"It’s about time we brought back a festival like this."
It’s day three of the Good Things festival circuit. We’re in Brisbane at the Showgrounds. The rain clouds have dissipated. Hangovers from the night before are in full swing. Dress code is band tees, fishnet stockings, OG dad sneakers and one guy in a Slipknot mask. Let’s do this.
Opening the smaller stages, we escape the heat with blistering sets from Ecca Vandal and Brissie locals WAAX. There’s long hair, thrashing guitars and Maz DeVita pacing around the stage delivering a now trademark punk ferocity that quickly fills festival tents. New music is teased and with an album promised in the near future, we think it’s nothing but good things to come for WAAX in 2019.
Sydney metalcore band Northlane deliver the first sizeable mosh over on the main stages, punters braving the afternoon sun after a mandatory pit stop at the sunscreen tent. Or perhaps not as we witness some that’s-not-going-to-be-fun-tomorrow level burns. Doing the Aussie metal scene proud, frontman Marcus Bridge informs the swarm that this is the best Good Things festival they have played and whether or not true, we eat it up. Pyrotechnics, while not doing much to combat the heat, add to the spectacle only to be topped by an explosion of purple confetti raining down during set closer.
Quick drinks break and it’s two big thumbs up to organisers for the lack of queues. Same can’t be said for the merch tents - anyone want to sell us a BABYMETAL shirt? On side two of the main stage, Jordan Dreyer from American post-hardcore band La Dispute is down in the crowd imparting lessons on mindfulness and being self-aware. “It takes so little effort to be concerned with the wellbeing of the people around you.” Hear hear.
The mosh swells. The hype builds. Offerings are raised high to the almighty Fox God. One dude is in a Pikachu hat. BABYMETAL are here. Unabashed J-pop precision meets unrelenting headbanging, we’re throwing simultaneous peace signs and horns into the air by the time they start for what will be one of THE sets of the day. Credit’s gotta be given where it is due, the backing band is tight. Not even the purest of metal snobs could turn their nose up (don’t @ me). There’s circle pit after circle pit and some eager punters try their hand at rowing. Smiles light up the crowd as we all cry out in unison, “Woah, woah woah”. Might just go home now and look up videos on YouTube to learn the choreography.
Then there’s a weird commotion and a tie-dye flash and somehow everyone has been transformed into their angsty 14-year-old selves. Oh, wait no... The Used have just started. It’s all bulk singalongs and hearts bleeding onto the ground here, frontman Bert McCracken conducting the nostalgia-fest from centre stage. With political undercurrents we raise middle fingers in the air as he declares, “Fuck Donald Trump!” and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Snippets of Nirvana and the Playschool theme add to the reminiscing and McCracken who now calls Australia home tells us it’s about time we brought back a festival like this. “I’ve seen the future and it looks like rock’n’roll.” You’re goddamn right, McCracken.
The stage set up means there is no rest of the wicked and Welsh melodic metal heads Bullet For My Valentine bring the fury next. Tearing through a set leaving punters bruised, bloodied and alive, the band prove why fans have turned out in droves. An extended drum solo by Jason Bowld impresses, giving some respite from the relentless moshing, before Tears Don’t Fall and Waking The Demon quite literally wakes the demon within.
There’s more travel but it’s through space not time, as we head to a grungy Irish pub for boozy singalongs with everyone’s mates Dropkick Murphys. The band, hailing from Massachusetts, deliver a roaring set of Celtic-punk hospitality, putting the entire mosh in a collective headlock. Co-frontmen Ken Casey and Al Barr are the ultimate hosts, down in the crowd for most of the set and Casey even cheekily steals the hose from the security guard to spray him back. After copping it in the face on more than one occasion, I think the word we’re looking for here is karma? Bagpipes, accordions and banjos: just ship us up to Boston.
The sun is down and legions of fans are out for All Time Low for more nostalgia. With their radio-friendly brand of rock, it’s damn hooky and they give the people what they came for. Playing to the crowd, Alex Gaskarth tells us that although “Melbourne and Sydney killed it, something feels different tonight” and as Dear Maria, Count Me In rings out, Brisbane finds out how the story at the bottom of the bottle ends.
“What’s up you crazy motherfuckers?!” says Corey Taylor while we question if the lead singer of Slipknot is wearing a grey blazer? It’s been a long day but Stone Sour are here and we can feel the electricity in the air. In a 60-minute set of crowd pleasers, the highlight comes in a solo rendition of Bother, a true testament to the power of Taylor’s voice in whatever form. Through Glass follows as a close second before the stage is invaded by Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Men for closer Fabuless.
One last stint of time-travelling is in the cards, this time back to 1994. It seems everyone in the grounds has packed in to bear witness to punk legends The Offspring play Smash front to back. “Ahhhhh, it's time to relax...” blasts through the speakers and the mosh pit is heaving in anticipation, seemingly about to burst. They smash through the album with Come Out & Play the clear favourite and a cheeky omitting of Self Esteem before cheesy, “Oh, it looks like we forgot one” banter and it is unleashed to round out the album. An encore follows with classic hits Why Don’t You Get A Job, You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid and a cover of AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie which goes over a fair few younger punters’ heads. Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and The Kids Aren’t Alright finish the day in true punk style as we are treated to a little slice of history.
There’s been many a Good Things review plagued with catchy idioms and proverbial phrases featuring the word good. Truth be told we tried really hard not to fall victim but after a day like today you need to call it for what it is. A damn good thing.