If you can find a band that has THAT MANY SINGLES and bangers from a catalogue that they only drew on the last 8 years (!!!), then I will be STUNNED.
Larger Scale Festivals are back on the menu, baby - and Good Things delivered in spades on the live music front. International Artists are back, Aussie artists are punching well above their weight, and the vibe and hunger for these events is truly alive and well.
Brisbane turned OUT - the festival selling out 24 hours in advance - and it showed in the CRAZY lines to get in, to get a drink, to get food etc. It definitely seemed as though the break that was COVID, unfortunately, has put event management logistics back a few years - and punters’ expectations of what a large-scale event is able to be as well - with potentially punters forgetting a little that large-scale festivals were ALWAYS not without hiccups and a real tough one to call on merch, food, drinks etc and how to cater for THAT MANY PEOPLE.
Other than that, the music and entertainment on offer at GOOD THINGS BRISBANE was STELLAR. Let’s get into it!
Teenage Joans: The Adelaide two-piece had the unenviable task of opening the main stages in the main arena of the RNA Showgrounds but were taking to the task with aplomb. The duo bashed through their set, punctuating their songs with exclamations of SLAY - and stories about lead vocalist Cahli Blakers’s sleep paralysis dreams on the plane to Brisbane earlier that morning that involved Lana Del Rey and fearing that she had died, as she couldn’t mute Lana Del Rey in her dreams (note: Del Rey was playing on her headphones)! The set closed with two songs from an as-yet-to-be-released album - where Cahli was surprised by a member of the crowd singing along - amazed that the punter knew the words already!
Kisschasy: Playing for the first time together in seven years, Kisschasy transported us all back to 2005 by playing their entire album United Paper People. The highlight of the set was easily Black Dress; a perfect emotionally charged way to end such a solid performance. A 13-song setlist consisting of the tracks of a 17-year-old album - an incredible nostalgic throwback and testament to the masterful songwriting on United Paper People. It was simply as though they’d never been gone. More Please!
Jinjer: The festival really started in earnest with Jinjer’s ENERGETIC AS FUCK set in the main arena. The Ukrainians took the moment to proclaim that their set today was to “Put in Putin’s ear that we want our Country back!” and with that, Brisbane raised their fists in solidarity with the band.
The band smashed through easily the most technical set on the day - YES, EVEN GOJIRA, YOU HEARD ME. Can we also just take a minute to appreciate JUST HOW GOOD-LOOKING THE ENTIRE BAND ARE, PLEASE? Big bangers Teacher, Teacher!, Pisces and Perennial all found themselves into the setlist, and the mosh began to creep back further and further as the set went on.
Anyway, the vibe was set - and Jinjer were unfortunately over almost as quickly as they arrived, with vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk apologising that they were out of time and wish to be back as soon as possible, saying that they wouldn’t be doing festivals in 2023, so perhaps we could see them on a world headline tour back down under soon!
Millencolin: Millencolin were at Good Things and in Australia for the first time since the release of their 2019 album SOS, and they made good on the time they had, smashing through a tonne of songs (FIFTEEN!) in quick succession. They weren’t here to fuck around, and the BPM of their setlist never sunk below BREAK-NECK SPEED.
The Swedish punks’ sunny punk vibes fortunately matched the actual sun coming back out after it threatened to be rainy through Jinjer’s set. Unsurprisingly, the crowd highlights here were Penguins & Polarbears and No Cigar!. A cracking set, but was about to be eclipsed entirely by something entirely different.
Electric Callboy: Having a little bit of time in between plans after Millencolin, a lazy wander over to stages 3 & 4 for Electric Callboy turned out to be a terrible idea. These reviewers were EARLY to the stage, but even with our early arrival, Electric Callboy’s stage was ENTIRELY PACKED OUT, easily beyond capacity and possibly safe levels of people for the size of this stage/area allocated for the show. We could get no closer than a few hundred metres back from the stage, relegating us to a MOSTLY aural and experiential review of Callboy.
The HYPA HYPA is 100% real, and the band’s fanbase is rabid, energetic and varied. There was a constant stream of people coming back out of the crowd and into the fresh air looking absolutely WHIPPED. There was nothing short of a frenzy to see Callboy - and it seems as though we will be seeing them again very soon. There is gold in those hills for the promoter who brings them out on their next tour.
The setlist was absolutely wall-to-wall EDM metal bangers featuring Hypa Hypa, We Got The Moves, Pump It, Spaceman and more. Absolute SCENES. I cannot stress enough just how MANY people I saw over the course of the rest of the day exclaim that Electric Callboy SHOULD have been on the main stage.
The Amity Affliction: There’s just something so quintessential about seeing a Brisbane The Amity Affliction outdoor show. Easily winning the “Punters wearing a Single band’s merch before doors are even open” award, The Amity Affliction are a rite of passage for QLD heavy music punters at this point. If you haven’t seen them AT LEAST once at an outdoor festival or concert, can you even claim to be a heavy music fan in the Sunshine State?
Having now seen them MULTIPLE times in and outdoors, you simply cannot argue that their songs, their stagecraft, and their production are TOP TIER. They deliver on all levels, regardless of your hot take on their songs. They leave nothing on the field, and it’s something to be proud of that we have them wearing a Maroon Jersey in the State of Origin battle of Aussie bands.
Gojira: Ahhh, the Nightwatchman set. I love this set, and Good Things Festival and Destroy All Lines knew what they were doing programming French legends Gojira at this time on this stage. As the sun was hanging low in the sky and the shadows began to creep over the arena and on the hotel windows’ glass, they took the stage and absolutely set the vibe and bar for quality for the rest of the evening.
