If I could put the feeling of heat into words, I would, but there is not enough force in letters to express just how scorching the blistering sun was as we all made our way into Good Things Festival on Friday morning.
Besides the heat, I have nothing but “good things” to say about this day (a pun which I’m well aware has been overused on social media this week, but I don’t really care!)
As I made my way into the venue I couldn’t help but run around like a little kid in awe of the layout, it pleased me almost immediately as I approached the main stages and looked out across the empty plane. From the shaded tents to the misty showers, it had the feel for a day of heat and sweat. With food trucks and stalls set up on the outer skirts, catering for all the vegans to the hungry carnivores there was enough choice to please anyone.
With the first band about to start, I made my way over to stage 2 and got ready for the beginning of this beautiful festival. Without any hesitation, the local boys from the East, Stuck Out, took to the stage and set the bar for all bands to follow. These boys put on a show and half, really proving why they deserved to be here opening up the first ever Good Things. An experience I’m sure none of them will ever forget.
Within seconds stage one lit up as the fellow Melbourne based band Void Of Vision exploded onto the stage. Here’s a band that could pull anyone just by pure curiosity, which is exactly what I found happened as the crowd suddenly grew bigger and bigger within minutes. The tight sound that these guys have produced over the years shows in their performance and I never get sick of watching them bring everything they’ve got to the floor.
I then decided it was time to get some food and make my way over to the other side of town, stages two and four. On my way over I couldn’t help but be blown away yet again by another incredible set up of food stalls, clothing stations and even barbers. Everything perfectly set up to keep you feeling fresh and protected in this skin burning weather. Not to mention an ice cream station well worth the 45-minute wait.
Finally making my way over to stage four I was ready to hear an English band I’d only ever heard great things about, Boston Manor. Although I only managed to catch their last few tracks, I was drawn in by their mesmerising sound and lyrics. Their strong stage presence and crowd participation showed me just why so many people made their way over to catch these guys, definitely at the top of my list of bands to listen to after this killer performance.
It was now time to run back to stage 1 to see another powerful Aussie band take the stage, a band whose sound has grown into being one of the finest in the hardcore scene. Northlane took the stage with force and a particular highlight of mine was their new track “Vultures,” which literally had the stage light up with fire. Something I don’t think anyone was expecting in this near 40-degree heat, but that didn’t stop the crowd from going even harder than before. I could honestly watch these guys all day, so I couldn’t help but jump into the mosh at the end screaming along to the classic “Quantum Flux.”
After only being on the grounds for about three hours, I was already about eight bottles of water down and I swear the sweat poured out of my skin quicker than it went in. So, it was time to have a break and sit on the side for La Dispute. Here’s another band that I’ve constantly heard about but never taken the chance to listen to. After looking at videos since then I can see just how far they have come from playing in the likes of basements/small venues to being on the big stage at a festival like this. The song “king park” was a perfect representation of why they were here. Overall it was a very emotional set and the way they closed with the lead singer in the crowd singing “Such small hands” was so bittersweet and heartbreaking, something I honestly won’t forget.
One thing I’d like to note is how quickly the change over was for each band, there was almost no delay and I really felt it kept a lot of people on their feet despite the heat.
Now what came next I surely wasn’t expecting and I’m still in shock as to what I saw as I write this. Baby Metal was something out of this world. I felt like I’d just stepped into another dimension of music and I didn’t know whether I liked it or not at first, but boy did it grow on me. Seeing 3 young Japanese girls, singing and dancing in a choreographed fashion along to old school metal is something I never thought I’d ever see, yet here it was! Despite being in full costume they barely broke a sweat and were vocally on point, the crowd really soaked in this whole performance.
Several more bottles of water down and a run through the misty showers, had me cooled down and excited to see The Used. Here was a band that back at the 2012 Soundwave blew my bloody mind, so I had even higher expectations which I learnt very quickly I didn’t need to have, as they delivered an equally moving performance. As soon as their lead singer Bert walked onto the stage the rest was history and the crowd was written in it. It was a nostalgic set as they played songs of old, such as “The taste of ink” and “All that I’ve got” which were absolute crowd pleasers having everyone jumping and screaming the words back. But “I caught fire” was definitely my highlight of their whole set, singing the line “And I’m melting” over and over again couldn’t have been more relevant on a day like this.
Next came the one clash I was torn between, Tonight Alive and Bullet For My Valentine. I watched the first few songs of Bullet and what I did see here was easily one of the tightest bands of the whole day. Although I’ve seen them twice before over the last 10 years, they seem to get stronger as a band year by year. While they knew songs off the album “Gravity” were equally as well written and performed, nothing could compare to one of the greatest albums of 2010, “Fever.” The crowd’s energy grew as these classics began to show and I really wish I’d stayed to watch “Your Betrayal” but from what I heard it went off and everyone loved it.
