Good Things Festival took place at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, on Friday, 2nd December. Brenton Harris reviews.
Melbourne turned on a stunner of an early summer’s day, with the sellout crowd throwing themselves into early sets by Ukrainian metal act Jinjer and returning local emo rockers Kisschasy. Jinjer blended monstrous grooves and progressive structures with the powerhouse vocals of Tatiana Shmailyuk, inciting the first pit activity of the day.
Good Things Returns After 1090 Days in Abeyance
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Playing their first run of shows since 2015, Kisschasy served up good vibes and big feels as they worked their way through the entirety of their 2005 debut, United Paper People. ‘Do-Do’s & Whoa-Oh’s’, ‘This Bed’ and ‘Face Without a Name’ had the crowd bouncing. Wearing a sheepish grin, vocalist and guitarist Darren Cordeux said he was unsure how the heavier crowd would respond to their softer material, but spirited sing-alongs to ‘The Shake’ and ‘Black Dress’ proved he needn’t have worried.
Swedish skate-punk icons Millencolin delighted the cross-generational crowd with a greatest hits set. Songs like ‘Bullion’, ‘Man or Mouse’, ‘Lozin’ Must’ and ‘Olympic’ were all enthusiastically received, before Pennybridge Pioneers singles ‘Penguins & Polarbears’ and ‘No Cigar’ sent the audience over the edge. Nikola Šarčević led thousands through the latter’s final chorus, making it crystal clear that you can’t go wrong with Millencolin in the Australian sun.
Every festival has a band that proves too big for the slot they’re given. For Good Things Melbourne, that band was Electric Callboy. The German band’s hyperactive electronicore has caught on in Australia, which meant the crowd exceeded the capacity of both stages three and four. Thousands had to strain to get a glimpse of the brightly track-suited ensemble. Those who did squeeze in were treated to an energetic set highlighted by viral hits ‘Pump It’ and ‘Hyper Hyper’.
Electric Callboy – ‘Pump It’
Italian goth metallers Lacuna Coil produced one of the sets of the day. Dressed in white jumpsuits, dual vocalists Andreas Ferro and Cristina Scabbia worked in tandem, allowing ‘Heavens A Lie’, ‘Tight Rope’, ‘Swamped’ and a cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’ to shine.
French metal titans Gojira had the masses headbanging from the get-go, making their intentions clear with the opening double-shot of ‘Born for One Thing’ and ‘Backbone’. Led by charismatic vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier, the band’s mix of tech-death and prog-metal sounded enormous in a festival setting. Closing with a mammoth rendition of ‘Amazonia’, Gojira departed the stage as heroes.
The reunited TISM were one of the festival’s biggest drawcards, and, kitted out in silver foil bodysuits with giant helium balloons attached, they put on a masterclass in performance art-rock theatrics. ‘I Drive A Truck’, ‘Whatareya’ and ‘I’m Interested in Apathy’ were absorbed with delight by the crowd, many of whom took to crowd-surfing atop giant foam letters that had been used as stage props.
The stage was a constant blur of motion, featuring abundant dancing, cheerleading, blokes dressed as tradies and giant stop signs. ‘Greg! The Stop Sign!’ transformed the pit into a dance floor with many a dad and grandad busting out their best robot. The scenes that accompanied ‘(He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River’ were positively rave-like. As TISM departed the stage with the chaotic ‘Defecate On My Face’, it felt like the festival might have peaked.
NOFX were having none of that though. Waltzing onto the stage in a pink dress, Fat Mike took the mic and proceeded to stir shit up with some wild banter, before launching into ‘Linoleum’. Here to perform Punk in Drublic in full, NOFX kept things interesting by injecting songs new and old in between album tracks. ‘Leave It Alone’, ‘Murder The Government’ and ‘Don’t Call Me White’ were highlights. Rough and shambolic, and a little newsworthy too, with Mike revealing they’ll return to these shores to say farewell in 2024.
Blood Command – ‘I Just Want That Movie Ending’
Norway’s Blood Command made a raucous debut down under. Fronted by Nikki Brumen, formerly of Melbourne band Pagan, the band’s death-pop bangers were zealously received by a gathering of true believers. Brumen played the role of instigator, with all eyes drawn to her as the energetic band ripped through ‘Saturday City’, ‘Quitters Don’t Smoke’ and ‘A Questionable Taste In Friends’.
Many of those eyes were brought to tears as Brumen recounted how the invite to join Blood Command dragged her out of a very dark place, following the end of Pagan, a break-up in her private life and the death of both of her parents. Brumen got up close and personal with the crowd as Blood Command ripped through ‘A Villains Monologue’, ‘Nuns, Guns & Cowboys’ and ‘The End Is Her ’, and you could sense that something special is afoot for Blood Command.
As the sun faded, Sacramento alt-metal kings Deftones enchanted the masses with a set of back catalogue highlights. Vocalist Chino Moreno led the enormous crowd through passionate sing-alongs to ‘Diamond Eyes’, ‘Rx Queen’, ‘Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)’ and ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’.
The arrival of headliners Bring Me The Horizon evoked an almighty roar from the crowd. Playing material from the last decade of their existence, the Sheffield metalcore-come-alt-rock superstars had the crowd in full voice thanks to Sempiternal standout ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ and That’s The Spirit anthem ‘Happy Song’.
Each band member stood on their own platform beneath a stunning light show, and despite some sound issues, BMTH lived up to their status as one of modern rock’s biggest acts. They moved seamlessly between the heaviness of ‘Parasite Eve’, ‘Shadow Moses’ and ‘Kingslayer’ and the tenderness of ‘DiE4U’ and the acoustic ‘Follow You’.
Vocalist Oli Sykes is a bonafide star. While he mightn’t always display the vocal chops he does on record, he more than made up for it with his captivating performance antics. After ending the set with ‘Drown’, Bring Me The Horizon returned for an encore of 2020 single ‘Obey’ and the 2015 mega-hit ‘Throne’, with the latter inspiring the biggest mosh of the day.