Hotter Than Hell
Coopers Alehouse Gepps Cross, Adelaide SA
February 2nd, 2019
Featuring: Spiderbait, Jebediah, Magic Dirt, Bodyjar and Glass Tides
It was a warm 38 degrees in Adelaide for the next stop on the Hotter Than Hell Festival tour, and if you haven’t heard of it before this festival takes Australia’s alternative royalty around the country to some of the most unsuspecting venues. And here we have it in Gepps Cross probably one of the more bogan suburbs in Adelaide, but really, when there’s good music who cares?
Walking into the venue toward some huge trees, we have tables and chairs in a cluster in front of a couple of food truck and tents. Lining the perimeter are the bars, first aid and merch. And further back, the stage. If you paid VIP, you were absolutely laughing because the two storey bar featured shade, seats and a bang on view of the stage.
Glass Tides had the tough job of being first on stage and they played with good energy. It was hard to convince the crowd to leave their tables and staked out pieces of shade to join them but a small group of people lined the barrier and gathered closer. Playing quite a few songs from their recent EP, ‘Empty Thoughts’ was a great opener, followed by ‘Faded’ and ‘Freedom’. The boys joked about heat and then played on through the sweat.
Bodyjar, maybe one of Australia’s most loved pop/punk bands from the 90s, came out on stage and with the swelling crowd came the mist cannons. These life-saving machines were set up on each side of the stage blasting mist with force across the crowd. Through each song, from ‘Sequel’ all the way to ‘Racist Friend’ Bodyjar barely paused until their set finished. People were hurrying through the gates to get to the stage front and these guys didn’t need to urge the crowd to join in singing, it was a singalong right the way through. ‘Not The Same’ saw a sea of hands in the air and was a definite crowd favourite along with ‘A Hazy Shade Of Winter’ and ‘One In A Million’. There’s something about the pace Bodyjar play at and their easy harmonising that speaks to how easy performing and playing live seems to come to the band.
There was a feedback whine as Magic Dirt took to the stage before they dropped into ‘Feels Like A Demon’ and damn, Adalita’s voice was incredible as always. The festival vibe turned from singing and shouting the lyrics to people singing to their companions and dancing with randoms. Adalita regularly paused to chat to the crowd and ask fans names who stood out to her and introduced themselves to everyone, adding “For those of you who do know us, thank you for coming and we have missed you!”. ‘Dirty Jeans’ had everyone singing to each other and one man dressed as a pirate took special delight in holding up his skull and crossbones flag and ‘Aarrr-ing’. A fan also threw Adalita a small toy dinosaur which she stuck on her microphone stand and named Basil. ‘Plastic Loveless Letter’ was a huge hit and the band invited people from the crowd on stage to dance. There were sweat and smiles all round. Finishing on ‘She-Riff’, they left the stage to cheering and whistling.
Jebediah played like a younger band; totally still in love with performing and interacting with the crowd with huge smiles on their faces. Opening with ‘Jerks of Attention’ vocalist Kevin Mitchell sang with his face upturned to the microphone while punters crowd surfed. Their set really brought the energy up as the sun ducked behind a building and the crowd was released from the worst of the heat. ‘She’s Like A Comet’ and ‘Leaving Home’ were one of the many hits played and the crowd was so absorbed in the music that they lifted up a woman in a wheel chair multiple times so she could enjoy a visual of the band. Ending on “the dumbest song we’ve ever written”, ‘Teflon’, Jebediah put on a stellar performance.
And the final band, Spiderbait, had the advantage of dusk and a loose crowd working to their favour as they flew into ‘Straight Through The Sun’. And boy, is this band loved. There were people dancing, yelling, even jumping on the free water tank, it was a sight. And Spiderbait really know how to build their audience as well, they played with fading out and fading in, and adding bridges to songs that extended the climax. It’s impressive when you realise that most of their songs barely make three minutes. Every track hit home, notably ‘Fucken Awesome’, ‘Calypso’ and ‘Footy’. Closing (of course) with ‘Black Betty’ it was a song that they managed to extend for a decent 10 minutes. An impressive set and a great end to Hotter than Hell.
Hotter Than Hell is a well put together festival: great food, short drink lines, shade, mist cannons and free Coopers hats! The set times may have been a bit too much though. Aside from Glass Tides who played for 40 minutes, Bodyjar, Magic Dirt and Jebediah all played for an hour. Spiderbait played for an hour and a quarter, in the heat. It was an enormous effort from both the bands and the audience, and maybe should have been adjusted due to the weather. Regardless, it was a hugely successful day and at least the beers ran cold.
February 2nd was literally hotter than hell, and to that we say well played.
Festival Review by Ebony Story
Photo Gallery by Josh McCawley @joshmccphoto
Please credit Wall of Sound and Josh McCawley if you repost photos