Knight & Day Festival
Kryal Castle, Ballarat, VIC
December 30-31, 2021
It’s only been just over two years for music festivals to return, and for many of us who were armed and vaccinated, we were ready to end 2021 and bring in 2022 with a bang. Knight & Day Festival, Destroy All Lines’ premier NYE event had all the bells and whistles to make this two full days to remember. And if you missed it? Well, let’s catch you up!
Thursday — Day One
Having the honour of being the festival’s first ever band to play were Melbourne alternative outfit, Terra. Their chuggy blend of pop punk definitely turned a few heads their way in passing when the band began playing their current single ‘Arrows’. Vocalist Cassie Sutton had early risers amped and ready to tackle the heat of the day with her staggeringly infectious performance.
Whoa — things really fired up when these boys hit the stage. Fresh off the release of their debut album, Mirrors sauntered in and addressed the crowd with their mesmerising melodies. Frontman Patty Goodman kept up the pace for the entirety of the performance and demanded no less than br00tal from the audience. The fans were aroused alright and put all their energy into one of the first circle pits of the season.
The Beautiful Monument
After taking solace from the heat in the air-conditioned acoustic room (who else ventured there numerous times throughout the festival?), it was time to get back to the main stage arena for the return of this next act. I can’t remember the first time I saw these ladies live, but their Knight & Day performance was like the first time all over again! When The Beautiful Monument took to the stage, it felt like no time had passed. The band picked up where they left us in 2019 with an endearing performance of their current hits. I love the camaraderie that exists within this band, their stage presence was absolutely one of the standouts from today. Personally my favourites from day one.
Ohhhh-kay. Things just got hotter from here, and I don’t mean by the temperature gauge. Easily the most anticipated performance of the festival (besides headliners Polaris and Parkway Drive) was Australian heavy meme lords Windwaker. Having not played a single show since Good Things Festival 2019, this set was a comeback for the ages. From the minute the boys stepped on that stage, every eye in that castle was on them. Frontman Will King’s growls were prolific, as they jumped back and forth between clean melodies and crunchy riffs built for the festival atmosphere. Playing fan-favs ‘The Sitch’ and ‘My Empire’ alongside the recently released ‘Toxic’ cover, the Melbourne four-piece will have us raving for days on their return. The newly signed Fearless Records act are gearing up for their biggest year yet, and it shows in their performance. I am already in love with their forthcoming single ‘The Beautiful’, and I’m so ready for Windwaker phase 2!
Still gushing in awe from what I just witnessed, I raced over to the indoor stage on the other side of Kryal Castle to catch the rest of Tapestry. Although they were last minute additions to the festival, their presence was welcomed by the many fans and admirers who packed in shoulder-to-shoulder of that tiny band room to catch a glimpse of the band’s first live show in a while. While every Tapestry gig always leaves you with a different feeling, this show was no different. The band’s melodic hardcore tendencies were more evident than ever, and left me drenched with new emotions and love for these former Top Enders.
Justice For the Damned
I would like to personally thank these guys for providing one of the most memorable circlepits in a long time today. In fact, the amount of dust in my system post-festival is probably due to them. The Justice boys kept fans momentum at an all time high, even during the most strenuous heat of the day, and proved that pain is indeed power. That pain then sent me to the food trucks to fuel up for Polaris later that night…
For most metal fans, this point of the festival saw the golden opportunity to grab a feed and a few more bevvies before the evening acts took to the stage. Meanwhile, indie-rocker Alex Lahey brought some festival fine dining entertainment to the day with her lighthearted, left-of-field rock tunes. To be perfectly honest with you, more than a few satiated fans turned up to the pit and were more than enjoying the slight change in style. Proof that not everything has be fast-paced, the next 45 minutes allowed us all to catch up to our senses, re-energise with a feed and soak in the return of the music festival atmosphere.
The line to get into the Abbey Tavern indoor stage was snaking out the venue and around the maze, so I sadly missed out on the mayhem that went on. Luckily we had several Wall Of Sound people on ground at the festival, so here’s what went down inside that tavern, according to fellow writer Adam Rice…
Closing out the indoor stage on day one was hardcore outfit Antagonist A.D. The band was a last minute addition to the festival, which left punters happy as an overcrowded band room moshed from side to side. Despite the tiny stage area, the group were well in their comfort zone as they played old and new tracks. Towards the end of the set, members of the crowd were seen swinging from the rafters. Whether they were trying to take their moshing to the next level or just trying to catch their breath within the overpacked band room, we’ll never know!
The Getaway Plan
While diehard Getaway fans were frothing to hear Other Voices, Other Rooms in full that evening, it was an interesting set to watch for the rest of us. While ‘Shadows’ definitely had most of the arena singing along in unison, much of their set kinda fell short for me. Was the heat finally getting to us all by then? We’ll never know, but the energy just didn’t really match the calibre of acts we’d seen earlier in the day. At least the band’s classic ‘Where the City Meets the Sea’ saw just enough energy from both sides of the stage to make it seem somewhat pleasant.
I will admit right now that Knight & Day was my first ever experience of seeing Polaris live, and boy, they did not disappoint one bit. From their grand entrance onto the stage, the boys tore the imaginary roof off that castle instantly. Between the chuggy, frenetic energy of ‘Masochist’ to the soaring rock sensibilities of ‘Above My Head’, I now see and hear why Polaris are next in line to become the country’s biggest metal exports behind Parkway Drive.
Friday — Day Two: New Years Eve!
