Curiously, Ohio quintet Citizen find themselves in the same position our headliners were in the last time they visited Australia – that is, on a co-headlining run with a band that theoretically feels opposed from a stylistic standpoint. An odd couple, if you will. On paper, a pairing such as this shouldn’t work – and yet, the Venn diagram has just enough of a middle section to make it all work. There is common ground to be moshed upon, after all – both bands possess a stronghold over their audience, singing back their words so loudly that you could probably do away with every vocal microphone on stage entirely. This is especially the case with Citizen, who have managed to concoct at least a few truly great throat-tearing slices of second-wave emo revival on all three of their studio albums. They’re fired off in quick succession here, ranging from the thrashing “Roam the Room” to the slinking, snarling “Cement” before concluding on “The Summer,” which is quite possibly the greatest Sunny Day Real Estate song they never wrote. It’s easy to see why this band means so much to people, and even clearer to see why Citizen keep coming back.
It may have been raining on Saturday night, but inside Max Watt’s it was steamy. The room was packed for a near sold-out show from up-and-coming R&B star Brent Faiyaz. In Australia for the first time, the Goldlink collaborator kept the crowd enamoured for a little over an hour.
It’s been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Logic would dictate, then, that a Sydney audience would not be particularly fond of seeing CHVRCHES play a headlining show this evening – after all, they literally played Sydney last week, kicking off 2019 as a part of Field Day. Even casting one’s mind back to the last time the band were in Australia, you only have to go as far back as a measly six months. Seeing CHVRCHES again after all that would just be gilding the lily, no? As it turns out, that’s where you’d be wrong – tonight was all about defying said logic and showing that there is plenty left in the tank as far as the Glasgow natives are concerned.
New York City re-emerged as the epicentre of rock music at the turn of the 21st century, thanks in no small part to a key mix of bands ushering in a new era and a new sound that borrowed from garage rock, post-punk and cult indie classics. Here’s the thing, though: Most of those bands aren’t around anymore. They either splintered off into new projects or imploded entirely. We’re so far removed from it that it’s now centred as a point of millennial nostalgia. By no right should a band like Interpol still be able to play a room as prestigious as the Sydney Opera House concert hall, let alone fill every last seat within it.
In its inaugural year, Good Things Festival came through Australia in a whirlwind, playing Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in three consecutive days. Parramatta Park became a dustbowl, as foot traffic on the dry ground, mixed with 30 degree heat, caused the venue to look like a scene from Mad Max. With hopes we will see Good Things again in the future, here are some of the biggest talking points of the festival
WAAX warmed the crowd up early
Brisbane natives WAAX pulled a huge crowd for early in the day. Staring at 12 45 – the second band to play on the side stage, following Ecca Vandal – WAAX put on a show for the punters smart enough to get there early. Frontwoman Maz DeVita performs with enthralling energy, earning their place on the line up and leaving punters wondering why they weren’t on the main stage.
Some bands suffered from the Under 18s ban
After “exorbitant police fees” forced Good Things to cancel tickets and deny entry for those under 18, some bands on the bill had crowd sizes significantly lower than other cities. Notably, All Time Low had an all time low crowd, and US band Waterparks saw three times the amount of their crowd waiting at the next stage over for hometown heroes Northlane to play. This didn’t slip by unnoticed, with several salty quips coming the crowds way.
Aussie talent brought the crowds
The Aussie contingent made up one third of the bands on the line up, however most of them played early in the day. But with the likes of WAAX, Ecca Vandal, Make Them Suffer and Void of Vision on the line up, it showed that Australian music is nothing to be scoffed at. Sydney band Northlane pulled one of the biggest crowds of the day, and ripped into their performance with gusto, leaving nothing in the tank. Complete with ten foot high flames and lilac confetti (the only band to have confetti, bar Corey Taylor’s signature confetti cannon), Northlane gave their all to the hometown crowd that had come to greet them.
Over on the side stage, Tonight Alive and The Smith Street Band put on performances not to be scoffed at, and pulled in loyal crowds despite dealing with some heavy hitter clashes (The Used and Stone Sour, respectively).
Babymetal absolutely smashed it
Hitting our shores for the first time ever, Babymetal saw people lined up outside the venue well before gates. With cult-like fanfare, the front barricade was draped in Babymetal signs and flags as loyal fans rushed the gates to be right up front – braving hours in the blistering sun watching the bands on before Babymetal.
Babymetal had easily one of the biggest crowds for the day, and the beautifully dressed and choreographed women on set did not break a sweat, despite the 30+ degree heat. Opening on Megitsune, they had diehard fans dancing along in sync, and even the curious bystanders were dancing by the end. Finishing their set a bit early, clocking in at 7 songs, Babymetal did not disappoint on their first Australian visit, and any promoter worth their weight will be doing their best to get them out here on a solo tour.
