Leading up to this third instalment of the Froth and Fury Festival, I was certainly getting excited about the day leading up to it. Due to all kinds of circumstances, it hadn’t been since the last touring Soundwave Festival that I had attended a full day festival purely dedicated to music of the heavy variety. Looking at the schedule for the day it was apparent to me that I was going to be very busy getting myself around to all three stages to check out the line-up of local, interstate, and international bands on offer.
Not only was I excited about the line-up, I was also pretty happy with the venue. It’s hard not to love the idea of bringing together the fury of metal music with the frothy goodness of a cold beer, especially at Pirate Life Brewery in Port Adelaide, one of my personal favourites!
Having been to Pirate Life on quite a few occasions, I was very interested to see how they would have it set up for such a big event. I knew there was a big outdoor area for socialising already but was sure this wouldn’t quite be enough for this event.
Entering the venue in the late morning after opening time, I could see that the usual set up of the brewery was still operational for the general public, with an additional entrance behind for ticket holders to access the live music stages. Not only was the usual Pirate Life bar and shop open (including the regular barbershop parlour), but there was also the addition of a tattoo studio inside for the day’s event!
Once inside the Froth and Fury entrance, it became clear how they would fit everyone in for the day. Not only was there the main brewery area to accommodate, it seemed that all of the adjoining streets were closed off and being utilised to good advantage. Directly behind the main brewery building was the main stage (the Froth Stage). Looking straight ahead down the street I could see the stage that would accommodate the majority of the local bands (the Explosive Stage). Right in the middle, down a side street running parallel with the main stage was the third stage, the Fury Stage! These three stages were all far away enough from each other to allow all three to be running simultaneously without the sound overlapping, yet they were all close enough to make it easy to access all three without long walks between them.
Throughout this set up, there were long, shaded tables for eating, drinking, and socialising, a large merch shed, eateries, and plenty of accessible toilets. It seemed apparent right from the start that this event was very well set up and that I was going to be reviewing the day more as an experience than picking apart the individual performances of the bands in detail.
Not long after arriving, more than one person had described this set up as being like the schützenfest of metal!
As soon as I had surveyed the scene of the event, I attempted to plan my day, using my printed timetable which I used constantly throughout the day to remind myself of where I wanted to be and which band I needed to see. This planning exercise, however, proved to be difficult at times, thanks to the beautiful nature of the metal community. I found that I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without running into somebody I knew who wanted to stop for a chat. I personally love that about this community, it is seriously like one big family and it made this event even more special.
First up for me, was the Froth stage to catch my first Adelaide band for the day, Emergency Rule. Their set was suitably rocking and as they certainly weren’t the heaviest band on the line-up, it seemed like a great way to ease into things. Despite a couple of technical sound issues which were quickly rectified, they had the growing crowd interested and were a great warm up for a long day ahead. From here I headed to the Fury stage for the first time. Here I caught my next local band Descend to Acheron and their much heavier death metal set. For much of the day, it appeared that this stage was the place to be for the heaviest of metal. Although it was barely past morning, it was obvious that the punters were keen for a whole day of hardcore music as the ever-growing crowd were lapping up this wall of sound right from the start. From here, it was back to the Froth stage for me to catch my first international band for the day. New Zealand’s Devilskin hit the stage with a lot of energy and had the crowd worked up in no time at all. Jennie Skulander’s vocals were fantastic as they went from powerful and clean to a growl and back again with ease while guitarist Tony ‘Nail’ Vincent stalked the stage and interacted well with the crowd. As soon as this set was over, it was time for me to rush off to the Explosive Stage for another Adelaide band Chainsaw Preachers. I spoke to members of the band not long before their set and they wondered if their set was not heavy enough for this event. They certainly had nothing to worry about. Their brand of punk n’ roll was well suited to the occasion. There were definitely heavier bands on the line-up but the variety of heavy music that was featured throughout the day was what made it great. There were certainly enough people at this stage enjoying the performance and this did seem to be the stage to feature more of a punk sound that any other throughout the day.
I did somehow manage during this time to grab some lunch and some merch without missing out on too much live music. Thanks to the aforementioned great set up of the show, it was easy enough to get in and out without having to suffer the long queues usually found at music festivals. Worth mentioning also (and huge praise to the organisers) there appeared to be great access to everything that was available on the day for the punters with mobility issues. Accessibility and inclusivity sure looked to be covered.
