Perks of being a Queenslander are plentiful. But none more so than the added advantage of the multitude of epic sideshows that we’re getting because of Download Festivals Aussie debut. Tonight sees us descend upon Riverstage for what is a punk kids wet dream. NO-fucking-FX.
As the gates open,we are treated to the aussie super group, the one and only Dad Religion. A cover band that completely blows everyone away wherever they play, DR deliver the brilliance of well known punk tunes in their own manner. Simply brilliant.
Female dominant Bad Cop/Bad Cop continue to whip the crowd to a frenzy. Their style is reminiscent of Tilt and Operation Ivy. Kicking arse throughout their set, these girls do not disappoint. Even with some minor feedback issues, they power through and deliver an absolutely magnificent performance. I’d definitely be keen on seeing them headline their own show.
Hot Water Music haven't been here for 10 long years, so they're more than ready to smash the absolute hell out of Brisbane. This four piece has a massive sound, guitar work being delivered in spades. Raw, grating vocals from dual front men gives the crowd exactly what they need to get every bit of their bodies moving and tenderized sufficiently for the upcoming NOFX onslaught.
The feverish chants of 'NOFX! NOFX!’ are certainly heard from miles away and when they take the stage, it's nothing but thunderous cheers. The mood for the night is set perfectly as front man Fat Mike does the 'Mime Warp' as they dont have the backing track to accompany his flawless dance moves. Tearing full tilt into ‘Dinosaurs Will Die’, it's easy to see that this is going to be a night of pure 90’s punk bliss.
Grinding through a set list of epic proportions, including a great little sing along of 'Linoleum’, it's hard to believe that they got in almost an hour of practice before gracing the massive venue that is Riverstage. The instrumentals are flawless and Mike’s voice hasn’t lost one bit of its character throughout their illustrious career. As Eric Melvin bounces around the stage with dreadlocks flying everywhere, he lets loose every chord with precision and style, giving the crowd exactly what they want to hear. El Hefe is a man of many talents, taking up both trumpet and trombone duties throughout the set. The guy just never stops.
Smelly is completely and utterly on point tonight. To be in the same venue and watch him deliver his signature percussive work is nothing short of amazing. Being the reason i picked up a set of sticks all those years ago, it's fantastic to witness his work at such a great vantage point. Fat Mike delivers blow after blow of comedic gold all while keeping every bit of professionalism about him, playfully ribbing security and educating the younger punters to the joy of a 'Chilli Dog’. He knows people want as many songs as possible and he intends to oblige the request.
Even with massive downpours of rain, the weather only further makes for a memorable night. Riverstage fast becomes the home to the NOFX Slip-N-Slide, with many revellers leaving drenched and muddy. While there is sure to be some sore heads in the morning, the memories will live on until we next get a visit from the fathers of 90’s punk.