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Monday, January 30, 2023

Live Review: Good Things Festival, Showgrounds Brisbane, Australia 4/12/22

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Australia’s favourite punk and heavy festival is back with a vengeance, with fans lapping up the local and international acts hitting the southern hemisphere festival circuit.

Words by Jason Bruckner and Michelle Brown

Good Things Festival kicked off in Brisbane with much anticipation and excitement from punters eager to soak in a great mix of established and emerging rock bands. We form a collective embrace that encompasses the spirit of all that we have come to love – the music festival; oh how we missed you! Music fans piled out of trains and buses, forming a river of bodies winding up Brunswick Street toward the festival. A line over a kilometre long mirrored the human overflow at the intersection. Thousands were making a pilgrimage to the promised land, the long-standing RNA showgrounds. We are here to lay witness to a cacophony of sound and spectacle and the promise of all Good Things.

The day opened with a mix of upcoming and long-established acts, including Teenage Joans, Jinger, Thornhill To The Grave and APATE.

But probably the most anticipated of these acts was the reunion of popular Aussie pop-punks Kisschasy. This adored group of Melbourne musicians had fans come from all over the state and country to watch them perform. The band cemented a lot of diehard fans throughout their ten-year career that began in the early 2000s. The frenzy of the bands’ return was only mirrored by the attending earlier generations’ anticipation in seeing iconic masked madmen TISM once again.

They kept their fans happy, playing all the expected classics from Do-Do’s and Whoa-Oh’s, With Friends Like You , Who Needs Freinds to Face Without a Name, What We Become and Black Dress. The only downfall was the band’s early billing. The fans who actually made it past the massive queues were left with that warm fuzzy feeling you get with you see your favourite old-school band that brings back all those good memories.

After navigating the huge turnout, we found ourselves thrust into a sea of movement, the crowd instigated by Millencolin, Swedish skate-punk rock 90’s legends. Bassist and vocalist Nikola Šarčević delivered with his extraordinary voice, not to be overshadowed by the outstanding performance and raw energy of the band. Dressed in black, they played a great mix of live faves, Kemp and Bullion came early in the set.

Millencolin
Millencolin

They kept up the energy onstage as the fans jumped, sang and surfed the crowd. They smashed out all the treats from Fox, Man or Mouse, Penguins and Polar Bears and Mr Clean. They satisfied their hungry punk fans with their final number, their smash hit No Cigar. Millencolin well and truly had all the punters in the festival spirit.

We quickly looked in at the garage stage (a last minute, much smaller set-up for young local bands) and saw Young Griffo belting out some of their rock tunes. Working with no sense of direction, we finally managed to find the elusive stage four and closer to home we caught the tail end of legendary yob-punks and Aussie icons Cosmic Psychos.

good things 2022

With forty years of playing live shows under their belts, the band were as comfortable on the stage as they would have been sitting in front of the tv with a beer, watching footy. Vocalist Ross Knight plays the bass like it’s an extension of himself with riff-heavy pure Aussie pub-punk blasting out of the speakers. Guitarist John McKeering powered through classic tracks like Nice Day To Go To The Pub, Fickwit City and David Lee Roth. Fans lapping up the show.

Packed like sardines, we manoeuvred as close as possible towards the adjacent stage, as gardens and feet were trampled on for a glimpse of German genre benders Electric Callboy. What an amazing performance, not just musically brilliant but visually mesmerising.

Good Things

The crowd were almost an extension of the band singing along in mass to their first track, Pump It. Their costume changes were likely as much to escape the heat as they were a visual spectacular. Quirky, fun and fast, their brand of electro-metalcore lit up the crowd. Hate/Love, Mindreader and Spaceman were amongst the setlist. Final track, We Got The Moves, was mutually agreed in sentiment. Electric Callboy was well worth the heat and sweat, leaving everyone clamouring to the drink tent.

Ok One Rock

Stage One may not have had the crowd Millencolin saw, but the fans of Japanese punk rockers One OK Rock gathered at the stage were just as if not more devoted. The band have been flying under the western music radar for decades, but with ten albums under their sneakers, their own label and signing with American label Fueled By Ramen, the band were the perfect fit for the Good Things 2022 line-up.

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The energy of the band was electric. Lead vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi pinballing all over the stage with more energy than any other band so far. The crowd sang along to their hits, Save Yourself, Let Me Let You Go and Stand Out Fit In. ‘Stand Out’ they sure did, and ‘Fit In’ perfectly with the Good Things vibe.

The Amity Affliction was next to blow away the massive crowd at Stage two completely. Home-grown Australian metalcore with hardcore fans galore! Surrounded by the crowd singing in unison, ‘Soak me in bleach’ chants washed over the arena as an overwhelming sense of camaraderie prevailed with impending rain clouds that hung over the stadium. One of the heavier rather than punk acts of the day, Amity are always a drawcard for music lovers of both genres for good reason. Powering through popular tracks, including Pittsburg, Drag The Lake and Soak Me In Bleach, their energy and performance washed out over the mass of bodies with the full metalcore power absorbed by all watching.

