Yours and Owls Festival: Day 1
5th October, 2019
Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW
Featuring: West Thebarton, Eliza and the Delusionals, Burn in Hell, Totally Unicorn and many more…
Another year, another Yours and Owls. This festival has become an iconic mainstay of Wollongong to rival the Towradgi Hump or even the Kiama Blowhole. Far from becoming tarnished with age, it seems to be as lively as ever. However, what is new is the sheer size of the police presence. The amount of police present in their shock trooper gear would make the dictionary definition of ‘highly visible’ blush in embarrassment. Overall it didn’t stop everyone from having a good time and getting loose.
And get loose I did. First stop on the festival roster is by the far best one. Not having seen this band since the release of their new album, the new riffs ricocheted through my mind as Aaron Streatfeild and ex-drummer Mike Bennet sip on cocktails from their very own pop up bar. The show starts in typical fashion; Drew Gardner bursting on stage sans clothes to a chorus of distorted guitars and drunken cheers. Breaking out a massive beer bong (and I mean massive) and all the new hits; the show was intoxicating. ‘Prized Pig’ and ‘A Song for the Deadshits’ fit right in alongside their older tracks and antics; the spastic riffing and hoarse screaming are as good as ever. But, one sad note was hit during the show. This was Lee Nielson’s last performance with the band! I can only hope his future is more fruitful than that of his mangled bass which I saw dispensed among the crowd in tiny piles of wreckage.
Amongst the Rad Stage, there are a lot of gems just waiting to be found. Whether Tapestry is one is yet to be decided, but their style of oldish school post hardcore was endearing. Recalling the “better” moments of Pierce the Veil, this young band from Darwin had no trouble getting the crowd moving. Whether it be hardcore dancing during moments of silence, or staring vacantly during breakdowns, the crowd was awash with anticipation. On stage, it was a different story. The five piece showed amazing maturity and charisma; guitar twirling and hardcore dancing like it was the early 2000s, Tapestry are a young band to watch. Who knows – they might be the creators of the next In Love and Death.
Coming out of the Rad Stage and into the daylight, I caught the rest of Ceres’ set. All my notes say is ‘rock?’ so I can presume I was not impressed. One thought I do remember is how toothless it all is. Moments of “anger” amongst your generic go to pop rock riffs is not something I can say is appealing to me. It all feels so forced; a muted chord strummed louder than the rest and half hearted yell. Where’s the feeling? Where’s the authenticity or character? Crowd was big though so… Who am I to say what’s popular?
Burn in Hell
What did feel authentic though, was Burn in Hell’s untameable rage. Beginning their set with ‘Death to white nationalism. This land was never ceded, always stolen’ is a great way to kick things off on a furious note. Heavy, unhinged, and did I mention heavy? It’s hardcore/deathcore at it’s best. Like Gutter Tactic, there is often a mix up of slow vocal lines that ooze menace, to faster ones that reek only of insanity. The cramped tent saw its fair share of hardcore dancing, where people look like they’re in their own personal Bruce Lee movie, but that was okay. No one was overly violent towards the crowd. I generally do not enjoy deathcore, but this was great. As the band began to end their set, ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Coward’ ramped up in all their noisy, static laden glory. A fitting end; calling fatal violence to racists is, I think, a worthy use of your energy, in the pit, and in life.
The frontman of Rukus sports the iconic punk mohawk. Exactly the mohawk you’re thinking of; he has it, and it’s perfect. In that vein, their music is exactly what you’d think classic punk sounds like. So; if that’s your thing, great. The short songs, the denim vests, the unending, monotone shouts. It’s all there. It was so classic punk, that I felt time and space compress around me in that little tent and squeeze me so hard I shot out of there like a watermelon seed. I was out.
Eliza and the Delusionals
A band so tame they wanted people to ‘get the f in the tent please.’ I was a bit put off, but overall it was fun enough. Simple, fine, indie rock music. Not exactly my thing, but the crowd loved it. I took a stroll to the far back of the crowd and people were bopping and grooving, even outside the tent.
The first thing I noticed is that this band has not one, but four guitarists. Four! I cannot recall, but I do not think even The Ocean has that many. Despite this oddity, they play solid music. Reverend Ray Dalfsen has a really unique voice and it keeps it from being mired in rock cliches. I couldn’t help but smile as he danced on stage; he was having too much fun! Drew Gardner accompanied him playing guest tambourine at one point, as one of the guitarists was off playing maracas. The whole vibe of enjoyability exuded made it hard not to enjoy oneself. It was a microcosm of a party. A welcome addition to the Yours and Owls line up and a welcome way to end my evening.
Stay tuned for Day 2….
Review by Dylonov Tomasivich
Yours & Owls Festival Day 1