Palaye Royale drew the short straw
Competing with Babymetal was always going to be a hard one, but Palaye Royal did it with style, also on their maiden voyage to Australia. Despite playing to a mere handful of people, they put their all into it, literally hanging from the rafters at one point. A rousing cover of My Chem’s Teenagers brought a few stragglers in, but a well-oiled performance wasn’t enough to tempt over the crowd from Babymetal, and Palaye Royal’s lost some well-deserved viewers due to drawing the short straw and clashing with Babymetal.
Side stage setbacks
For all the talent running through it, the side stage wasn’t without its hiccups. The stages themselves were small, barely fitting some of the bands, and not allowing much room for on stage movement, while the photo pit had photographers and security guards squashed in like tinned sardines. There were also some issues with the sound, with The Smith Street Band’s set sounding like a bassy, muddled mess at times. There was also the sad incident of a security guard having a heart attack and passing away during Tonight Alive’s set. This was handled with professionalism and care by all involved, security, ambos, and also by the crowd. We send condolences to his family and loved ones, and hope they find comfort in knowing those at the festival did everything they could.
The internationals brought the goods – and the nostalgia.
Good Things was a festival that was nostalgia-heavy, bringing bands along such as Dashboard Confessional, The Offspring and The Used. Unfortunately with some olders bands, they reign it in for their live shows, knowing that they will pull a crowd regardless, and they just put on a sub-par performance. Happily we can say that none of the bands at Good Things were like that. Every single band put on a tight, energetic and emotive performance. Dashboard Confessional had people in tears, playing The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most in full, while over on the main stage The Offspring (playing Smash in full) had fans young and old enthralled. Dexter Holland still has his signature vocals – showing them off in a piano rendition of Gone Away. Closing the festival on The Kids Aren’t Alright, festival goers went home sunburnt, covered in dust, and knowing they had just seen something special.
Good Things is set to become the next Soundwave – if it fixes a few hiccups
The location was great for a mid-sized festival, but the entry and exit points need to be bigger to accommodate for the crowds. There was a good selection of food trucks, catering for all tastes and having enough around that the lines didn’t end up being 45 minutes long by dinner time. A stellar lineup of bands who all put their heart into their performances – despite being on the second day of a three day festival run, and the second day of 30+ degree heat. Parramatta Park was turned into a dustbowl by the foot traffic, and the lack of shade was an issue, with large groups of punters huddled around whatever trees they could find. With a few minor fixes, if Good Things brings a second year as good as the first, it is set to become the festival Australia needs.
Below photos – Peter Dovgan
First and foremost, a massive tip of the cap to our headliners this evening for making a point of challenging their audience with the supports chosen tonight. Not only do they lie outside of their immediate musical spectrum, but they’re also not just a bunch of straight cis dudes as one has sadly grown accustomed to. Sports Bra and Rachel Maria Cox both invest emotionally into what they do, but their end results are inherently accessible and present a degree of resolve within their subject matter. The former are a Sydney supergroup of sorts within the DIY community, using their collective experience from a myriad of other bands to form a Voltron-like figure of jangly indie-rock that defiantly spouts messages of positive endearment and queer survival. The latter, meanwhile, is a self-confessed former emo kid that now presents themselves as a confident born entertainer, throwing themselves into every line of each jazzy, dancefloor-ready pop number. Although their approaches differ, both have a special way of bringing people together – and, by proxy, helping them to feel less alone There’s something truly quite remarkable about that.
If you’ve seen Twenty One Pilots live before, you’d know that their live presence is nothing short of spectacular. The aptly named “Bandito Tour” showed Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn in their prime midway through their worldwide tour, supporting their new album ‘Trench’. Opening up the show was Perth hip-hop artist Drapht, who released his latest album ‘Arabella Street’ in November, after touring nationally in August. Young and old fans, some that had probably waited outside for hours to be front row, waiting patiently for the return of one of the brightest and youngest mainstream bands to hit our shores.
Western Sydney trio Zen Haircuts traverse genre to the point of being nearly unclassifiable. They’re math-rock by trade, but their approach to the sound is far less jolting and abrasive than your average hammer-tap merchants. They blend in the twinkly side of second-wave emo and the hustle-and-bustle of 2000s indie rock to land on something identifiably theirs. Vocalist/bassist Kieran Baskerville apologises at the top of the set for his sickly voice, but an encouraging group of early-arrival attendees encourage him to persevere – and, in all honesty, you probably wouldn’t have even noticed had he not already pointed it out.
Reminiscence is a beautiful thing. It’s a wave that’s been ridden by artists, punters and promoters alike as nostalgia tours have proved a popular theme over the last two or so years in Australia. The Offspring is another name to be added to the list of such tours, after being announced as the headliners of the inaugural Good Things Festival. But it was the one-off sideshow at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre that many fans old and new were excited for, with the show selling out in a matter of days.
After a colossal night at The Metro Theatre, hearing the phrase ‘pop punk is dead’ feels oh so desperately wrong. Having been near sixteen months since the release of their third album The Peace and The Panic, Welsh Four-Piece Neck Deep finally returned to Sydney as headliners for a ridiculously high energy fueled night of nonstop bops – and they’ve brought along some Aussie staples for the ride too.