After a long drought, Australian heavy music fans are now spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals. Returning for a second year, Good Things put together a lineup featuring a diverse mix of genres and some curiosities thrown in for good measure.
Fresh from racking up some serious miles across the States, Byron Bay rockers Skegss were in fine form. With the sun out in force, it was clear the growing crowd were here to have some fun. Storming through their biggest hits, the trio were drowned out by a sea of voices screaming back every single word.
If you like your tunes with a combination of smooth falsettos, rhythmic screams, huge riffs and some ridiculous lyrics, then you’d be right at home with Californian post-hardcore boys Dance Gavin Dance. While the combination may sound ridiculous on paper, DGD know how to put on a bloody good show and make it look like the easiest thing in the world.
By far the lineup’s biggest curiosity was Brisbane twins The Veronicas. Whether it was sheer curiosity, real affection or guilty pleasure, their main stage set attracted an absolutely heaving crowd. Powering through all their biggest hits – ‘Everything I’m Not’, ‘Hook Me Up’, ‘4ever’ and ‘In My Blood’ all got a run – The Veronicas mixed true pop and heavier renditions, ensuring the crowd lost its collective mind. An acoustic cover of blink-182’s ‘I Miss You’ garnered one of the day’s biggest sing-alongs. Of course, synchronised choreography was in the mix, but that didn’t make the much-hyped ‘Untouched’ wall of death any less incredible to witness. A truly iconic set. Festival promoters take note: playing it safe is boring.
Nostalgia was in the air as The Butterfly Effect took to the stage for their first festival appearance in 11 years and it was clear they weren’t going to waste a single second of it. Throwing new single ‘Unbroken’ into a mix of their most anthemic tracks proved that they are well and truly back. Slowly Slowly showed punters why they’re at the forefront of the bands currently ruling our live circuit. Through regular festival appearances and arena-sized support slots, the Melbourne lads have really come into their own.
Enter Shikari don’t put a foot wrong and their genre-defying sound brought the perfect mix to the day’s proceedings. Led by the effervescent Rou Reynolds, the British band had the crowd in the palms of their hands. P.S. crowd claps (thanks ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’) still go off.
Over at the main stage, a small but very eager crowd were wrapping up their time with punk veterans Bad Religion. Putting on a punk rock masterclass, their four-decade-long catalogue sounded just as vital and poignant as it would’ve in the 1980s.
Simple Plan stepped up to take us all back to our early 2000s angst. And while we might all want to forget our fashion choices of the time, the joyous, nostalgia-filled sing-alongs their set brought couldn’t be shaken. ‘I’m Just A Kid’, ‘Shut Up’, ‘Welcome To My Life’ and ‘Addicted’ were, of course, all in the mix, but closing their set with a huge sing-along for tearjerker ‘Perfect’ was a genius move.
With a bag of anthems spilling out of their back pockets, Violent Soho had the crowd on their side from the second they ripped ‘Like Soda’ open. Every line of every song was shouted back at the band with undiluted passion. It’s clear that heading into their WACO follow-up, there aren’t many, if any, Aussie bands that can match Violent Soho.
With vocalist Jeremy McKinnon up front, A Day To Remember hit the stage like a hurricane, launching straight into ‘The Downfall of Us All’. Whether it was the confetti cannons, T-shirt guns, beach balls, or the crowd surfing on top of other crowd surfers that has become synonymous with an ADTR live performance, they proved that headlining festivals Down Under is exactly where they need to be.
Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall preceded the festival by saying his band were ready to prove why Australian bands deserve to headline Australian festivals. From the moment they entered the festival – led by men with flaming torches from the very back of the crowd no less – they did exactly that, in the process cementing their place as not only one of the best bands in Australia, but one of the greatest heavy bands in the world.
With more pyro than most other festivals combined, a four-piece string section, an upside down drum solo, and at one point setting the entire stage on fire, Parkway Drive put on a spectacle for the senses.
But their set was more than just visuals. You don’t get to Parkway’s stature without knowing how to put on a show, and from the spoken word intro of ‘Wishing Wells’, the band were locked in and ready to put on a show. Carnage ensued, the crowd squeezing every last ounce of energy and voice from their bodies.
The most beautiful part about witnessing Parkway Drive live is that in between being one of the biggest, most incredible bands in the world, between the lights and the smoke and the fire, they are still those same young guys from Byron Bay who can’t believe anyone would let them get away with such a spectacle.
Wrapping up its second year, Good Things has cemented itself as a mainstay on the Australian festival calendar.
Highlight: Lineup diversity. Tick. Curiosities paying off. Tick. Proving that Aussie bands should headline our own festivals. Tick.
Lowlight: We (me) probably should’ve applied more sunscreen.
Crowd Favourite: All of the bosses who let us take a day off work to go to the rock show.