"One photographer's lens has a near-miss with a somersaulting crowd-surfer."
As the first note from Melbourne outfit Stuck Out plays, a wall of bodies runs forward crushing the front row against the stage. There's no barrier and it's every person for her/himself. Whether it's 2016's Fragments or early favourite Evergreen, the classic pop-punk tones, heavy guitar riffs and hard-hitting vocals keep the energy high, and singer Josh Walker laps it all up with the biggest grin.
Things get more intense when it comes to Harbours' turn to rip the venue up. Fans leap onto the stage, grabbing the mic, screaming lyrics into it and then jumping back into the crowd. The small stage makes an intimate environment for fans to connect to their favourite songs up close and vocalist Tory Robertson takes a second to speak about his struggles with mental illness. Encouraging his young fans to seek any help they need, Robertson bursts into song Nothing Stays The Same, walking into the crowd and performing with raw emotion. Ending on hit Pulling Teeth, Harbours are a force to be reckoned with and have developed a strong relationship with their fans.
Now it's time for Brisbane boys Columbus to strut their stuff. Kicking off with Replace Me from 2016's Spring Forever, you'd think they were playing a hometown show considering how passionate this audience is. Major props should be given to frontman Alex Moses as he tries to continue singing despite bodies flinging themselves up on stage and grabbing his mic stand. One photographer's lens has a near-miss with a somersaulting crowd-surfer. Columbus are genuine in their craft, oozing charisma and confidence onstage. Their angsty, emotive pop-punk fills the venue with a zest and fire that never falters.
All the way from Illinois, emo pop-punkers Real Friends take the stage on the final night of their Australian tour. Frontman Dan Lambton has strange-but-joyous onstage banter, telling the all-ages audience, "You have your youth," and asking if he can suck it out of them like a vampire. The band is your stereotypical embodiment of teenage angst and they use it to their advantage with this primarily-young audience, getting the crowd to let all their inhibitions go while screaming Mokena's, "I'm fucking up and getting over it," at the top of their lungs. Sharing their experiences of visiting Doughnut Time and leading the popular "Aussie-Aussie-Aussie!" chant, Real Friends ensure everyone is having a blast, bouncing off each other's energy while distorted guitars and punchy basslines fill the air.
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Taking on a more sombre tone, Lambton talks about the seriousness of looking after yourself and their mental health message is prominent once again, leading into the band's final song Summer. It's really great seeing bands who truly respect and love their fans, wholeheartedly, and the atmosphere inside the venue buzzes with love, friendship and a sense of belonging.