Review : Nev Pearce + Benjamin Coe Photo’s : Dan Maynard Photography
The second annual Good Things Festival has once again put together a stellar line up to fill the gap where other festivals that are no longer with us left behind. From the moment the first announcement dropped, many fans were excited to not only see some heavy hitting acts from around the globe but also some much-loved homegrown talent, including headliners Parkway Drive.
The action begins on stage 3 with Melbourne punks The Bennies playing their self-described psychedelic-reggae-ska-doom-metal-punk-rock-from-Hell to a surprisingly large crowd, considering half of the punters are still lined up waiting to enter the festival grounds. Front man Anty Horgan leads a chant of “fuck the police”, much to the disgust of the on-ground police presence but much to the delight of the fans, before “getting heavy” with standout track Forcefields, whose speedy, energetic finale incites the first circle pit of the day.
Over on the main stages, internet sensation and metal crossover queen, Poppy, has managed to draw a decent crowd for her early start. Her two-piece band enters the stage wearing wigs and masks made to mimic the singer’s persona. Opening with Concrete, her down-tuned blend of brutal riffs and sugar-drenched pop has the fans throwing down one minute and clapping along the next. Poppy is incredibly charming and infectious, even when she’s addressing the crowd in her soft, sweet-natured voice. Scary Mask brings the heavy and opens up the pit leaving a lasting impression on those who caught her set.
Tucked away on stage 5, local band-comp winners Joy In Motion play their catchy pop rock tunes to a small yet attentive crowd. The dual vocal trade-off between singer Jake Solway and pocket-rocket guitarist Jesse Simo-Swer is impeccable whilst drummer Carly Sinn smashes away at her kit, loving every second of it. Launching into new song Leaps & Bounds, the high-energy chorus gets the crowd moving.
Having heard a lot about Japan’s Man With A Mission and how excellent their live show is, I can happily report that the wolf mask-wearing maniacs deliver the goods in abundance. The band are full of energy and it is unbelievable that they are still wearing the mascot get-up in this Queensland summer heat. Like the absolute legends that they are, Man With A Mission push on hard through their set and win over everyone in the tent.
The first band to grace stage 1 today is the always-entertaining Reel Big Fish, whose entrance is marked by an extremely out of tune, brass rendition of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Hi everybody, we’re the Reel Big Fish” declares singer/guitarist Aaron Barrett before the band begin to play Pissed Off from their latest release, Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!, turning the main stage into a giant dance party. The band plow through a bevvy of their hits from across their back-catalogue, declaring their tune Good Thing ”the official theme of the Good Things Festival” and really get the crowd moving with their 2002 hit Where Have You Been? Finishing up strong with their classic cover of A-Ha’s Take On Me, the Reel Big Fish are possibly the most fun band on todays bill.
Melbourne metallers Gravemind have been the talk of the town recently and witnessing their crushing set on stage 5 it’s easy to see why. Heavy drums lead the way into an energetic brand of fast-paced metal, drawing the amassed crowd even closer to the stage while on the outskirts an abundance of people in Hawaiian shirts and teddy bear backpacks all nod along in appreciation. Taking heavily from their debut album Conduit, Gravemind play absolute passion and an energy that sees the crowd start a circle pit all of their own accord, much to front man Dylan Gillies-Parsons delight.
Ice Nine Kills have a solid following Down Under and it’s a mystery as to why they’ve taken so long to get down here. With their latest album The Silver Scream, they have broken new ground and expanded their fan base around the world. Stage 3 is littered with nods to horror legends like Freddy Krueger and Pennywise and as soon as they open with The American Nightmare, the air is filled with the voices of their fans singing along to every word. Brutally heavy and theatrical, Ice Nine Kills embrace everything horror and not only incorporate legends of the genre into their songs but also into their stage show with various costume changes and recreations of famous on-screen murder scenes from films such as Scream. They easily put on one of the best sets of the day and it’s evident that their visit is long overdue.
“G’day Brissy” says Ben Reed of Byron Bay surf-rockers Skeggs as they take to stage 2 with Got On My Skateboard from their 2017 EP Holiday Food. The 3-piece are very appreciative of the massive crowd they’ve drawn to the main stage and hits such as L.S.D and Spring Has Sprung have the crowd bouncing, proving that the Australian alternative scene is well and truly thriving.