From here I really had to get organised to catch all the bands I wanted to as there were a few sets overlapping. The rest of my day seemed to be all about sampling all of the great bands in smaller doses than I usually would. Despite wanted to see the entire sets from all of the bands, I actually really enjoy this aspect of festivals in some ways. It certainly makes a twelve-hour day fly by, and I sure don’t get bored for a second! Within this next hour I managed to get to all three stages, seeing more local punk n’ roll from Cull-The Band, local thrash metal from Hidden Intent and some emo-metalcore from Melbourne’s Windwaker. It was fantastic being able to see such different sub-genres of metal so close to each other. Hidden Intent, having not long returned from playing the huge metal Wacken Open-Air Festival in Germany, had the crowd fired up, getting into circle pits and enthusiastically flashing their metal horns to the stage, while Windwaker had their crowd bouncing up and down in a less raucous manner.
Among the next few bands I caught were Sydney’s Red Hook, Melbourne’s Mannequin Death Squad and Germany’s Beyond the Black…all three female-fronted bands with powerful vocals clearly demonstrating that heavy music is not as male-dominated as it once was. All three bands put on an entertaining high-energy show with memorable songs that will stick with you for days. I was especially impressed with how big Mannequin Death Squad’s sound was despite being a two-piece act. It sure sounded bigger than one guitar and drums!
New Zealand’s Alien Weaponry were up shortly after and were one of the highlights of the day. Their thrash metal with lyrics in the native indigenous language, te reo Māori seems to really set them apart from many other bands on the scene. They had the huge crowd enthralled for the duration of their set.
Following them on this stage was the Gold Coast’s Sunk Loto, performing their album Between Birth and Death in its entirety for its 20th anniversary. They were yet another band today performing a high-energy set and they had the crowd singing along to the majority of it. Everything Everywhere was one song in particular that had everybody in full voice.
Since this event was held at Pirate Life Brewery, it only seemed fitting to have two pirate themed bands on the line up. On the Explosive Stage was Adelaide’s Captain Hellfire and the Wretched Brethren while on the Fury stage was Queensland’s Lagerstein. Both bands brought the party atmosphere to their sets and added some light-hearted entertainment to a fairly serious day of metal. Not long after the sun had set, it was time for California’s Suicidal Tendencies to hit the stage. This was one of the bands that I was really looking forward to seeing. They certainly did not disappoint! Right from the start, they were manic on stage! Front-man Mike Muir may be in his 60s now, but he still moves non-stop like he always has, like an angry teenager. The entire band, including Metallica’s (and ex-ST bassist) Robert Trujillo’s teenage son Ty on bass, all spent a lot of the set running the length of the stage, jumping on and off amp cabinets, rarely slowing down to take a breath. When they closed the set with their hit song Institutionalised, Mike Muir jumped into the packed crowd and sang the entire thing as he worked his way throughout the enthusiastic punters before the set was over.
Closing out the show was Brisbane’s The Butterfly Effect on the Froth Stage while Sweden’s The Halo Effect took care of the heavier end of things on the Fury Stage.
I started with the lighter side of things with The Butterfly Effect before I moved over to check out The Halo Effect. My plan was to return to The Butterfly Effect for the remainder of the night but although the band sounded tight and had the crowd singing along and enjoying the show, after Suicidal Tendencies, I needed my night to finish off with something heavier so returned to the Fury Stage to end my night with the melodic death metal on offer. The Halo Effect, despite having a very heavy sound with Mikael Stanne’s vocals being typically angry sounding, the band seemed to be having fun and had the crowd at this stage also in good spirits. It seemed to sum up the day really. Heavy but happy and great fun!
To sum up such a huge outdoor gig…the team from Disruptive Productions who have presented Froth and Fury, describe themselves as ‘three crazy music fans who never really grew up who want to being music to Adelaide. To give young Adelaide bands a chance to play alongside big acts to show promotors that Adelaide is worth the effort!’
This is clearly an event made by people with a massive passion for heavy music who have done a phenomenal job! I get the impression that this event will continue to grow and could truly become a destination gig for heavy music fans all over the world! Regardless of which bands may be on the line-up for future Froth and Fury Festivals, if you love heavy music, I highly recommend attending just for the great experience and for the love of metal!