The Annandale’s 11th birthday celebrations came to an end with their famed Blood, Sweat and Beers Festival, this year held over two days in the iconic pub rock institution. Day 2 kicked off with the Easy Company, a fast and melodic punk rock set that has a similar sound to old No Use For A Name and Bodyjar. The guys obviously grew up on the 90’s punk rock sound typified in all those great Fat Wreck Chord compilation CDs. There were lots of ‘woahs’, harmonies and punchy punk rock numbers kicking the night off in the right tone.
The Gun Runners took over with a great melodic hardcore sound in vein of Good Riddance and Avail. Five big hairy men thrashing the stage. Some great songs in their set that had power and energy. The opening saw them tease us with Metallica’s Enter Sandman and from there they took the crowd into a great punk rock show. The Grenadiers from Adelaide made the trek across to help celebrate with some catchy riffs and good rock songs. Their new track You Fucked Me Up was a great hardcore-almost-screamo track. Like most of today’s proceedings, beards were in fashion. And the bass player was right up there as contender for best beard of the day. But more on that later.
Casino Rumblers mixed a great fusion of punk/rockabilly/80’s metal solos and horns. With a new album soon to drop, the band gave us a taste of the new record. Sounding like a cross between Living End, Nekromantix, Voodoo GlowSkulls and Anthrax. Interesting and fun. The Rumjacks hit the stage at the right time. The crowd had a few beers under their belt by now and were in the mood to sing and dance and that’s exactly what they got us to do. There is something so infectious with that Irish inspired punk folk. Look at the popularity of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly to see the scene just loves this style. They got people doing a jig and even allowed one guy to come up and sing with them during one track. It was good old whisky-fuelled fun.
Former Cell Mates played a great set of emotive punk rock with a touch of Jawbreaker. Probably a little out of place in today’s line-up, but they still put on a great solid set. However, they were stuck between the two best acts of the day with the brilliant Gay Paris hitting the stage after them. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be great or horrible. Their debut album The Skeletons Problematic Granddaughter is up there as one of the best local releases this year and their set tonight did not disappoint. Charismatic frontman WH led us like a congregation at church. He is eccentric and brilliant and won the best beard of the day competition. They gave away some beers and played dirty, swamp-fuelled blues with all the swagger of sleazy rock. My First Wife? She Was A Fox Queen!, Black Tooth Supperclub and Future Wolf & The Gay Parisian Milk Incident were stand outs. A thoroughly entertaining set.
Sadly, I had to miss A Death in the Family, but overall the whole week of celebrations were a great way of showing off how important The Annandale is to not only the local Sydney scene but to independent music in Australia full stop. Let’s hope those doors never close again!