[PHOTOS + REVIEW] Good Things Festival // Sydney // 02.12.23

Good Things Festival. The biggest event on the Australian heavy music calendar. It’s a balmy day and Centennial park is feeling fucking heavy!

The Plot In You have the midday crowd pitting from the get go, Paradigm, Forgotten, Feel Nothing, a good warmup for the rest of the day’s circle pits. Don’t forget to stretch first.

Imagine celebrating your birthday at Good Things, imagine doing a birthday shoey on stage in front of several thousand fans, Stand Atlantic front woman Bonnie Fraser spitting the rest of the shoey beer into the air. Pity Party, fun time ditty Kill(h)er and Lavender Bones, unfortunately cut short due to technical issues. The emergence of two stripper poles and two scantily clad dancers for Sex On The Beach had the crowd screaming.

More inhuman screams next from Russians Slaughter To Prevail. Face obscured by a golden demon mask, Alex Terrible’s guttural roar quake inducing. “Wall of death now!” The first of the festival, dust rising from the crushing pit for the entirety of the set. Bratva, Viking, Alex’s bowel wrenching alligator growls resonating ear drums, closing with The wrecking ball Demolisher.

The carnage ensued with no rest, West Aussies Make Them Suffer, fresh off their US tour supporting Parkway Drive tearing in with Bones and Erase Me. Keyboardist Alex Reade firmly cementing her spot, her soaring vocals on Contraband matching the roughness of Sean Harmanis.

Japanese kawaii metalcore starlets Hanabie had the biggest crowd of any at stage five. In tule skirts, mismatched tartan and pastel colours, platform boots, the four piece are a true Harajuku fashion statement and punters loved it. “Do you love beer? I love beer!” Squeals bassist Hettsu, closing with Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu and a whole lot of the crowd streaming over the barrier.

The sound issues that plagued Good Things ’22 are all but gone, though pop rock band Slowly Slowly gave this reviewer some sound issues with their Blink 182 cover. Stand Atlantic’s Bonnie Fraser helping out on I Miss You and Safety Switch. I left before Jellyfish began.

“Are you ready kids? I can’t hear you!” Here earlier in the year with metal juggernaut Slipknot, Corey Taylor is back again with a new band of brothers and second solo outing CMF2 in tow. Post Traumatic Blues, Beyond and We Are The Rest, but not to forget the bands that got him there, Slipknot and Stone Sour, Tumult, Through Glass and “Before I forget…” teases Taylor “is the next song”. Duality rounds out the rest of the rocking good time with all the “crazy motherfuckers”.

There are bands on this lineup that have been around longer than a vast number of attendees, one such band are aussie rock stalwarts Jebediah. This reviewer is ashamed to admit that he may have forgot how many bangers Jebediah have, the entire set was just one after another. Jerks Of Attention, Animal, Military Strongmen, She’s Like A Comet, the list goes on and on. Kevin Mitchell joking that he never ever expected to be sandwiched between Sepultura and Boom Crash Opera but here we are. Also joking that they were the only ones to bring a tambourine to Good Things as well.

Leaving Home and Harpoon round out the rest of the hit single set.

The warm summer air was awash with the smells of a ridiculous amount of food vendors this year, some things that GT organizers have definitely improved on, others such as eleven dollar mid strength beers, not so much. As the dual vocalists of US metalcore titans I Prevail traded screams between bursts of breakdowns and pyrotechnics, this reviewer foraged some tucker from a delicious bbq van and caught a bit of the freak show at Stage 666. Sword juggling, knife swallowing, all the fun stuff that kids shouldn’t try at home.

Back at the main stage, celebrating their 50th anniversary and their final ever tour, cult art punks DEVO took to the stage, the audience much larger than anticipated and much more into it than expected. Don’t Shoot kicked off, the huge led screen flashing with wacky visuals of a wacky waving inflatable tube man, and Peek-A-Boo! amping up the jangly guitars. This reviewer was surprised to discover he knew more DEVO songs than just Whip It, though when the band returned with their classic red caps, the packed crowd sang back every word to the massive number one hit. Another costume change for Mongoloid and the synthy rock of Jocko Homo asked the question, “Are we not men?” No, we are Devo! If you know only one DEVO song or have been a fan for decades, DEVO are truly one of the best live acts around and maybe we’ll catch them again on the 100 year anniversary.

Speaking of classic red caps, this one doesn’t get a bad wrap from this critic. The crowd stretched all the way to the back fence for nu metals greatest, Limp Bizkit. Opening with the greatest song ever written, Break Stuff, the white wigged Fred Durst packs a chainsaw in his baggy denim shorts, stalking the stage as security are in for the fight of their lives to catch every crowd surfer. Hot Dog has the crowd yelling “Fuck” about 48 times and My Way leading into the opening riffs of Pantera’s Walk. Taking their time between songs for the crowd to calm down and take a breath, Durst pointing out a banana costumed dude who’s quite appealing, suggesting he’s gonna see him in his dressing room backstage after the show.

The amount of flesh on display (male and female) during Nookie had the crowd hooting and hollering. Full Nelson kicked shit into another gear, Mr Wes Borland ripping in his white Mexican Stormtrooper suit, John Otto and Sam Rivers holding down the bottom end of things. DJ Lethal gives us snippets of Rawhide, 7 Nation Army and Jump Around.  Durst knows what everyone wants, closing with an harder, faster and heavier Break Stuff than the opener, the last reserves of energy used as the crowd crush pushes forward.

Taking the stage to their Billy Joel cover of We Didn’t Start The Fire, pop punkers Fall Out Boy burst out in a spray of fire works with opener Love From The Other Side. The pyrotechnics continue in The Phoenix, attempting to turn everything to ash, Pete Wentz fires up the crowd with his flame throwing bass. Classic emo pop tune Sugar We’re Going Down had the whole festival singing along joyously, but the whole mood was about to change for the worse, as a warning signed flashed during fourth and final song Uma Thurman. Stopping mid song festival organizers informed us that a hail storm was inbound and that the call was made to evacuate. The show was over. Disappointing to say the least, with all lights on thirty thousand people made the slow shuffle out of the exit. I thought nothing could be worse than the festival headline being canned four songs in, but it could get worse as people started singing DJ Otzi’s Hey Baby, when will people stop doing that!?

All props to Good Things organizers for not only their swift call, the ensuing lightning storm drowning anyone caught in the torrential downpour, but also for fantastic ran and catered festival. Here’s to hoping they can control the weather in 2024.

Photos – Britt Andrews

Review – Brendan Delavere