Australia’s summer festival scene took a massive blow a few years ago with the dissolution of Soundwave Festival and before that the Big Day Out festival, but lately things have been looking up for punters of the rock, punk and metal genres. You’ve got the Unify Festival growing in strength every year, UK’s epic Download Festival finally made its way to our shores this year and is expanding next year and now, seemingly out of nowhere, newcomer Good Things Festival is set to make its mark on the Australian summer festival scene.
After massively successful events in Melbourne & Sydney this past Friday and Saturday respectively, today is Brisbane’s turn to show the Good Things organisers that they too enjoy a bloody good show. The crowd starts to amass outside the gates, eagerly waiting for them to open and their rockin’ and a-rollin’ day to begin.
Starting proceedings for the festival’s Queensland debut is local Brisbane crew Stateside. Frontwoman Erin Reus bounces from one side of the stage to the other belting out their catchy rock tunes, including an incredible cover of the Twenty One Pilots single Heathens, to a small yet adoring crowd. These guys are clearly having the time of their lives and the energy feeds back to them from the crowd.
Over on stage 4, Melbourne rock queen Ecca Vandal is mashing genres like it’s nobody’s business, taking the crowd on an aural adventure through her eclectic mix of musical stylings and influences. Her range is incredible, going from what could be described as Katy Perry singing on a rock track to Young & Restless-esque ferocity all played with enough energy to power a small town.
Next up on the main stages is Melbourne hardcore crew Void Of Vision who bring an unrelenting, potent blend of the genre to a bustling crowd, half of which seem to be stuck in the monster queue for the merch tent. Frontman Jack Bergin spits venom through new single Kill All My Friends and calls for both sides of the crowd to form circle pits for a monster rendition of their tune Spite, which the fans are more than happy to oblige in.
Onto stage 3, where Brisbane darlings Waax are showing their hometown just why they’re quickly becoming a household name. With an endearingly awkward stage presence, singer Maria DeVita leads her musical comrades through some of the bounciest tunes of the day so far and has the greater majority of the crowd on their feet dancing. As a special tribute to fill-in drummer Michael Richards, they throw in a solid cover of Violent Soho’s In The Aisle, much to the fans delight.
Back at the mainstages, US pop-punk heroes Waterparks are stirring up a dance party of their own with their fun stage presence and infectious energy before Northlane rip stage 1 a new one with their explosive stage show. Literally. It’s fire cannons galore as Marcus Bridge and co. tear through Genesis from 2013’s Singularity album and the crowd is jumping and moving from the word go. The level that these guys play at is incredible, from the solid bass lines of new addition Brendon Padjasek to the finger-tapping glory of lead guitarist Jon Deiley, it’s easy to see why these boys have made a name for themselves on the international stage. New single Vultures leaves the massive crowd breathless and as they proceed to close out the set with Quantum Flux, the Melbourne metalcore lords unleash a storm of purple confetti before leaving the stage on their final show of 2018.
Another team of American pop-punks, The Wonder Years, takes to stage 3 and waste no time launching into the title track from this years Sister Cities release. Their triple guitar assault makes them sound absolutely huge and in terms of pop-punk, they definitely play on the sharper edge of the knife. After delivering a short speech on how hard it is to be away from home and missing important events such as funerals, the band unleash There, There followed by crowd favourite Passing Through A Screen Door.
Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, La Dispute enter stage 2 and begin to produce some of the most passionately performed music of the day. From opener Harder Harmonies, which sees frontman Jordan Dreyer leaping into the crowd within the first two minutes, through to closer Such Small Hands, these post-hardcore vets never let up the intensity. They tell a tale of their first shows in Brisbane and reminisce on how it’s always “sort of been home in this country”. It’s just unfortunate they don’t play here more often.
