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Port Royal Street Party @ Port Royal

There has never been a festival that was specifically for local garage punk fans in Melbourne, so it was great to see the first ever Port Royal Street Party executed so brilliantly. Melbourne has a long-standing history of producing strong garage acts, and while local venues are consistently filled with the familiar shrieks of bands like Drunk Mums and Batpiss, larger scale events have often overlooked them and the genre as a whole.

 

The line up pulled no punches, topped by local legends and stars of their own recent MIFF documentary Cosmic Psychos and Australian punk icons The Meanies. Both acts brought to the stage the sheer grunt you’d expect from 25 years experience playing with the balls-to-the-wall intensity both groups are known for. Bits of Shit were another obvious stand out, illustrating pretty clearly to us why their debut record Cut Sleeves has seen notable success at the iconic Goner Records store in Memphis in this present-day punk renaissance.

 

Port Royal marketed itself as a street party ‘for the people, by the people’. Ordinarily I take these claims with a grain of salt. It seems to be the catch cry of every small-scale festival trying to survive in an insanely competitive market, but at Port Royal the claims were genuine. The organisers made every reasonable attempt to understand and work for their punters and it was refreshing to see. On top of the strong line up, the beers were locally brewed and reasonably priced and the food was great.

 

It appeared as though there was a genuine affection for all the acts amongst the crowd. There’s something that’s particularly engaging and strangely humbling about seeing groups you’d normally see at The Tote play in a bigger setting and receiving the response that they deserve. I suppose in my mind I liken watching local acts to supporting a football team, you don’t just watch them or appreciate them, you support them too. I’m just glad that there’s a festival on the Melbourne calendar now that shares the same fondness for supporting local talent. Hats off to ya Port Royal!

 

BY KEATS MULLIGAN

 

Loved: The bravado.

Hated: The hangover.

Drank: Matilda Bay.