Review By Jose Eduardo Cruz
Photo by Matt Palmer
After overcoming security guards that were more intent on removing bottled water from punters then checking bags for dangerous items, I entered the RNA to a sea of people ready to have a good time. There was an incredible amount of space for everyone to move around in; there were plenty of real toilets, not those disgusting portaloo’s made famous by Kenny, and sufficient shade to shelter during the midday sun.
The first band on the agenda was Melodyssy on the Trash Stage.
With a sizable crowd present, Melodyssy dive into a powerful set. Unfortunately, the mix was way too bass driven and overpowered the guitar and vocals. Overall, they managed to please those that stayed around to listen to their whole set.
After The Fall at the Main Stage begin to warm things up with their danceable vibrant set. The crowd was rather tame considering the high energy these guys were putting out. Nevertheless, a masked Mexican wrestler and Barney Rubble made an appearance in the crowd which was duly noted by their front man.
Next in line was Dead Letter Circus and the first sing along of the festival gets started. These guys are professional and could be the next big thing potentially taking over the spot currently held by The Butterfly Effect. The pit was still subdued and only until their front man decided to jump from the stage and acquaint himself with the front row that the energy in the pit picked up. We see the first crowd surfers and the crowd ignites. In a gesture that will make everyone remember them, Dead Letter Circus started to throw multiple bottles of water into the crowd. DLC proclaim that “Sounds Of Spring” is the best festival and that there are “No glow sticks here!!”
Now I will dedicate several more words to the next band for they were, for me, by far the best band in the line up. Mammal exploded onto the stage with Ezekiel Ox wearing a pair of bull horns through the entire first song. The entire pit was electric and fed off every move from the entire band. Mid set things got a little interesting. Mr. Ox pointed to the Australian flag and explained why he did not associate himself with it. He pointed to the Aboriginal flag fixed to his mic and pledged his allegiance to Indigenous Australians. Not ever having associated Mammal with a political stance, it’s a pleasure to see and hear some level of social commentary in such a massive public gathering. Perhaps not the best delivery, considering alcohol and ignorance can lead to violent patriotism, but nonetheless an excellent move. It does not stop there, Mr. Ox decided to dive into the crowd, crowd surf his way to the middle of the pit while signing and carrying on a call and response. Looking forward to documenting this band in the near future.
Shihad, the on again off again band from across the pacific, jump on stage with their trade mark low rider guitars and embark on a greatest hits set. They struggle to get the crowd motivated enough, but it’s a hard task having to follow Mammal. The regulatory sing along is carried out as is the diving into the crowd.
As 5pm approached, the sun begun to set and people begun to tire and the ample grass space was taken over by sleepy bodies. Anticipating the forecasted dust storm, I made my way to a more protected area within the RNA.
Something with Numbers on the Triple J stage was an interesting band. They had the whole tent from the front to the back dancing. In between songs, I was approached by a fairy, which seem to come out a lot at festivals, and given a present. Before she left she said for me to dance and continue having fun.
The Beautiful Girls is a special band that is always well received wherever they play. Two new songs are debuted and near the end of their show they had the crowd singing to a Phil Collins classic. “I can feel it in the air tonight”, “I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life”… very appropriate considering the dust storm that hit Brisbane that night.
Blue King Brown is received by a much smaller crowd then they are used to. They are always cultural, political and acknowledging. The fusion of latin, reggae and rock has made them the premier band in Australia within their genre. However, this is the third time watching this band and although I am a big fan, the format of their performance has been the same the three times I have seen them. My fear is that they will be overexposed and quickly become stale. Nevertheless, they are one of the best Australian independent bands. This reviewer just hopes that something new begins to happen in their shows.
As yet another festival draws to a close, Josh Pyke gently sends everyone home with his beautiful sound.
Overall this was one of the best festivals I have ever attended. The atmosphere was excellent, there were no overly drunk idiots ruining the day for someone else, the punters were very calm and respectful and even with a dust storm that made everything seem apocalyptic, fun was had by everyone. We all await 2010 with anticipation.