Californian rockers Dance Gavin Dance open up with The Jiggler from their 2013 album Acceptance Speech and the huge crowd that has piled into the stage 3/4 tent are instantly in a frenzy. Playing a slew of tracks from throughout their career, the eclectic guitar-riffs and solid rhythm section accompany Jon Mess’ roaring screams and Tilian Pearson’s soaring clean vocals beautifully. The band are incredibly tight and extremely well-loved as they finish to an absolute roar from the audience.
When it was announced that The Veronicas were going to be a part of the line up, a lot of the fans of the heavier side of things were taken by surprise by the addition of the predominantly mainstream pop act. But the Origliasso twins prove otherwise as their pop hits like Revolution, Hook Me Up and 4 Ever are translated perfectly to a live heavy music setting and have the main stage packed out with punters hanging onto their every word. The girls have definitely paid their dues and rightly deserve to be up there alongside other alternative greats. They also show their gratitude to the masses for accepting them and giving them such a warm welcome on their home turf of Brisbane where they began their career many years ago. The twin sisters end their set with mega hit Untouched which features the massive “wall of death” everyone has been anticipating online and leaves many of the festival goers impressed by their authenticity and performance.
It was always going to be a tough gig going up against The Veronicas and their “wall of death” but over on stage 3, Brisbane definitely turned up for hometown heroes The Butterfly Effect. Taking the stage to a thunderous applause the opening riff of Filling Silence from their debut album Begins Here fills the tent and it’s instantly evident that boys are back! A Slow Descent has the crowd bouncing as singer extraordinaire Clint Boge encourages maximum crowd participation. What follows is a brief showcase of their career pre-hiatus before they bust out new single Unbroken and finish up with the huge-sounding Reach.
The boys from Trivium wander out onto stage 2 and lovingly embrace the scorching sun before diving straight into the title track from 2017’s The Sin & The Sentence. Tight as fuck guitar solos and massive circle pits are the order of the day as vocalist Matt Heafy teases the crowd by telling them Sydney have produced the best response so far. Guitarist Cory Beaulieu shreds away in the afternoon sun during tracks such as Down From The Sky and Strife before they pull out their breakthrough hit song Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr to an explosive response from the adoring crowd. “We are Trivium and we will always…fucking…return! Thank You” Heafy declares before launching into the 2011 single In Waves to close out an epic set.
Another one of Australia’s very own greats to be included in today’s festivities is prog legends Voyager. No strangers to playing festivals around the world and sharing stages with some of the biggest bands on the planet, they set the tone for the afternoon on stage 5 and their style of progressive synth-metal is a treat for anyone who caught them.
Enter Shikari are one of the most anticipated bands of the day and the sweltering stage 3/4 tent packed out and raging from the moment they start. Despite mellowing out a bit on their latest release The Spark, the band bring out bangers like Juggernauts and Sorry, You’re Not A Winner in what they call a quickfire round of four songs in seven minutes. Rou Reynolds is one hell of a front man, taking every chance he can to amp up the fans and engage with them. Heavy hitting tune The Paddington Frisk sees all the band members, minus the drummer, enter the crowd for the greater majority of its performance. Part rave, part punk show, Enter Shikari are hands down not only one of the best acts of the day but one of the best live bands in the world.
Not ones to mess around, punk legends Bad Religion get straight to the point with 21st Century Digital Boy and well-received cut Fuck You. The guys may be old but they still rock harder than most and singer Greg Graffin has still got the chops to stand tall among the greatest punk singers of all time. Crowd-favourite Los Angeles Is Burning is a stand out as the play through selected tracks from the extensive career. It’s clear Bad Religion have no intention of disappearing into the good night any time soon.
From the second Simple Plan vocalist Pierre Bouvier sets foot on stage 2, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. The energetic Canadians begin to rip through a set of classic hits and crowd pleasers such as Jump, Addicted, and a smashing rendition of Jet Lag in which they bring out singer Erin Reus from Brissy’s own rockers, Stateside. The boys are clearing having the time of their lives as Pierre and drummer Chuck Comeau exchange roles so Chuck can get intimate with the fans and go for a cheeky crowd surf. Strapping on an acoustic guitar, Pierre signals that this will be the last song before saying “This is called Wonderwall” and trolling the crowd with the first few minutes of the Oasis song until he stops and announces that Perfect will in fact be today’s swansong. The crowd lap It up and are left wanting more.
