Cherry Rock013 @ AC/DC Lane
Stick with me on this one: originally fairy tales were dark, gruesome and macabre legends, children losing their thumbs for sucking them, daughters traded to the devil. As years passed they were cleaned up, sanitised, given happy endings and sold to the masses. Well, on Saturday night I saw Aerosmith at Rod Laver Arena – there were autocue monitors on every corner of the stage with the lyrics to each song scrolling along (I mean really, the lyrics to Livin’ On The Edge are “Livin’ on the edge!”), countless industrial sized fans for Steven Tyler to sing in front of to give him that windblown ‘80s film clip look, two personal photographers (one for the stage, one for the catwalk) that he performed to rather than the audience, they went on early (rock bands should never go on early) and the crowning jewel – an electric keyboard built into a faux baby grand, complete with stairs, that lit up when he sung on top of it. It should have been called Steven Tyler and the Aerosmith band – in short, this was a sanitised, fairy tale panto version of rock’n’roll and I felt used.
But thankfully on the seventh day the Devil created CherryRock013. Wedged down AC/DC Lane, the chilly Sunday morning winds whipped the likely legionnaires disease-ridden industrial air-conditioning steam into punters’ faces like they were entering the gates of hell itself. Dirty, grimy, dangerous, loud, offensive – the original pure rock’n’roll fairy tale. Cherry Rock proves what guitars, bass and drums are made for – pounding away under some sweet shrieking vocals.
The lineup provided for all genres (of rock). Headliners Unida turned out a classic stoner rock set while Truckfighters did their progressive metal thing, and the Drunk Mums just don’t give a shit if you like them or not, which is glorious. But it truly was the opening acts that made me fall in love with Cherry this year. The main stage opened with The Surefire Midnights, a kick arse group breaking the mould of The Runaways, the all girl five-piece wail and set the bar very high for the rest of the bands to follow.
Battle Axe Howlers weren’t for me but there will never be a better description of their sound than their own band name, an onomatopoeia of rock. Gay Paris looked like an alt-country outfit and blew the back outta the laneway with their insane thrash, a more unhinged front man you will not find. And as if in way of respite there was indeed a country band, Little Bastard made the inside stage their own, a rollicking outfit I hope to see more of. AND THEN THERE WAS BARBARION. The heaviest band of the day, in a purely physical sense, Barbarion are huge, savage, rock warriors, taking no prisoners in their efforts to conquer the festival – I understand the bass player even broke his foot – an all out assault on the audience and OH&S practices.
Cherry Bar’s own Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk backed up their stellar Golden Plains performance with a foot stomping, bone rattling set. The day was rammed with these sort of moments – I don’t want a clean, safe rock’n’roll lullaby with a happy ending, I want rock’n’roll that scares me. Thank you, Cherry.
BY JACK FRANKLIN
Photo credit: Richard Sharman
LOVED: The Sure Fire Midnights.
HATED: No passouts.
DRANK: Tinnies (for dinner) = tinner.