Rock The Bay at The Esplanade Hotel


This was the third annual Rock The Bay and it did not disappoint. It continues to be the best showcase for the consistently stunning array of talent in the Australian alternative rock realm. The only difference between this and previous years was the presence brain-dead bogans and – surprise surprise – a couple of fights broke out. Luckily they happened outside and the police contained the situations relatively quickly. The bogans were removed from the area and the rest of the evening proceeded peacefully and enjoyably. Take it back to the outer-suburb pubs guys.

Anyway, enough of that unpleasantness. First band on the radar was Rhymada. Being 4.30 in the afternoon, a relatively small gathering were watching this four-piece alt-rock act in the famous Gershwin Room, but it didn’t seem to phase these guys one iota. They belted out their powerful but catchy tunes with engaging energy, gusto and very strong musicianship; the said gathering enjoyed their set immensely.

A brief jaunt out to the main bar and Sunset Circus were carving up the stage. These guys are truly a fun band to watch and the crowd lapped it up; their tunes are already alternative classics and their delivery is truly infectious. Another band to watch very closely.

Zenith ASP are somewhat of an anomaly, but a damn fine one. A three-piece who, upon first glance, appeared quite stripped back – a drummer on a small functional kit, bass and an acoustic guitarist who also plays lead – but their music was anything but simple. Their tunes were long, although never monotonous, as well as quirky, progressive and complex – including an ‘11-minute epic’. They had a very full sound for an acoustic three-piece and were extremely impressive overall.

Down to the Basement and Man From The Meteor were cranking out their emotive, epic progressive rock. These guys also impressed, but you’d better catch them quick, since they’ve apparently made the decision to uproot themselves and move to Germany later this year. A sad loss to the Melbourne scene if their set was anything to go by, but good luck to them.

The Tim McMillan Band were in extremely fine fettle this night. The things Tim can do with an acoustic guitar are quite phenomenal and, when combined with his fantastic backing band, they are a sight to behold and ridiculously entertaining. Combining comedy with covers from Metallica to Fragma’s I Need a Miracle, and astounding guitar dexterity, these guys put a big, fat smile on everyone’s faces.

Back to the Gershwin, Engine Three Seven get better every time I see them. Incredibly tight and punchy, these guys seem in complete sync with each other like few other bands. Pretty much the complete alternative rock package.

Part two of the Gershwin Room’s triple-barrelled finale (for this little black duck anyway) was headliners Sydonia. This band are just immaculate and they’re aging like a fine wine. Tonight they were simply on fire. But then again, I’ve rarely if ever seen them when they’re not. When they invite yours truly up on stage to bash out their epic, percussive-driven instrumental Bateria, it makes for an exceptionally special night. Thanks guys!

Seven hours of rock blast is quite enough, and Bellusira capped things off magnificently. They were all feisty fire and fury but these days they possess an added modern element. Their rear-screen projection segments are very impressive and this band are definitely moving in a stadium rock direction. A stunning climax.

Rock The Bay’s third installment was an epic success. May it last for another 30…


Liked: Getting up with Sydonia. All bands witnessed.

Hated: Pissed bogans fighting.

Drank: Light beer (I was driving!)