I Love Life Festival: The Bennies
The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
September 18, 2016
Support – Life Boats, Cayetana, The Hard Aches, Rozewell Kid, Camp Cope
Pity Sex, High Tension.
I Love Life Festival; the small punk festival which came into the scene last year has come together again in 2016, headlined by The Bennies. A celebration of the thriving punk/indie scene which has sprung up over the years. Featuring acts such as Pity Sex, Camp Cope and High Tension, the festival is a lot like the second album of a band; frustrating missed opportunities along with some great standout moments.
Firstly we had Life Boats, a local Brisbane band who battle through sound issues to regale us with something one can only describe as coming direct straight from the punk band outlet factory. By that I mean there’s really nothing to distinguish them from the countless other indie punk bands which currently play in the scene. Needlessly talking through songs and an endless plug to buy the three shirts they brought on tour, quickly goes from funny, to tragically sad. They do however perform a fantastic cover of The Pixies ‘Where is my Mind?’ which is easily the standout of their entire set; unfortunately while being good, it also highlights the mediocrity of their own material.
From there, I managed to catch Rozewell Kid, a band from the United States who much like most of the bands tonight, battle through varying sound problems which hinder their performance. They do however really win over the crowd, which is more than I can say for Life Boats (ZING) with their shoegaze influenced punk with front man Jordan Hudkins being particularly charismatic. The sound marginally improves in the second half which allows the band to take full advantage of the serious emo vibes they’re throwing out over the crowd.
The next band, is Melbourne’s Camp Cope, who in a relatively short time have gained an extremely dedicated fanbase and if tonight is anything to go by, they’re only going to get bigger from here. From the beginning of their set their fans hang off their every word; sadly sound issues are still a major problem, with lead singer Georgia being very hard to hear at times, which is a shame because she has a wonderful voice. But none of it matters as people continue dancing, kissing, drinking and screaming every single word over the top of the music and carrying any sound issues away in a multitude of voices, creating the first genuinely breathing taking performance of the night. This band is going places fast.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for Pity Sex who usually speaking are a standout to watch perform. But the sound issues are so bad this time around they make their lead singer basically inaudible, which stunts their performance significantly. So ultimately this leaves you wishing you could afford several more drinks and banging your head to the great instrumentals which would only be better if you could, you know, hear the vocals. But hey, at least it’s not Life Boats, right?
From here on, I would just like to say, whoever said “we save the best for last” well, you lied. The best tonight was second last, because I can safely say once again, High Tension, who probably had no business being on this line up fucking killed it. From the moment they started, it was an intense mosh exercise which saw a massive pit open and stay that way for the duration of their increasingly violent set which saw endless crowd-surfing and front woman Karina Utomo performing in the crowd amongst a maelstrom of flying limbs and sweating bodies. It was the highlight of the night and if someone wasn’t a fan of the band before their set, I can guarantee they are now. Please, for the love of unicorns, just see this band live if you haven’t.
But that’s not to take anything away from The Bennies who judging from the plethora of shirts in the venue is the main band everyone powered through a Sunday night to see. Kicking things off with the promise, that I’m about to experience one of the weirdest nights of my life, the band delivers on that promise in spades. Beginning with a tune which quickly transforms the room into a dubstep dance party, before changing gears and morphing their sound into something one can only describe as, modernised contemporary ska, doom metal; their fans turn the place into a frenzied mess of theatrics and debauchery within seconds.
The band themselves fuel most of the action, with their own onstage antics, which sees them all passing on several joints amongst themselves during ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ with lead singer Anty joyously proclaiming their trumpet player couldn’t get enough of the 420. The smell wafts throughout the venue, which causes their fans to light their own collective joints and pervade all of your senses. It’s honestly, inescapable. This unbridled energy and free spirited bogan nature seems to typify the Bennies experience and as such I guess for some people, like me, it’s an acquired taste, but it’s hardly relevant when everyone around me tonight is partying their collective dicks off.
Their set ending with ‘O’ Brother Where Art Thou?’ is a sea of destruction fuelled by alcoholic beverages and drugs with everyone doing their best to lose a limb and any sense of dignity they had left before picking themselves up off the floor and go back to the daily grind of our meaningless, consumer driven lives.
Review by Kaydan Howison
Photo Gallery courtesy Stewart Munro
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