level of musicianship. 

The day is under way and with less than 30-minute change over intervals, we are treated to another healthy dose of live music with Reliqa. Their energy was infectious and thank goodness as the dampness of the ground had made everyone quite uncomfortable, we are on our feet! Sydney-based rockers came out with guns blazing. Front woman, Monique Pym’s energy does not come down once. There are many headbangers in the crowd, including one blue Power Ranger! With Mr Magic and The Halfway Point, Reliqa encourages punters to hustle closer to the barrier. Every song after this, including Safety, which was only released last week, is said to be a brand-new tune. 

The enigmatic and hefty introduction to Tundra introduced Sydney’s Sleepmakeswaves, an instrumental rock band with members Otto Wicks-Green on guitar, Lachlan Marks on guitar, Tim Adderley on drums, and Alex Wilson on bass, keys, and electronics. Sleepmakeswaves‘ heavy and layered sounds were pushed out into the crowd in melodic and energising waves, bringing skilful professional riffage! They played a well-balanced show, with tremendous energy and seamless transitions between songs. The air was painted with melodic and intricate works of art by the songs The Stars are Stigmata, Traced in Constellations, Great Northern, and Something Like Avalanches. Sleepmakeswaves left its impression on audiences with long-time fans happy and plenty of new fans excited to hear their most recent song, Pyramids, a gorgeous heavy piece. As they approach the microphones, used only to speak with the crowd, they are humble and appreciative of all in attendance. 

Plini is up next, rounding out the instrumental acts of the day. I have known about their music for some time now and their reputation for being astounding musicians. We audience members are being intoxicated by Plini songs like I’ll Tell You Someday, Every Piece Matters, and I cannot forget the fan favourite Electric Sunrise as their immaculate arrangements pulse and soar off the stage. They bring a different energy to the other 2 instrumental bands, and really stand out. 

The sun begins to descend behind the hill as the Ocean Grove backdrop is raised. Being the band, I most looked forward today, I leave the height of the hill and enter the pit for the madness about to ensue. From the moment they burst on stage with Superstar the energy of the day is lifted, and atmosphere altered as the crowd bellows in excitement.
OG stand out on this line up, as their flavour of nu-metal/rock/punk/oddworld is quite different from the other acts. Although I commend the organisers for throwing this incredible wildcard.
Front man Dale Tanner’s energy is endless, as soon as I see him wearing dark blue coveralls, I know we are in a world of trouble and there is a big performance coming. (Fever 333 fans will understand!) A packed set of hits including Junkie$ and Sex Dope Gold are thrown our way, opening the moshpit instantly. Bass player Twiggy Hunter was recently released from hospital although it did not hinder his performance, with a beaming smile from start to finish he lends backing vocals to many songs while holding down the bass with a style like no other. We are so glad he is on the mend!
Drummer Sam Bassal treats us to a fantastic solo on the song, Guys from the Gord, as we are swept into Thousand Golden People. It is an interesting song with a hard-hitting intro, some borderline rapping from Dale progressing into a huge chorus for the crowd to join in on.

Before they hit the stage someone asked me what genre Ocean Grove are, I simply replied ‘yes’.

The only criticism I would have of their performance would be the lighting. It is back lit so extreme that I can only see Dale’s face when he is close to the drum riser, otherwise he is but a shadow on the stage. For a performer who is constantly moving and bonding with the crowd, it was a shame to not see more facial expressions and connect with the enigmatic front man especially being on the barrier.
Ocean Grove performed a tremendous show that will be hard to top, bringing psychedelic vibes with Ask for the Anthem and their collaboration track with Brisbane rockers Dune Rats, Bored. Concluding with their legendary song Sunny, which I am singing at the top of my lungs. Go ahead and put that song on now and tell me you do not want to scream the chorus.
The unconventional and funky flavours and electrifying energy of Ocean Grove made a lasting effect on attendees of the Monolith Festival. The sun was still in the sky as Ocean Grove took to the stage, as I turn around, we are covered in darkness. I leave the pit out of breath, elated and beyond happy. 

The crowd has amassed monumentally, ready for the two big acts to close out the day. It did not feel like all that long before Cog are before us. Fans begin to sway and fill the front of the stage as Bitter Pills begins with its lengthy and mysterious opening. 

COG‘s set, which is shaping up to be an excellent blend of their very early bangers that have stood the test of time and later material the crowd has fallen in love with, is best described as melodic, heavy, and intricate. We get to sing along to Anarchy Ok and What If, after the ferocious nature of Ocean Groves set the energy is lower and the songs longer as they create an ambient atmosphere.
The Middle and Open Up, two more recent songs, seamlessly blended into the nostalgic setlist. Bassist Luke Gower and vocalist/guitarist Flynn Gower bounce off each other, seeming extremely happy to be on stage together once more. The sense of comradery is extremely evident up there tonight. I am incredibly impressed by their ability to play almost identical to the recorded version.

Closing out the set with favourite Bird of Feather we are all singing in unison. For a track that was released in 2008, it seems the whole venue know it word for word as friends and strangers are arm in arm singing at the top of their lungs. This track transports me back to high school and I could not be happier to be here today with my best friend, as we dance around and adore every moment. 

As Karnivool‘s performance time drew near, a sheer black curtain went up, not blocking the view of much at all. The instrumental for Fear of the Sky began to play, lights and shadowy figures began to appear. As the stronger beats slowed down, the curtain fell, revealing Karnivool in a haze of light. The audience went wild! 

It’s no surprise most of the punters are here for Karnivool. Spotting Karnivool shirts at the train station, bus stop and more and more at the festival as merchandise is purchased. Fans are utterly devouring Goliath, Animation, Set Fire To The Hive as they swing their arms, dance, and headbang in the pit.
Ian Kenny’s vocals are astounding. If you have listened to but 1 Karnivool track and attempted to sing along, you quickly realise how difficult those songs are. Add on a festival appearance, cool wind snapping at your face and a smoke machine filling the stage every few minutes, Kenny keeps his top-tier vocals throughout the performance.
Simple Boy is an example of his remarkable vocals, as the crowd help, singing it as loud as they can. 

Kenny praises the superiority of Australian music. We all yell in unison. Who would have thought COVID lockouts would ever occur, and now that Karnivool is entertaining us as they have never left the stage? The drums of Steve Judd are strong and beat throughout the farm, he is hitting those skins so hard I question if he will need a change out midway through!
Roquefort and Themata from 2005’s album of the same name, Themata, are very evident crowd favourites. As a DJ of Sydney heavy clubs, I played/heard Themata every week for my entire 20s and I am brimming with nostalgia. The crowd dances and throws their fists to the sky, smiles across everyone’s faces until they close out their set with New Day. 

Karnivool is not done with us yet. The Aussie legends return to the stage for two more tracks for the hungry crowd who were whipped up into a frenzy more by with All It Takes, one of their more recent and heavy from 2021. With Fade, the great concert came to an end. The crowd went wild, making the most of the evening’s final song.
The audience was content by Karnivool, but they eventually wanted more! A tribute to the renowned Australian progressive rock group. 

The first Monolith Festival in Sydney went down in history for many as the black-clad crowd, many in Karnivool shirts by now, exit the green pastures of Bella Vista Farm. Without a doubt, the day was a huge success, each and every band put on outstanding performances that captured the attention and hearts of all.  

The size of the festival was spot on, no clashes meant every act got the attention they deserved and a moment to shine. A free shuttle bus was parked outside the venue to transport the droves home or to the pub safely, to no doubt, recall stories of the day well into the night and year.
Here’s hoping Monolith becomes a festival staple. 

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