Melbourne’s all-female hard rockers The Beautiful Monument just keep going from strength to strength, and over on stage 5 they’re proving why. The crowd is sparse but the band with gusto as vocalist Lizi prowls the stage engaging the front row with her powerful presence. The band burn through tracks such as Disorder, The Silencer and Invisible before closing with standout track Deceiver. Their hard riffs and solid bass make for a nice little secret discovery for those who dared to venture over.
Thy Art Is Murder have carved their name into metal history and with the release of their latest offering Human Target, they have elevated themselves to legendary status. The band hit the stage with fury and brutality with the crowd surging towards the barrier from the moment they begin. Thy Art… are easily the heaviest band on the bill and with CJ’s voice combined with the savage guitar tones shake the place to its core. It’s no wonder why the band have made so many fans on their journey and it will be interesting to see where these guys go next. But you can guarantee everyone will be along for the ride!
The menacing sun has finally disappeared and the amassed crowd at stage 1 begin to chant, “Soho! Soho! Soho!” until the boys from Mansfield’s Violent Soho come sauntering on to a raucous reception. These guys are clearly loved by their hometown and their appreciation shows in their faces as singer/guitarist Luke Boerdam begins to play Like Soda and the crowd begins the hour long sing-along fest. Cutting straight into Evergreen a fight-dance pit breaks out in the middle of the crowd forcing a few older punters to evacuate. “it’s good to be home” says guitarist James Tidwell before they play Viceroy off their critically acclaimed WACO album. The set is a good mix of older cuts like In The Aisle which sees the creation of the thousandth circle pit of the day and newer jams such as recently released single Vacation Forever. Everything is well received, the crowd loves it, the boys in the band love it, everybody loves it! Soho are back!
Prog rock is such a mainstay these days and leading the charge for the Australian scene is definitely Perth outfit, Karnivool. With such a huge following under their belt it’s easy to see why the tent is so packed. Ian Kenny is in fine form as he guides the crowd through some of their rockier material opening with Shutterspeed and Goliath before getting groovy on smash single We Are. Bassist Jon Stockman steps up to the microphone to bring in the heavy-hitting intro to The Refusal, which sees him belting his guts out. The lads from WA ride the crowds energy through a nice mix of all 3 of their studio albums and even a new yet-to-be-released song before classically finishing off their set with fan-favourite New Day. It’s most certainly a stand out set and one that these lucky punters won’t forget any time soon.
As the lights go down on stage 2, the THX sample melts everyone’s faces off as A Day To Remember hit the stage. Sporting a NIN Pretty hate Machine-era long sleeve tee, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon sounds on point as he leads his legion of fans into All I Want. Everyone from the front row to the back of the stadium is singing along which is crazy to hear. The band continue to smash out hit after hit such as Sticks & Bricks, Better Off This Way and Right Back At It Again. They also play a couple of new songs from their upcoming album You’re Welcome and you can guarantee that it will see these boys back on our shores again soon, hopefully for a headline tour.
Now it’s no secret that Parkway Drive are one of the hardest working bands on the planet.
I remember booking them many years ago on the Gold Coast and even then you could see the blood, sweat and tears as they were building their metal empire from the ground up, roughing it in vans and venues across Australia and abroad, even daring to take their cause to the masses out in rural towns. Fast-forward to where they are at now; headlining some of the biggest festivals in Europe and now one of the biggest on their home turf.
Parkway have created not only a captivating career from their live shows but they have also evolved into a spectacle of biblical proportions. The show begins with on-screen footage of the band arriving in a tank to then be escorted through the crowd by masked assailants holding torches. This leads into them kicking off with Wishing Wells and then all hell breaks loose. Prey and Carrion sound massive and it only ramps up further when they reach Vice Grip. Karma sets off the pit before Cemetery Bloom brings a mellow, emotional moment building into The Void and Dedicated, which sees their pyrotechnics in full swing and reaches its fiery peak during Crushed when the whole stage, including the spinning drum cage is just top to bottom in flames.
Aside from AC/DC, there isn’t another band in this country who have pushed their careers to the same level as Parkway Drive. From humble beginnings in Byron Bay to the worlds stages, you have to admire their dedication and love for their craft which has seen them become the legendary musicians they are today.