words + photos: Brittany Long
After its successful 2018 debut, Melbourne once again turned on the sunshine for Good Things Festival 2019, but thankfully didn’t bring the scorching heat! Returning to Flemington Racecourse thousands of music fans were scattered across the lawns of Flemington eagerly waiting for the gates to open. A beautiful top of 23 degrees meant perfect festival weather, however the weather saw many festival goers underprepared for the power of the sun’s UV and left a little bit redder than they came in.
Originating as an internet meme from America, newly established pop sensation Moriah Pereira of stage name Poppy kicked off the day on stage 2 to a very impressive crowd. It was a pretty momentous occasion to be part of, with the debut performance being Poppy’s first ever Australian festival experience. Joined onstage by a guitarist and a drummer both donned in head to toe black leather, and wearing some interesting, kind of creepy looking masks. Poppy opened with Concrete, her hit track off newly released 2019 album I Disagree. The crowd absolutely loved her, singing along ‘bury me six feet deep’. Her music was a similar style to that of acclaimed group Babymetal who performed at Good Things Festival 2018 and some of the unique lyrics reminded me of Billie Eilish. Following with Play Destroy I managed to catch about half of the track before I made the mad dash or rather ‘wheel’ all the way over to stage five, which is not as easy as it sounds when you’re on wheels and tackling curbs and grass.
When I arrived at stage five, it was so well hidden by hedges you can forgive me for completely missing the entrance on my first approach. It was like a secret stage and our own private hedge party. The devoted fans of The Doll Army were ‘all dolled up’ and out in force to support Melbourne band competition winners Sisters Doll and rightly so. I first discovered this trio supporting John Corabi at St Kilda’s Prince Bandroom earlier this year and was blown away! So I was very excited to see them again! Dressed to impress, they got the audience warmed up with an inspired medley featuring a multitude of covers of some of Queen’s greatest and most iconic hits. From Fat Bottom Girls to Another One Bites The Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions. With a unique ‘We are the champions Melbourne, of the world!! We love you Good Things!’ But of course we weren’t just there to see the band play covers. The fiery sword performance was a highlight for me!
Once they decided the crowd were ‘warm’ they hit us with the good stuff. Treating us to some of their original tracks. Sharing the origins behind Black Mirror frontman Brennan Mileto tells us how’ the song is about the world we live in today, how technology is such a big big part of the world we live in’ and ‘how our mirrors, our phones, our computers and our TVs are taking over our lives. Pretty powerful stuff that’s for sure. This track proved to be a crowd favourite, with lots of crowd participation and the crowd joining in and singing ‘black black mirror’. Let’s not forget Mileto’s heartfelt sentiment ‘the track got to #1 on the itunes rock charts which is pretty cool’ and ‘we’re always recruiting members of the doll army. ‘ Good Things if you’ve never seen us before welcome to the doll army and if you have, welcome back!’ I managed to catch the band strutting their stuff with Strut and squeeze in Welcome To The Dollhouse before I had to make the mad dash back to stage one for Reel Big Fish.
The thing about festivals is that you have to choose between so much talent and with five stages it was a very difficult choice. For me pulling double duties and both shooting and reviewing my ultimate goal was to see as many bands as possible on the lineup, which ultimately meant I often had to sacrifice seeing more of one band to get to another in time for the first three songs.
Back over on the mainstage, at stage one, the crowd flocked to see the International Orange County’s ska-punk band Reel Big Fish. The five-piece were ‘reelin’ in the crowd from the opening lines of Pissed Off. The performance was very well executed and quite ironic to have a band be so happy onstage while singing about ‘being pissed off’, of which the crowd were definitely not. Unfortunately that’s all I had time to see before I made a mad venture back to stage three to catch metalcore band Ice Nine Kills. I definitely hope to catch an Australian headline show from Reel Big Fish because despite only seeing very little of them, the little I saw was very catchy.
One of my favourite things about attending a festival is discovering new music I otherwise wouldn’t have, Good Things was particularly great for this due to having such a unique, and diverse lineup. Boston’s metal-core band Ice Nine Kills entered the stage literally dressed to kill. They had me impressed from the moment they took to the stage, with horror inspired outfits and props complementing their look. The large Ice Nine Kills backdrop was the perfect addition to the stage. This band are clearly horror lovers, of which I personally am not, so it took a bit of googling for me to work out which movies inspired the band’s unique outfits and look. Nearly everything about the band was in some way inspired by a great American Horror film. From Friday The 13th to IT, SAW and Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the acclaimed A Nightmare On Elm Street, every detail was well thought out. Proving they have a large Australian fan base the audience was absolutely packed for their set.
