Dead of Winter Festival
Fortitude Valley, Brisbane QLD
July 7th, 2018
Featuring: Frenzal Rhomb, Polaris, Pagan, Ocean Grove, Flangipanis, Sensaii, Being Jane Lane, Dad Religion, Deadlights, Osaka Punch and heaps more.
Damnnn, kinda kicking myself for not attending a Dead of Winer Festival until this year because goddamn I’ve been missing out, and so have you if you’ve passed up the opportunity to check out some great local and international acts. The event is spread out across two venues in the same vicinity so if you were wanting to catch a band up the other end of the street, you’d have to leave early and sprint to make it in time to get a good spot. That’s the only downfall I came across for the whole event, but it’s my fault for being a fat piece of shit who can’t run 10 meters without getting a stitch. The day started rather late after two mates unfortunately left their tickets on the Gold Coast (we’ve been there), but with the help of technology and phones we were all able to enter using a pic of the QR code… why am I telling you this Shinfo you may ask, well in case you make the same mistake in future, I can confirm it works. Anyway…
We made our way to The Tivoli just after 4pm to see hardcore heroes Sensaii open up with a promising set of tracks from their back catalogue including ‘Dig Deep‘, ‘Wretched‘, ‘Egress‘, and ‘Breakout‘. Frontman Rowan Herbert worked the crowd/stage like a seasoned veteran with guitarist/vocalist Shaun Switzer taking control of the clean vocals. Guitarist Chris Burt‘s solos sound so much better in a live setting with bassist Kerry Rowe running all over the joint like a man lost in the music. It all wouldn’t have worked without James Hart bashing away on the kit with one of the biggest smiles on his faces. Having seen the band through the years with their numerous lineup changes, it’s safe to say the current roster is the band at it’s full potential and each musician just gels well and bounces off each other. The guys closed with new single ‘Bipolar Bears‘ which certainly got the crowd amped up for the rest of the day.
Following these lads I did my best to run (ha!) back up to the Jubilee Hotel to catch the end of Dad Religion, a tribute to the punk icons Bad Religion featuring Lindsay McDougall and Gordy Foreman from Frenzal Rhomb, Grant Relf and Cameron Baines of Bodyjar and Stevie Williams from Clowns. I only made it in time for the final song which, for the older generation of punk fans, went fucking off. It’s at this point I looked around and realised the punk rock scene in Brisbane is fucking huge and much bigger than I anticipated. There’s obviously your hardcore punk lovers (with spiked up hair and knee-high boots) who have been in the game for years only to come out for events like this and the new generation covered head to toe in tattoos and piercings with bright coloured hair and patchless denim vests. The whole community was looking out for each other and (from all accounts that I saw) there was no trouble around.
The punk rawk continued with Flangipanies hitting the stage much earlier than expected as frontwoman Jodie Lawlor came out to tell the mass array of fans who packed into the Jubilee carpark to see them that they were ready to play. But being the legends they are they waited until their set was supposed to start for the stragglers. Cue the rest of the band joining her onstage, all kitted in their bridesmaid dresses in honour of their new album (Always the Bridesmaid) and immediately began shooting toilet paper into the crowd via personalised blower guns. Quality tracks like ‘My Period is Late‘, ‘Shitty Amps‘, ‘Noise Complaint‘ and ‘I’m Drunk So What Fuck You‘ sent the crowd into a frenzy with guitarist/backup vocalist Josh Murphy smiling like a Cheshire cat as he swayed about the place. This band are exceptionally fun both live and through their music and they NEED to be seen and heard by the masses. Unfortunately, this was the band’s final show for a bit of time as Johnny the drummer is set to undergo some medial work. We wish him and the gang all the best and look forward to their return to the stage.
After a short drinks break we made our way back to the Jubilee carpark for Clowns just as frontman Stevie Williams had thrown himself into the crowd for a spot of surfing. The thing about this band is, there’s always some hectic shit going on, either on stage or in the moshpit and this was evident when people were bashing into each other and moshing like there was no tomorrow. Having seen the band about 4 times now, they, like a fine wine, get better with age (not to mention help you get drunk quicker too). Hands down one of the best live bands in the country, if you haven’t jumped on board yet, you’re fucking missing out.
