By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, it’s suffice to say that everyone was a little worse for wear. Despite some questionable decisions over the past few days, the crowd was buzzing with positivity; lashings of glitter on everyone’s faces, and The Rev’s Bloody Marys to make everything a little less painful.
Easing us into the day were solo sets from Ben David (The Hard Aches) and Jen Buxton, crooning across the beer garden. Moody Beaches opened up the front stage, the trio delivering their flawless post-punk – definitely a band on a speedy rise through the Melbourne ranks. After that riff heavy awakening, Brief Habits slowed things down, their cruisy indie-rock kind of vibes a perfect match to that second (or third…) bloody mary.
By the time Safe Hands commandeered the front room, the crowd had warmed up (or woken up from their Saturday nights). Their music oscillated, bringing a dynamic pop punk of heavy breakdowns and intense energy, to catchy choruses and positivity. The Newcastle five-piece engaged the crowd with the high-energy performance, vocalist Benjamin Louttit an unstoppable force, discussing heavier themes – like playing music for the right reasons. These guys definitely are.
Last performance I saw from Oslow was on the same Reverence band room stage, and they exceeded all my memories. The nuanced post/aternative rock/punk (trying to categorise these guys isn’t easy) was flawless, with intuitive song writing drawing from a range of influences, some Title Fight-esque moments creeping through. They were definitely a crowd favourite of the day, and with good reason – if only they’d leave NSW and move to Melbourne, so we could get more Oslow, more often.
Another undeniable crowd favourite were Melbourne posi-punk trio Foley, who packed out the front room for a sweaty, good-vibing set. Everyone ditched their jackets, had a boogie, and had massive, goofy grins on their faces. Keep doing what you’re doing, Foley, your positivity is infectious.
A welcome reprieve from the shenanigans of the day was Jess Locke, her earnest indie pop giving a chance for a bit of a sway, a sing, and a thoroughly enjoyable set. They embrace the fact they’re a three piece; not trying to compensate, rather embracing the space. Jess gets some inspired guitar tones going, adding another layer of depth to their faultless set.
Adelaide’s Horror My Friend reiterated what I learned from Siamese (on their Saturday night set at The Tote; read about it here) – that South Australia is dangerously overlooked on the calibre of their musical exports. The trio’s live act is a perfectly deranged smack of energy, their indie noise-rock demonstrating some new, mature directions. There were hooks, fuzz, and a drummer so enthusiastic it’s a wonder he didn’t punch himself in the face. Their forthcoming second LP is going to be a treat – don’t expect it to be horrific.
Six-piece, shoegaze/dream-pop wonders Deafcult took on the band room as a wall of sound. There’s reverb, noise, feedback, cooing vocals and four guitarists crammed on-stage – truly a spectacle. Featuring heavily from this year’s debut LP, Auras, the set washed across the crowd; lulling us toward the end of very big Weekender.
As Lincoln Le Fevre and the Insiders took the stage, it was hard to believe such an immense weekend was drawing to a close (and that we had nearly survived). Their sound is just so Melbourne, drawing influence from folk, country and punk, all delivered with a frank, no-bullshit approach. The band just acted like a bunch of great mates the entire set, bantering with the audience, taking pictures, and swilling a bottle of Jamieson. Lincoln regaled the crowd with tales of some very Melbourne shows – with Wil Wagner in a park six years ago, playing the first Weekender in 2012. The set culminated in an invitation for the crowd to join them on stage, a raucous mess of air guitars, mic grabs and the crowd rushing the stage the last vision of Weekender 2017.
Every band I saw across this weekend was so humbled and stoked to be playing Weekender fest, an icon in the Australian (and world) music scene. There’s no doubting the level of punk and alternative music coming out of this country, Thommo and Andy recognising it, and being recognised by the bands for their hard work.
It was a beautiful thing to witness – organised by people who love music, and all the punters people who love music. Weekender 2017, thank you.
Photo by Naomi Lee Beveridge.