We managed to wade through the crowds to find the toilets with the least lines and made our way to see Nova Twins in the far-off nowhere-land smaller stage Five. The English femme duo’s set was an amalgamation of electro-punk rock. It had a kind of fun ‘street’ feel and was outstanding and underrated. It was refreshing to actually get close and enjoy the band without being bombarded by a crushing crowd.

TISM

One of the most highly anticipated bands of the festival was the enigmatic reunion of iconic masked marvels, TISM! Many in the crowd claimed they ‘came along just to see TISM’. Their hiatus of 18 years did not detract from the pure lunacy and unapologetic spectacle of this shiny-suited balaclava- donning, collective. Performing their cult classics, including Greg! The Stop Sign!!, Saturday night Palsy and (He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River , they had the crowd dancing erratically to their dark-humoured, punchy lyrics.

There wore large silver stage props resembling anal bead balloons floating above the band members’ heads as they performed. One of the balloons came loose and floated off into the unknown. I wonder where it landed? Adding to the absurdist scene there were ‘tradies’ on the stage erecting a sign that read ‘TISN? with a working loaded cement mixer. Meanwhile, a guy dressed in a banana suit surfed over the crowd using another stage prop. There’s nothing like it really!

International drawcard and punk legends NOFX followed this spectacular and did not disappoint. With Fat Mike’s banter and fuck you attitude toward everything they were possibly the only band on the bill capable of challenging the previous visual explosion. Boasting that they were the oldest and worst dressed, Fat Mike’s stripy dress and exposed nipple did not detract from his fast and loose riffs. It was advertised that NOFX would be playing Punk In Drublic in full; instead, the perennial non-compliant crust-veterans opted to deviate from the setlist, sprinkling the setlist with some old and new tracks.

They played through most tracks from their 1994 iconic album release, including Linoleum, Leave It Alone, The Brews and Don’t Call Me White. With a massive catalogue behind them after almost 40 years, assaulting our senses with pure punk rock, they added some extra fan favourites, including Six Years on Dope, Franco Un-American and 72 Hookers. The fans let loose and left the show hot, sweaty and happy.

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While NOFX were sending the stage one crowd into a frenzy, Californian punks The Story So Far had the stage four fully charged. The popularity of Good Things Festival stands out in its audience. A crowd age spanning from 15 (minimum age) to past 60 walked between the stages with these popular US pop-punks drawing the 20’s to 30-something crowd. The band opened up with Roam from their 2011 Under Soil and Dirt album, the crowd starting the song off from the first note.

The fans were soaking up the mood singing along to every track as the band played through their hits including Keep This Up, Empty Space and Nerve. The energy from vocalist Parker Cannon and band, kept the festival vibes alive.

With The Story So Far wrapping up the punk side of the festival the crowd were lapping up the remaining hours with a choice of celebrated International and local acts. Deftones took on stage two with a heavy scattering of Deftones t-shirts donning the crowd. The band seemed to be struggling with sound issues, with the volume considerably lower than the day’s previous acts but this did not deter the crowd at all. They played everything the fans wanted. Diamond Eyes, Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away), Digital Bath, Swerve City had the crowd lapping up the music and likely the memories around it. These alternative metal paragons were leading their devotees through a vast catalogue of hits. Frontman Chino Moreno‘s powerfully emotive vocals resonated through the watching crowd.

There was a whole different crowd of devotees over at stage three worshipping Brisbane local legends Regurgitator. Not falling into the punk but alternative rock genre, this band are not loved by genre but by pure entertainment value. They combined alt-rock, electropop and hip-hop to create a brand that still draws legions of old and new fans thirty years on. Their tongue-in-cheek humour, a constant crowd pleaser, playing through fan favourites I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff, I Will Lick Your Arsehole, I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am, Polyester Girl and Kong Foo Sing.

The ‘Gurge’ played a long set to a crowd dancing with strangers, laughing and singing along to their old favourites. They returned for an obligatory encore which included Fat Cop (based on the boys being chased through streets of Brisbane some time, long ago) and everyone’s favourite, ! (The Song Formally Known As). Many older punters headed home after their set happy with the day.

Sydney heavy rockers Redhook closed stage five with their usual high-energy performance. While Bring Me The Horizon were met by thousands of fans to finish the night on the main stage. BMTH have evolved musically since their arrival in 2006 and had brought fans out of the woodwork from its early years through to its ever-growing younger fanbase.

Dynamic frontman Ollie Sykes took the crowd on a wild ride opening with the smash hit, Can You Feel My Heart and going on to belt out tracks that included, Teardrops, stRaNgeRs, Kingslayer and Drown. The crowd demanded more with band finishing off The 2022 Good Things Festival run with Follow You and their smash Drown.

Summing up the day – sure the lines were long to get in, to get drinks, to get food or buy merch. But what a magical atmosphere, the subcultures, the matching costumes, the comradeship of the day… and how much fun were TISM! Good Things Festival was a collective celebration, a much needed one-day, post-pandemic party, full of mainly all Good Things.

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