Another run (waddle) took place straight after as we raced back up to The Tivoli to get as close to the stage as possible Pagan who just released their fantastic debut album Black Wash on Friday (our review here). The pressure was on to see if the band could capture the loud, aggressiveness of the record on stage and goddamn they nailed it. Frontwoman Nikki Brumen screamed her lungs out while bassist Dan Bonnici thrashed about the place like a man on fire. The Tivoli’s stage is quite large when you’ve got such a small amount of people using it, but the band made the most of their time and space utilising as much of it as possible. Nikki threw herself to the ground and acted out what can only be described as a black metal exorcism, only to jump back up, teeth grinning and screams aplenty. Standout tracks from the set included new single ‘Silver‘, ‘Imitate Me‘ and ‘Death Before Disco‘. The band surprised the audience by telling us all they were playing a secret, surprise show at crowbar at exactly 1am. Pretty sure the majority of attendees crammed into the joint later in the night to get a second glimpse at this fast-rising, unstoppable metal force. [Revisit frontwoman Nikki Brumen co-hosting Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall here]
Upstairs at the Jubilee’s Riffs and Licks stage for Gold Coast upcomers Being Jane Lane and holy shit, everyone had packed their way in to catch the ladies (and fill in gent) play through some moody, melodic punk rock hits. Riff-master Phoebe Chim slayed the stage while frontman Teigan Le Plastrier belted her heart out to the audience with her raw sounding emotive vocals. The best way to explain the band’s style is like a slightly slower/toned down version of WAAX, but what they lack in pace, they make up for in lyrical content, especially with their 2017 single ‘Sailboat‘ which drew the most praise and attention from the punters. Definitely keen an eye on these ladies, they’re going places.
Ocean Grove hit the Tivoli stage just before 9:30 and pulled an impressive crowd of young and old keen to check out the nu-metal revivalists jump about the stage playing loud, heavy music. ‘Intimate Alien‘ went off, as did ‘Stratosphere Love‘ and even Dale Tanner‘s haircut (a front mullet) scored a few mentions form those around me. The band released their debut album The Rhapsody Tapes last year and have since blown up big time, their set hasn’t changed much since their Download Festival slot and Limp Bizkit support earlier this year so we’re definitely hanging out for some new material, at least at the live shows. Still, I can guarantee the boys brought in a new bunch of fans after their hour-long set.
A long walk back down the road to catch some of Frenzal Rhomb‘s set and it was packed tighter than a tin of tuna. You couldn’t even make it in a few feet from the entrance as it seemed everyone wanted to catch an up-close glimpse of the Aussie punk rock veterans. ‘You Are Not My Friend‘ resulted in a mass sing-a-long while the banter between frontman Jay Whalley and guitarist Lindsay McDougall had the fans cheering them on. It was great (even if only briefly) seeing the band play a music festival in Brisbane without any member injuring themselves this time, yes, talking about drummer Gordy Foreman breaking his hand at Sounds of Spring back in 2009 as Jay told us recently.
Last but certainly not least was Polaris who managed to pull a pretty fuckin decent crowd into The Tivoli all on their own, considering the last time they played the venue was supporting Parkway Drive on their Horizons Tour last year, proving that these guys are fucking unstoppable. Songs from their album The Mortal Coil like ‘Consume‘ and ‘Lucid‘ drew big cheers and this fat old bloke even ventured into the mosh for some circle pit action during ‘Regress‘ The fanboys and girls loved every second of the show with even a few older patrons at the back soaking in the music and nodding their heads along. As usual, epic show closer ‘The Remedy‘ forced everything to get moving, especially during that short break in the breakdown. The band sadly departed the stage amidst chants from everyone to come back on. I don’t need to say it anymore do I? Polaris are fucking one of the best heavy bands we have in this country and it is bloody beautiful watching them grow and progress over the years.
By the time we all eventually left the Tivoli, those of us who were up for it, ventured back to the Jubilee to catch the end of Osaka Punch, who had pulled an impressive crowd of their own, given the time and space they were playing. I gave it about 3 songs before I left to hit up Pagan‘s surprise show at Crowbar, but next time those lads need to be on much earlier to be fully appreciated by the masses.
All up Dead of Winter was a bloody great day out. There’s plenty of food stalls covering all tastes and dietary requirements, there were makeup displays which at one point featured a woman with a monster’s mouth complete with sharp teeth, covered in blood. It was awesome and as I mentioned, despite the distance between venues, it was one of the best, small sized festivals I have had the pleasure of attending. Well done to all the team on such a breezy and successful day. If you’ve been putting off attending, next year is the time to change that.
Festival Review by Browny @brownypaul
Dead of Winter Festival
Being Jane Lane