Perth metalheads Make Them Suffer are next up on stage 4 and boy what a crowd they have drawn! Singer Sean Harmanis’ visceral vocal delivery is juxtaposed beautifully by keyboardist Booka Nile’s impressive clean vocal range and this coupled with the technical proficiency of guitarist Nick McLernon and bassist Jaya Jeffrey makes for a show and half as they play through tracks from last years Worlds Apart album, their smashing Old Souls release and one choice cut Widower from their 2012 debut Neverbloom.
The crowd at stage 1 is rife with anticipation for the arrival and Brisbane stage debut of Japanese metal-pixies Baby Metal. From the minute Megitsune kicks off the set the crowd is jumping. And what a crowd it is, almost filling the entire left side of the arena, whether it’s devote fans or curious onlookers, everyone gets given an amazing show but my god, all I can think is “it must be damn hot in those outfits!” The choreography is incredible to watch but if you close your eyes for juts a moment it’s like your listening to the soundtrack of the craziest anime you’ve ever seen in your life! Su-Metal’s vocals are impeccable and, despite the language barrier, awe-inspiring while her and remaining member Moa-Metal are clearly living in a world of fun.
Next on stage 3 is Canada’s very own Palaye Royale. Frontman Remington Leith leads his merry band through a bevvy of tunes that go from sounding like surf-rock and then descend into a barrage of hard-rock riffs and impassioned vocals. If there were one word to describe these guys on stage, it would be energetic. It’s a short but sweet set ending with Leith scaling the lighting rig and swinging out above the crowd before returning safely to the ground to see themselves off.
Meanwhile, on stage 2, pop punk veterans The Used are whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Opening strong with some of their heavier hitting tunes like Take It Away, The Bird & The Worm and the ferocious Listening fans are being given a good mix of new and old with a nice dose of the Playschool theme, which singer Bert McCracken describes as an Aussie anthem, thrown in for good measure. The set nears a close as McCracken launches into a heavily modulated Shakespeare recital followed by his band mates teasing a Smells Like Teen Spirit cover before finally diving into their last track of the day with Box Full Of Sharp Objects.
Not to be outdone by punks and the like, Welsh metal titans Bullet For My Valentine saunter out on stage like they own the place and by the end of their set they damn well do! With singer/guitarist Matt Tuck and bassist/vocalist Jamie Mathias in fine form the band play through their extensive catalog of balls-to-the-wall metal whilst lead guitarist Michael Paget plays it up for the photographers. Stating how good the fan base has been to them over the last 15 years Tuck declares they’re going to take it “back to the beginning” with a blistering rendition of old tune Four Words (To Choke Upon) which is more than well received by the amassed crowd.
Back to stage 3 again, where Tonight Alive’s petite frontwoman Jenna McDougall is commanding the crowd like a pro. A rather large number of punters have gathered to catch the Sydney outfits own brand of rock music and the band couldn’t more appreciative. Taking heavily from this year’s Underworld album, they rip through a killer set closing off proceedings with The Edge from the Amazing Spiderman 2 Soundtrack.
It’s celtic-punk time on stage 2 with Dropkick Murphys bringing their Irish-tinged swagger to the main stages. These guys have been perfecting their craft for over 20 years now and it shows. Opening strong with The Boys Are Back, a flock of people begin to dance their way over from stage 1. Dual frontmen Al Barr and Ken Casey take turns in getting up close and personal with the huge crowd gathered before them. It’s a fun set littered with highlights from their illustrious career such as The State Of Massachusetts, Rose Tattoo and finally finishing off just as powerfully as they began with crowd favourite I’m Shipping Up To Boston.
Back at stage 4, Mayday Parade are having a ball with the Brisbane fans and celebrating their career with deep cuts like Three Cheers For Five Years and delivering the Aussie crowd a rockin’ rendition of Gotye’s smash hit Somebody That I Used To Know.
