CherryRock was an ode to sweat, denim, grizzly hair and of course good, ol' fashioned rock

Cherry Bar’s loved and celebrated annual music festival, CherryRock, was an ode to sweat, denim, grizzly hair and of course, rock so hard it could knock the teeth from your skull. Definitely a real ‘tinnie in one hand, dart in the other’ ordeal, while a great selection of Australian and international rock acts were celebrated on the stages below. Every act offered passionate performances, either through riffs that ranged from swampy to electrifying, or through performers that were willing to shake as much as their smiling audiences. They proved that rock never died, it’s got a cherry-shaped heart alive and pumping in the depths of Melbourne.


The lineup for 2017 was pristinely curated by organiser and owner of Cherry Bar, James Young. Australian party-core champions Totally Unicorn opened the day, meaning there was little to no reason not be through the door. Those in attendance enjoyed a geyser of mathy riffwork and pulverising levels of performing energy. Dwarves performing as early as they did meant that people stopping down to catch the scum punks in action got to see some other acts they mightn’t have known about. Nashville Pussy were straight-up rock’n’rollers. They raised the bar early on and successfully upped the ante of the revellers in attendance.


Brant Bjork flooded AC/DC lane with heavy grooves that rattled the streets of Melbourne, tapping into that much loved Iommi-esque style to an electrifying effect. Amyl & The Sniffers provided raucous sharpie punk, with special mention going to vocalist Amy Taylor for being the toughest and most engaging performer of the day. One of the perhaps lesser-known acts around the traps, Bala, delivered an equally powerful set. The Spanish two-piece, comprised of Anxela Baltar and Violeta Mosquera, were head-hunted by James Young, who promised their vicious energy was certain to blow everyone away. Their fast and furious set did not disappoint, as indicated by the pulsing crowd which flooded the laneway. In an environment for the most part dominated by males, both Bala and Amyl & The Sniffers proved that women are equally as brutal, if not more so, within the punk and rock scenes.


To cap off what was already a phenomenal spread, Shihad took it all the way home with an exceptionally polished yet raw closing set. The fact that CherryRock was able to procure New Zealand’s premier rock act is impressive in itself, and a testament to the world-class level of festival Cherry Bar is clearly capable of hosting.


Words by Tom Brand and Bel Ryan

Image by Zo Damage


Highlight: Amy Taylor of Amyl & The Sniffers.

Lowlight: Running out of darts mid Bala.

Crowd Favourite: Shihad in AC/DC lane? Hell yes.