Everything about this set was muscular, aggressive, technical and simply a force of nature. As they played Flying Whales, literal inflatable whales came out from the crowd and began to get thrown about. This was a meticulous set, not a note or beat dropped, the sound impeccable, and nary a word wasted in between songs. Flawless. Finishing on L’Enfant Sauvage and Amazonia was a 1-2 punch to the face I didn’t know I needed.
TISM: TISM took the trophy for best outfits of the day, by far. In fact, they took home many trophies, to be honest. “Most Unhinged Set of any band I have ever seen including Rammstein”, “Set most reminiscent of Paul Keating era Australia”, “Most confusing show you would have ever seen if you are younger than 30”, “Best Live Comedy Skit unfolding over the course of an hour-long set at a Festival ever” and more.
Frankly, they bashed through the classics, Whatareya?, Thunderbirds Are Coming out, Everyone else has had more sex than me, Greg! The Stop Sign, Saturday Night Palsy, and (He’ll Never Be An) Old Man River, and these songs weren’t even close to being the highlight of the show.
The set began with the members of the band taking to the stage in silver outfits, replete with 8-10 foot high helium balloons that they kept on for the whole set, which is BATSHIT enough. Behind them, a pantomime played out throughout the set of a set of tradies constructing the TISM sign behind them as the set went on. The tradies took MANY breaks, as is their workplace right, even reading the paper and having a toilet break, and ringing the boss to check details.
Eventually, they finished their job, only for the word to read TISN. They rectified the error by leaning an extra I against the N to resemble a makeshift M. Anyway, the letters didn’t last long before they ended up in the crowd - with punters crowd surfing on the MASSIVE letters. Stop signs, tennis balls, signs with lyrics from their songs, a runaway balloon floating away into the stratosphere and more, you just couldn’t have predicted how this set went, and it could only have come from the minds of THIS IS SERIOUS, MUM. Hopefully, this means that they are back for good. It’d be great to have a band that really didn’t take things so seriously back on the Aussie rock scene!
Nova Twins: With a stage presence worthy of the main stage, Nova Twins brought a power set that showcased their impressive cross-genre fusion. Their dynamic crowd engagement also showed that, though this is their first time to Australia, this wasn’t their first rodeo; you could tell that everyone was having a great time! The highlight of their set was the reasonably recently released Cleopatra, which has all the bite and fire of a venomous cobra.
NOFX: Look, If I am being really honest here about this set - if you were a lifelong NOFX fan, this would have been the day of your life, and it would have been every bit the nostalgic time that you would have wanted. Going into the set, knowing this would be the last time you would ever see them, there would have been many a tear shed, lyrics shouted, and hugs all around, but frankly, as the admittedly most casual NOFX listener possibly present, this set was entirely underwhelming and potentially misplaced at this time slot, after the chaos of TISM.
The energy levels dipped pretty damn hard, and the whole hour or so felt pretty nondescript. Muddy and washy sound marred the set even further, and my friends and I found ourselves wishing that the set would be over soon. Sorry, NOFX. I do wish you well and congratulate you on an incredible career and sphere of influence, and huge fandom. It’s 100% not without huge feats of songwriting and performance the world over, but yeah - today, unfortunately wasn’t your day.
Deftones: It was time to get Goth-Horny for Deftones, and they absolutely didn’t disappoint. After reading complaints online about Deftones’ sound being hit and miss in Melbourne and Sydney, there was at least some concern that this would be the case here too - but not the case! HUGE swathes of sound encompassed the RNA showgrounds, and they kicked off with Genesis - the first track from their most recent album, Ohms.
They ripped through a setlist that spanned all Deftones eras, with tracks coming from Ohms, Diamond Eyes, Around The Fur, White Pony, the self-titled album and Koi No Yokan. Peak Horny for all the goths in the audience took place with Change (In the House of Flies), and everyone imagined themselves in that bath in Queen of the Damned. Peak Horny happened for every old frother beyond the age of 35 as Max Cavalera took the stage to complete Deftones’ set with Headup.
Bring Me The Horizon: To see out the Festival was the UK’s ever-changing, ever-evolving rock/alt/metal phenomenon BRING ME THE HORIZON. With the recent revelation revealed on The Project that their name is ripped straight from the lips of Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of The Caribbean, the 25,000-strong crowd converged on the main arena to witness a hell of a spectacle. The entire show was anchored by the show on their screens behind and around them; a glitching command line, The Matrix-like computer interface and a neo-apocalyptic voice punctuated each song, changing colours and themes as it went.
They tore through Can You Feel My Heart, Happy Song, Teardrops, MANTRA, Dear Diary, Parasite Eve, sTraNgeRs, Shadow Moses, Itch for the Cure (When Will We Be Free?), Kingslayer (a shame that they used backing track for the Babymetal part - it would have been AMAZING to bring out Blood Command’s Nikki Brumen to sing this part!!!!), DiE4u, an acoustic version of Follow You going into Drown, only to come back to drop their encore of Obey and Throne. If you can find a band that has THAT MANY SINGLES and bangers from a catalogue that they only drew on the last 8 years (!!!), then I will be STUNNED.
All in all, Good Things Festival has planted the flag back in the ground for larger-scale, international-artist-led festivals again. Morale was high, fashion was incredible, the sounds a joy to hear in the open air once again, and LONG LIVE LIVE MUSIC!