Back in the mid 90’s to early 2000’s Australian music was at its peak with bands like Spiderbait, Killing Heidi, Bodyjar, Shihad, Area-7 and 28 Days taking over the air waves and playing sell out shows and festivals everywhere they went.
Hotter Than Hell is a touring festival that celebrates some of the best music this country has to offer and brings fans of the bands together for a day of top notch Aussie rock and boy have they shown up to let loose and get down on this long weekend break.
The day is kicked off by Melbourne ska legends Area-7 playing ‘Leave Me Alone’ which does the opposite of what the song says bringing the punters to the front of the stage to get down with the boys. After a bit of a dig at the Triple J ‘Hottest 100’, the band play ‘Second Class Citizen’ which signals the start to a cracker of a day. It's not until their break out hit ‘Nobody Likes A Bogan’, which seems appropriate being the Australia Day long weekend, that the crowd lets loose. Their Ska’d up cover of The Angels ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?’ is an interesting spin on an Aussie classic but is an instant winner with the fans.
Ending with the track ‘Bitter Words’ the Area-7 lads are definitely the pros at getting the party started.
Up next are 28 Days who open with ‘Sucker’ and by the time they are into the chorus the barrier is packed with people singing along. Their onstage banter is also hilarious and even take a moment to reminisce about one of the Gold Coast long but not forgotten venues, The Rose and Crown before being joined by Bodyjar drummer Shane Wakker for a jam. Bringing all the fan favourites to their set, we're treated to ‘Goodbye’ and ‘The General’, with the crowd loving every second of it. As the band plays the emotion driven tune ‘Stealing Chairs’, it's the ideal way to signal their set is at a close. Now it wouldn't be a 28 Days show without the chanting of ‘28 Days can?’ followed by a whole crowd shouting ‘FUCK OFF!’, which always leads into their mega hit ‘Rip It Up’. As the lads leave the stage, they have shown why they are one of the standouts of the day.
By the time punk royalty Bodyjar hit the stage the drinks are flowing and the punters are well into their big day. The band throw into their set with so much energy that if this was a venue it would have blown the roof off. ‘Not the Same’ is the song they are most known for and was an anthem for many people here today when it was released back in 2000, there is something special about singing along with a couple of thousand people to this track and it only pushes the band to go even harder.
Towards the end of their set they are joined onstage by Grace Drummond from Toowoomba punk band Something Something Explosion for the song ‘Too Drunk to Drive’ which was pretty cool to see. Even after being in the game for as long as they have Bodyjar are still a class act to see live and always deliver the goods.
Opening their set with ‘Calm Down’ from their self titled album, Killing Heidi’s Ella Hooper is full of smiles and energy. As the band play the single ‘I Am’ the temperature starts to cool down and the crowd starts to ease into a chill out vibe for their show. Songs like ‘Mascara’ and ‘Superman/Supergirl’ inject a bit of zest into their set but it’s mostly a slower pace than the other bands of the day which is a perfect breather before the bands to follow. As the sun goes down the band play their hit ‘Weir’ which seems perfectly timed and leaves a lasting impression.
It’s no secret Shihad are one of the best live bands on the planet and they hit the stage with all guns (fire cannons) blazing! Opening with ‘Think You’re So Free’ and the title track from FVEY, the boys have everyone bouncing and going nuts from start to finish. Celebrating their 30th anniversary Shihad smash out hit after hit like ‘Comfort Me’, ‘Run’ and ‘My Mind's Sedate’ and the fans love every second of it.
After catching them recently in Brisbane on their solo tour at the Triffid I was keen to see them on a bigger stage with a massive crowd in front of them like I did 20 years ago. Shihad have always been a versatile act who can play both venues and festivals and have the same effect on the audience. They know how to write the hits that have kept them relevant for 30 years and no matter how many times I have seen them it’s always a kick arse time, nobody rocks like Shihad!
Back in the mid 90’s, Spiderbait, along with bands like Grinspoon and Silverchair, were at the forefront of the Australian music movement of the time, it was an era where the gloom of grunge had made its mark and was on its way out. This left the scene hungry for the next evolutionary step.
Playing a big part in that was Spiderbait’s Ivy and the Big Apples, a massive album that saw them break through to mainstream success and throw them into the spotlight. The three piece are like a force of nature as they blast through the hits like Old man Sam and Buy Me A Pony (on the latter Kram and Janet switch places) with such ease that it’s easy to see why they have had the staying power over the last 2+ decades.
As the set progresses, Kram expresses their love for the Gold Coast and reminisces over the old Big Day Out gigs at the now developed GC Parklands. The setlist is every song you would want to hear from the trio, from ‘Fuckin’ Awesome’ to crowd favourite ‘Calypso’, the band covers every but of their extensive career. Throwing a psychedelic jam session into the mix and maximising crowd participation with an epic call and response, there’s no end to the energy that these Aussie rock veterans ooze from every pore. Getting immersed in their performance isn't difficult and it's not long before the set comes to a close with an extended rendition of Black Betty. The crowd goes absolutely insane and with the addition of pyros and confetti and streamer cannons, it's the perfect way to finalise the first ever Gold Coast Hotter Than Hell.
Hotter Than Hell was one of the best festival experiences I have ever had.
From amenities down to production, Not only was it well organised but also a fuck ton of fun for the punters.
I’d recommend this to anyone and I look forward to what the next installment has to offer. Let's hope that it returns to Broadwater Parklands next year.