Live Review: pushover 2012

1 April 2012 | 8:08 am | Brendan Hitchens

More Parkway Drive More Parkway Drive

Nestled amongst a long weekend of high-profile festivities, Push Over casts a distant shadow. With lower profile acts, but displaying devotion to exposing the country's finest musical talent, this all-ages festival discreetly celebrates its 20th year in existence. Set on the historic site of Abbotsford Convent and spread across three distinct stages, the Melbourne weather shines down warmly offering its blessing.

Eagle & The Worm open proceedings playing an outdated style of music with brash negligence. Their influences of The Beach Boys, The E Street Band and (early) The Rolling Stones go largely over the audience's heads. However, true to their Good Times album mantra, the band engage the crowd from start to finish. Radio favourites Futureman and All I Know get the warmest responses and have the early crowd moving. On what this scribe deems to be largely a safe line-up, Eagle & The Worm's distinctiveness shines.

Adelaide band Dangerous! skipped the formalities of establishing a local name for themselves and instead went straight to Los Angeles to record for Epitaph. It doesn't take long to work out why. Full of energy, the band instantly win over an unfamiliar audience thanks to their pop punk and rock'n'roll sass. Singer Tommy Lofts spends the early part of their set divided between the stage and the crowd. With its party-rampage mentality, the music is disposable. But, for this moment, it works.

Dangerous - Pushover 2012

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Escaping the rays of the mid-afternoon sun, the inside stages play host to a combination of breakdancing, MCing and Battle Of The Bands contests. Local rappers AiL and Dylan Joel spruik their poetics while Money For Rope's dual drum assault overwhelms many. 

Like Dangerous!, Tonight Alive prove why they already have an international recording deal. Formidable singer Jenna McDougall, who at just 19 years of age wouldn't be out of place in the audience, ably leads the band. Handpicking tracks from their debut album and recent EP, the Sydney band verge on pop punk perfection; short, simple, sugar-coated songs. Their cover of Mumford & Sons' Little Lion Man is a stand out, as is radio single Wasting Away. With Push Over, the dream warm-up, nailed, the band will now return to the States to play two-and-a-half months of festival shows on the Warped Tour.

Melbourne battle rapper-turned-social media prophet 360 has fast become a festival favourite. His mix of introspective and irreverent lyricism has the young crowd, fitted out in his merch, singing along word for word. In a short set, he plays nothing but hits, mostly from his platinum-certified album Falling And Flying. As the end of the set nears, special guest Gossling appears for her featuring stint on Boys Like You. Against a reggae-inspired backbeat, the two bounce off each other demonstrating a partnership rivalled only by Gotye and Kimbra. Although his sidekick Pez may have already penned The Festival Song, every song 360 plays today could well share this title.

Push Over seems the ideal send-off for Parkway Drive, who gear up to play the final date in a month-long tour and also their only Melbourne show. While Byron Bay may be their fixed address, the road is their home. Forging their name through an exclusive all-ages policy, having just sold out the Warrnambool Football Club days prior, the crowd is a mixture of just that; people of all ages. As soon as guitarist Luke Kilpatrick strikes his first chord, the “No Moshing Or Stage Diving,” sign is rendered useless. Security have their work cut out for them as flailing teenage bodies constantly float over the barrier. Let's hope they're being compensated by (at least) time-and-a-half public holiday pay! Horizons, the band's second album, debuted at number six on the ARIA Album Chart and its follow-up, Deep Blue, came in at number two. Chances are their next record will top the charts if the new track they preview today is anything to go by. Taking the best parts of the hardcore and metal sub-genres and adding melody to their choruses, Parkway Drive have mastered their own sound. Mid-set they play Home Is For The Heartless from their most recent record. On the album, Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph Records boss Brett Gurewitz handles chorus vocal duties, but today the capacity crowd more than suffice. Singer Winston McCall's throat is strained and his guttural screams seem more potent than ever. The audience is happy to accommodate with some ad-libbed karaoke. They pull out Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em from their 2004 EP, a track so fresh yet surprisingly already eight years old. They save Carrion for a conspicuous encore and the crowd respond accordingly, leaving no ounce of energy behind. The crescendo to a long and dynamic day, Parkway Drive justify the $40 ticket price in just 40 minutes.