As the sun goes down All Time Low hit stage 1 like a pop punk wrecking ball, wasting no time in getting down to business with opener Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) and it quickly becomes apparent why these guys are at the top of the pop punk pecking order. Their stage presence is reminiscent of early Blink 182 and they’ve got the banter to match, keeping the crowd thoroughly entertained between such songs like Dark Side Of Your Room, Backseat Serenade and the more serious Life Of The Party. Vocalist and guitarist Alex Gaskarth consistently whips the crowd into a frenzy with his high-energy performance and couldn’t be more grateful for the reception him and his band mates have received.
American metalcore stalwarts Emmure are here to make the stage 3 crowd move and they do just that. From the minute Shinjuku Masterlord blasts from the speakers the mosh pit is in full swing and never lets up once throughout the whole set. With strobes in full effect, Frankie Palmeri and co. deliver a crushing set and have the fans in the palm of their hands. They are certainly a hard act to follow but The Smith Street Band have never been ones for intimidation and Wil Wagner and his ever-increasing band take to stage 4 in front of what is probably the biggest crowd these stages have seen today.
Paying tribute to Dropkick Murphys by playing the opening riff to I’m Shipping Up To Boston, the band quickly break off into Song For You and from therein it’s all business, smashing out Sigourney Weaver, Birthdays and I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore before stopping to say g’day and introduce themselves. The set is littered with tunes from last years release More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me and a few little covers including the Journey classic Don’t Stop Believin’. It’s a fun set, and as they play out with hit single Death To The Lads it becomes obvious that these guys aren’t going to disappear anytime soon.
Over on the main stages Stone Sour’s solid stage presence is commanding attention from the adoring crowd. Corey Taylor, a man who needs no introduction, makes it known that this is his crowd and he owns it well! Ripping through the opening track off their Hydrograd album, Taipei Person/Allah Tea has the fans instantly jumping and singing along to every word. They play an eclectic mix of songs from across their entire career, never favoring just one album and even diving way back into their catalog as Taylor takes to the stage alone to play debut single Bother and later in the set, the punishing Get Inside, both of which are more than well-received by the die-hards in the crowd. There’s even a rare, full-band performance of their hit Through Glass which is more commonly played by Taylor alone. Giving much deserved kudos to his band mates, the group proceed to give their all to closing track Fabuless and prove once again that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba is faced with the daunting task of headlining stage 3 after a day of incredible performances but if the caliber of bands that have played throughout the day makes him nervous at all, it does not show. He takes to the stage alone performing a somber acoustic number before being joined by the rest of his band and delivering a set of hits from their landmark album The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most as well as a few choice tunes from across their brilliant career. Carrabba’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with, so much power should not be able to come from such a small person but he conjures it up and delivers with passion and pride.
And finally the time has come; time to relax and you know what that means… The Offspring are here to show all the young punks how it’s done! After the brief intro Dexter, Noodles and co. begin to play through their landmark Smash album track by track and even though you know what songs are coming it’s still high energy and nostalgia-fuelled excitement from start to finish. They sound as though they’ve time-travelled straight from the 90’s to now as they bust out hit after hit, choosing to omit fan-favourite Self Esteem and save it for last. Once they’re done with Smash they exit the stage and prepare for an encore of their other hits starting with You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid from 2008’s Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace and leading into the almighty All I Want. Fans are treated to a special performance of Gone Away as Dexter sits alone at a piano to deliver and even more somber version of the track. They even manage to thrown in an AC/DC cover as they nail their own take on the classic Whole Lotta Rosie. Closing out the entire day with the Americana smash hit The Kids Aren’t Alright the band leave the stage and draw the curtains on the inaugural Good Things festival.
It has been a success. From the smooth running of the festival to the excellent behavior of the crowd and all the way down to the dagwood dog loaded fries that seem to be on everyone’s menu, the day couldn’t have gone better. It’s so good to see equality being practiced and more female-fronted bands making their way onto the bill because, to be honest, they were some of the highlight acts of the day and proved that they deserve their place in not only the Australian music scene but around the world. Well done to the organisers, you have indeed produced a Good Thing.