As I headed over to stage 3 for the first time all day, I knew just what I was in for and I got exactly what I expected and more. Tonight Alive was just as alive today as they were back when I first saw them in 2012. What I found incredible about their set was how well they all owned that stage in their own way, each band member firmly grounded and yet at the same time in perfect connection with the crowd. They seem nearly flawless, whether it be a festival like this or on a headline tour, they know how to make the space their own. As their set comes to an end, vocalist Jenna McDougall has nothing but love for her fans and doesn’t fail to express it, speaking words of strength and compassion, encouraging everyone to love themselves and to take care of one another, as they all leave the stage.
Switching straight over to the next side of the stage, I felt myself slip into my emo phase of 2008 as Mayday Parade opened with “Jamie All Over.” This is a band that defines sadness, yet today all I could see was endless smiles as the crowd of people watching screamed almost every lyric back, to nearly every song they played. This had to have been their strongest performance to date in Australia, not just a sad slow band that they seemed to only once be, they brought even more energy than any show I’d seen of theirs before.
I finally decided to take another break, have a decent feed and relax for a little bit. So far this day was shaping up to be one of my favourite festivals I’d ever attended. The amount of effort that has been put into making this work for almost every single person is incredible and it wasn’t only the people attending that noticed this. The number of bands/artists that commented on how exciting it was for Australia to have its own festival again, born and bred here, was amazing. The efforts of all involved with setting this up certainly didn’t go unnoticed by anyone.
It was now time to take it back to the main stage, where I caught the end half of the ever exciting All Time Low. And oh man do these guys know how to put on a fun show! Despite the heat and everyone already being on their feet for over 6 hours now, no one was being stopped from having a good time during this set. (Well If you’re into them that is of course.) What I’ve always loved about ATL is how much they actually enjoy performing and being where they are, you never see a frown or any form of displeasure. They’re just a bunch of dudes, here for the ride, letting life take them on an adventure. They’re not afraid of getting up close and personal with the crowd, while at the same time singing words that nearly everyone can relate to. Closing their set with “Dear Maria” created an echo that seemed to fill that field, being sung aloud by even those, not into the band. It was a beautiful way to send them off.
Now I wish I could say I’d listened to a lot of Stone Sour over the years, but the sad truth is I haven’t, and I honestly don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life. Right now, I don’t know what words to put together to even nearly explain their performance tonight. I’ve seen Slipknot perform twice before and Corey Taylor was of course beyond incredible, but the way I saw him perform last night was just… So raw, natural and perfect. For the now 45-year-old his talent can’t really be described, it just has to be experienced and I’m so glad I got the chance to take it all in tonight. He is one of the greatest for a reason and I really understand that now. Not to mention the rest of the band who are just as equally skilled in their own right, such a the rhythm guitarist Josh Rand who stays so cool, calm and collected while at the same time letting it rip. As well as the lead guitarist Christian Martucci, who joined the band only a couple of years ago for one reason only: he’s DAMN good. Not a bad word could be said about their performance and if anyone did have any such words, they’d be lying. I don’t know about everyone else, but I was lost in a trance for that whole hour and I only wish it could have lasted forever.
The day was finally coming to a close and there was only one way left to go. With The Offspring taking us back to the days of the good, old school, punk rock, you honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the night. With a band like this that’s been around for over 30 years, you’re going to have nothing but a good time. With songs that everyone just knows, from some point in their life. Whether it be by your parents or your friends, everyone was introduced to them with their own little stories and that’s what makes bands like this so great. From the get-go, these 50 something-year-old dudes let loose on the stage, without a single care in the world for their age or for what anyone thinks of them. Vocalist Dexter Holland still able to belt out with that distinct voice his, hardly changing over the years and lead Guitarist Noodles just as talented on those strings as day one. They’re really just the same kids taking on a stage that is theirs for the taking. Now with a crowd like this they hardly need to sing as you hear literally every single person singing back to the likes of “You’re gonna go far, kid” and “Pretty Fly (For a white guy.)” Finally ending the night off with “The kids aren’t ok” we screamed those last few lines, picked ourselves up off the floor and made our way out the gates, exhausted.. But ready to do it all over again in 2019!
Until next year, thank you Good Things for one of the best days of the year.
Photography by Matt Allan:
Photography by Mitchell O’Rourke: