They say all good things must come to an end, but in the case of Blood, Sweat & Beers – a daylong celebration of top notch Australian music, top notch brews and our top notch mates – we’re especially ruffled at the adage. The ninth and final instalment of the annual punk festival called home to Sydney’s four-stage Factory Theatre complex over the weekend, firing on all cylinders for a farewell worthy of its hype.
In order of their placement on the timetable (because ranking them would be all but impossible), here are the acts we think crushed it the hardest at Blood, Sweat & Beers #9.
NOTHING RHYMES WITH DAVID Meddling equal measures of rollicking folk, thumping rock and dizzying emo notes, the David James Young-led trio left the ultra-cozy Fusebox studio speechless (sans one witless heckler, whom Young promptly shut right the fuck down) with a far-too-short set that made punch after punch without a single hiccup.
The Choice Cut: “Sex, God & Katy Perry”
OUTRIGHT Sharp, searing hardcore driven by unremitting breakdowns and unforgiving bellows from Jelena Goluza. The frontwoman roared with the kind of vicious indignation that only the icons tend to weild – no doubt a foreshadowing of the future Outright have ahead of them.
The Choice Cut: “Defeat / Repeat”
PAPER THIN The Fusebox packed itself tight for the Newcastle emos, and for good reason: a numbing twang and atmospheric drum patters left a radient playing field for the trio’s two vocalists – SpencerScott and AidanRoe – to throw their best shots. And with a setlist notching all of the band’s most acerbic and emotional cuts (plus a new jam that we’re no less than desperate to cop a studio mix of), they did exactly that.
The Choice Cut: “State Of Your Life, Mate”
HIGHTIME The skacore heroes let up for not a millisecond, frontwoman Nina McCann spitting pure, guttural fire between physics-defying dance moves. Ditto for her trio of heavily caffeinated bandmates, who triggered an endless flood of pits with their slick and sour attacks.
The Choice Cut: “Splitside”
LUCY WILSON Commonly seen either making us skank ourselves to death in The Sugarcanes or taking punk to new heights in The Smith Street Band, the Melbourne legend used her solo half-hour in the outdoor courtyard to pluck relentlessly at our heartstrings with an acoustic set that put her bright, honey-sweetened vocals front and centre.
The Choice Cut: “Tour Wife Life”
THE SPRITE I GOT FROM MACCAS IN-BETWEEN BANDS Cold, refreshing and hitting all the right notes of sweet and slightly sour, this could damn well have been the de facto headliner. My God, how great a cup of the ol’ fizz goes down after a half-day of screaming along to our favourite songs and soaking in all the festival vibes. Holy shit. 10/10.
The Choice Cut: every last perfect sip.
ANTONIA & THE LAZY SUSANS If spending a set on the verge of tears is your thing, look no further than this fast-rising emo quartet. The semi-locals shined with punchy drums and a captivating rhythm section, towed along by Antonia Susan‘s inimitably raw and rhapsodic vocal talents.
The Choice Cut: “Home Here With Your Friends”
THE GOOCH PALMS Their setup may be simple, but the booming and buoyant jams from Newcastle’s loosest and most lighthearted pop duo are anything but. With a new record just around the corner, the twosome were intensely energised and eager to hype a theatre growing stronger by the minute for its headline act.
The Choice Cut: “Busy Bleeding”
THE BENNIES Technical difficulties be damned, the headliners blazed through their set with the unique flavours of energy and ardour that only The Bennies really know. New bassist/vocalist Nick Williams is a perfect fit in the fold, too, the Melbourne pot-punks en masse delivering one of their most impassioned and dynamic sets in recent history.