If you thought day one had all the heavy and didn’t leave anything for the final day of 2021, think again. Day two proved an even bigger and explosive day of rock, punk and metal and it was kinda hard to keep up at times due to the staggering heatwave thrown at us from mother nature. But here goes…
As the festival’s final addition to the lineup, LUNE opened the day to the enthusiastic, bright eyed party goers that ventured onto the castle grounds early enough. Their dramatic, eerie blend of metalcore set the scene perfectly for what was to come. Playing an onslaught of their current hits, the boys had many heads turn in their direction and up on their feet for the entirety of their set.
These kids played their brand new single ‘Waves’ in their set which saw one of the festival’s strongest vocals of the entire event. Frontwoman Amariah Cook has the most mesmerising stage presence and her vocal performance was astounding that day. I don’t know about anyone else who also caught the band’s show, but Future Static were made for stages of this calibre.
Last time we saw Erin perform on a Destroy All Lines festival, it was on the main stage helping out Simple Plan at Good Things Festival. The former Stateside vocalist has since moved to the Whitsundays and now plays lowkey acoustic covers for a living. Today she brought to Kryal Castle a taste of those acoustic chill sessions to the cool and mellow chamber we sat in to escape the heatwave, and to enjoy some laid back acoustics of course! Sure, it may not have been up everyone’s alley, but who doesn’t love a stripped back rendition of Britney Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time’?
Every festival needs at least one pop punk band to lighten the mood with infectious punk sing-along right? Well, that’s exactly what these next kids brought. Open Door Mgt babies PAPERWEIGHT made their festival debut and can you believe it was only their third show?! Vocalist Haris Dillinger led the four piece with their upbeat, nostalgic pop punk and it really wasn’t too difficult to get into. Although the crowd was small and as the band made tracks with their desirable brand of pop punk, a few more heads were turning in their direction and stayed on for the long haul.
Things were dialed right up to 10 when nu-metalcore outfit Diamond Construct took over the stage though. This band are currently my new favourites right now and their live experience was out of this world. The crowd fed off the band’s energy so easily; the atmosphere in that arena was infectious. Playing a cover of ‘Satisfaction’ only proved that the guys are constantly evolving their sound, and their live shows aren’t ones to sleep on!
I may have left Diamond a little earlier to ensure I made my way into the indoor band room to catch pop punk three-piece Drastic Park. The lads played to a decent sized crowd their recent hits and fan favourites, amidst bringing Terra’s Cassie Sutton on the mic to help out on ‘Work of Art’. Drastic Park brought some much-needed pop punk to the festival and if playing the smaller band room was a test for next year’s mainstage… well, I have high confidence that John Stokes, Chris Tannahill and Joe Larwood passed with flying colours.
I feel like my energy well and truly peaked after Drastic Park because after that, the heat left me zero energy to do not much else. After grabbing a feed at the food trucks (anyone else get those gourmet burgers? SO good!), I kinda wanted to just chill out in some aircon. So went off on a whim to catch The Beautiful Monument’s Lizi Blanco in an acoustic setting. Accompanied by bandmate Amy McIntosh, the girls played what they self-proclaimed would be their one and only acoustic set. And what a time it was!
While I didn’t initially plan on watching The Chats, they were actually quite the entertainment that evening. Not just for me either. There was quite the turnout for them, as they bashed through their short, gimmicky songs about… well, god only knows. Seeing The Chats was like experiencing the Dune Rats without the weed — it was an interesting time, that’s for sure.
Void of Vision
Did the VoV army grow in size since I last saw them? It sure felt that way. Fans came out in droves to catch a glimpse of these guys tonight. Featuring tracks from their recently released EP, Chronicles I: Lust, frontman Jack Bergin led the offering that’s seen their style grow exponentially and it’s pretty evident the boys are gearing up to tackle even bigger stages in the near future. But wait, there’s more — Bergin called for an EPIC wall of death, which went down spectacularly.
Celebrating their acclaimed record Opera Oblivia, Sydney’s Hellions served fans a musical delicacy by playing back-to-back the record in its entirety. Finishing with an extravagant display of streamers following an encore performance of their hit ‘X’ from 2018’s Rue, it was hard not to be fully immersed in the present.
Opening with their huge comeback of a single ’27 Club’, Trophy Eyes surprised everyone (including us) by kicking off their set with a wall of death. Huge! The boys’ return to the stage was welcomed with open arms as frontman John Floreani winded us up with latest single ‘Bittersweet’ before going full send with ‘You Can Count on Me’ and Chemical Miracle classic ‘Daydreamer‘.
HOLY WOW! From the opening notes of ‘Wild Eyes’ right through to the countdown to midnight, Parkway Drive tore shit up and transformed the Knight & Day stage into the gates of hell. They played ‘Chronos‘ for the first time EVER in Australia which was the last song punters heard before 2021 turned into 2022. Parkway also threw back to the Byron Bay Hardcore days with ‘Boneyards‘ making an appearance after five years off the setlist and banger tracks like ‘Sleepwalker‘ and ‘Karma‘ back to back.
But everyone’s phone camera was in the air, waiting to get a glimpse of what drummer Ben Gordon would do during this show. Which didn’t happen until the clock ticked over to midnight. This was the NYE event we’d been waiting for. With the stage lit up and surrounded by flames, the moment where you saw Ben drumming while spinning in a 360-degree motion, seemingly in midair and upside down. It was truly an ICONIC moment. Welcome to 2022, Parkway style.
A legendary NYE that’ll go down in the metal history books, Knight & Day Festival draws up the gates to the castle on its premier event until next year. What a huge couple of days to experience though. It’s one we won’t be forgetting anytime soon, that’s for sure. See you next year!
To relive all the action from the festival as it happened – follow our Instagram page and check out our Story Highlights to see what we saw! Also, stay tuned for some very special content from Knight & Day Festival that was produced for a new project we’re going to be launching a little down the track… you heard it here first!
Festival Review by Tamara May @citylightstam
Photo Gallery (don’t judge me) by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul