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The Top 8 Highlights From SCHEMA Festival 2019

SCHEMA Festival
Saturday 16th November 2019
The Brightside & The Valley Drive In, Brisbane QLD

After its debut success in 2018, SCHEMA Festival lit up the valley for its second year this weekend. Put on by SCHEMA Collective, a not-for-profit organisation run by a bunch of local musicians, SCHEMA Festival is about good music, mental health awareness and good times. A mix of local and interstate bands played to fans who braved the blistering heat and here is who we got sweaty watching…

#8 – Novus

Playing very early on to a crowd that was mainly media, crew and other bands didn’t stop the Gold Coast lads from bringing everything they had to their set. Frontman Dean Ross-Swaver made sure everyone at The Brightside came right down to the front (going so far as to single people out of the crowd), and their unwavering energy and ferocious metalcore started the day on the right foot.

#7 – All Hours

Bringing the early 2000s punk-pop vibes, Brisbane’s All Hours is a great time. Vocalist Dani O’Grady transitions effortlessly between clean vocals and guttural screams, making them sound like Paramore on steroids. Their latest single which is a cover (and in my humble, heavy music-loving opinion, an improvement) of Amy Shark’s ‘I Said Hi’ was a treat live. Maybe the band was a victim of sound issues, or the crowd was still struggling with the heat, but a little something was missing.  But seeing as the rest of the band only joined Dani in 2018, they have plenty of time to find their feet. Give these guys another 12 months, and you’ll be seeing them on plenty of big stages and line-ups.

#6 – Awake In Time

These guys fell victim to the strange phenomenon that is The Valley Drive In that seems to somehow suck the life out of the crowd, which was such a shame! The band blend metalcore, punk and hip hop and their set is varied in sound and tempo with huge guitar riffs, rapping and even a bit of a ballad with ‘Turn Another Leaf’. Vocalist Alex Nelson desperately tried to get the crowd to liven up and it while was clear that they were enjoying the set, no one moshed which was disappointing because they deserved a pit. I will be getting along to see these guys at another venue because I think their set deserved more than it got.

#5 – Virtues

Continuing the day in the most ferocious of ways was more metalcore with Brisbane’s Virtues. Their set was the first proper pit I witnessed with the punters finally getting into the spirit. Throughout the day I saw heaps of people with Virtues shirts on and the set was filled with crowd participation with vocalist Wade Felsch handing the microphone to the crowd several times. People are pretty into Virtues, and it’s not hard to see why.

#4 – Strange Fiction

In the craziest set of the day, Strange Fiction brought Hardcore and fun along with a crew of friends and fans. Dressed in costumes, including a concerningly short Sailor Moon outfit the band aren’t all gimmick, they are talented, and their set was intense and energetic. They even threw in a sneaky Every Time I Die cover who I am assuming from their tattoos is a band they are huge fans of.

They also seem like really good dudes, donating all sales of their shirts that day to the bush fire relief and being front row in the crowd of pretty much every other band that day.  Special mention to Mitch Bruce who the band credit on Facebook as an official member as the ‘Shooey Shark’. While it is no secret shooeys are not my thing, it is a bit more entertaining when they come from a bloke wearing a hammerhead shark suit who does a great job of delivering shooeys to the crowd and band and being an excellent hype man.

#3 – Fang

Far out this band is good! Delivering a super polished and professional set, they finally got the crowd at The Valley Drive In hyped and moving. Their songs are passionate, and their performance and talent compliment. I have fallen in love with their badass Bassist Danika Ruohonen whose bass parts are intricate and technical. She even headed down into the photo pit to have a beer while playing and didn’t miss a note. After the weekend, I have made a note to check these guys out as much as I can.

#2 – Void Of Vision

This was my second time seeing these guys, and they did a great job of headlining. Saying that this set was the longest they had ever played, they were just as energetic as last time I saw them. The crowd was big, and they made sure the pit kept going. Fans brought their moshing A game with some interesting but passionate dance moves. ‘Ghost in the Machine’ saw a huge circle pit and vocalist Jack Bergin wouldn’t let it slow down at all. The set was ferocious, frantic and an incredibly good time. Void Of Vision are a band I will make sure I catch any time I can, and they are very deserving of the success they are enjoying.

#1 – Windwaker

This was the set I was most excited for, and it did not disappoint. I am only new to Windwaker and have been really into their songs since first hearing them. In true form, I  have officially become obsessed. In the time that I have taken to write this review, I have listened to ‘My Empire’, ‘The Sitch’ and ‘Colourless’ at least four times each. Speaking of ‘Colourless’, Saturday night’s performance of it was an extra special, but sombre one with founding member Liam Guinane set to leave the band to focus on his other band Reside.

Even though they battled sound issues, the band are just so talented, and Will King’s soaring vocals rang through the night at the outdoor stage.  I also ensured I had an excellent vantage point to watch Jesse Croft’s fingers blur during the shredding guitar solos. The cover of Silverchair’s ‘Freak’ was a fun addition to the set.

Windwaker made sure the crowd lost their shit with Will telling us many times that he wasn’t impressed yet and we would have to do better and ramp it up. By the time the set finished, Windwaker had everyone primed and ready for Void Of Vision. I cannot wait to see these guys again at Good Things Fest, and I will be making my friends come because everyone needs to get into this band.

SCHEMA Festival was hot and sweaty but in a good way. I can’t wait for next year’s instalment of the festival that does essential work while ensuring everyone has a great time. Next year make sure you get along to support amazing bands and a good cause.

Words by Caitlin MacDonald @cait_2tone

Photo Gallery by Tamara May @citylightsTAM
Please credit Wall of Sound and Tamara May if you repost images.

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