Frontman Spencer Charnas took on a multitude of horror movie motifs across the set, primarily as Freddy Krueger, a mashup Friday The 13th and a Nightmare On Elm Street inspired sweater, right down to the details of the bladed glove on his right hand and his two different shoes. Guitarist Dan Sugarman’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired look of Leatherface with pants covered in bloodied handprints, and the blood spattered guitar were a sight to behold. Guitarist Ricky Armellino was dressed as Georgie from IT, in a signature IT yellow rain jacket with red balloons marked with IX attached to his mic stand and the symbolic IX balloon also seen in his guitar, on his feet are white hightops. Bassist Joe Occhiuti has some interesting looking face-paint, while drummer Patrick Gallante’s SAW face was so well executed it left me with goosebumps. Treating the crowd to A Nightmare On Elm Street inspired track The American Nightmare the catchy chorus of this one is still stuck in my head many hours later. Then following with The Jig Is Up channeling SAW and Texas Chainsaw Massacre influenced SAVAGES the band delighted in every sense. I even managed to catch the end of their set with IT Is The End which saw the release of the red balloons and a juxtaposition with a Mickey Mouse head and Charnas in an evil clown head. The audience were constantly being surprised with something new and exciting! Ice Nine Kills were easily one of my festival highlights; providing a horror inspired, passion fuelled visual spectacle with an impressive sound to match! Definitely a band I would love to see again!
Luckily for me stage five where local Melbourne metal band Gravemind were performing was just on the other side of the hedge. Pulling one of the biggest crowds stage five had seen all day, seriously it was absolutely packed and the fans on the barrier were moshing, hard! As the band took to the stage with Embrace I discovered why this band were so respected among hardcore music/ metal fans, the sheer sophistication in the screams delivered by Tool t-shirt wearing frontman Dylan Gillies-Parsons was so unexpected but complemented the set perfectly. These guys go hard! In every sense of the word. Delivering even more energy with aptly named track Zero-Point Energy I managed to catch 2018 single Lifelike off Album Lifelike before crossing back over to the other side of the hedge for Dance Gavin Dance on stage 4.
Back over on stage four Sacramento’s rock band Dance Gavin Dance had a challenging task performing after the killer set by Ice Nine Kills but they were unphased. Good Things sure was a diverse lineup, and offering a complete juxtaposition to the hard and heavy set before them Dance Gavin Dance delivered with a more upbeat, funky kind of post-hardcore pop; treating the audience to The Jiggler, Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise and Summertime Gladness and us Melburnians sure were glad ‘summertime’ had finally arrived. That’s all I had time to catch because there was no way I was missing The Veronicas on stage one! But Dance Gavin Dance are a band I’d love to see more from in the future!
Stage one was where everyone wanted to be at 2:45PM. Skeggs got the crowd riled up towards the end of their set, building anticipation for ‘that Wall of Death’ telling the crowd to ‘get ready’. Brisbane pop-duo, sisters Jess and Lisa Origliasso famously known as The Veronicas appealed to a wide demographic easily pulling the biggest crowd of the day thus far! Their inclusion on the festival’s hardcore lineup was widely controversial but they were clearly a crowd favourite just going by the size of the crowd that showed up to support them. Donning their snakeskin and wasting no time entering the stage to iconic Take Me On The Floor they had the crowd hyped instantly with their pop-punk riffs ‘take me on the floor dah dah dah dah duh duh duh duh’. For many die-hard Veronicas fans this was their moment. In true Good Things fashion and hardcore style, Jess also showed off her epic scream and wow it was impressive! The fierce sisters treated fans to plenty of the older smash-hits with Everything I’m Not, Hook Me Up, In My Blood, and even delighted with two cheeky covers; a cover of Blink-182’s I Miss You and Tracy Bonham’s Mother Mother.
They proved to everyone that they deserved to be there sending the crowd absolutely wild, with hardcore moshing and multiple circle pits, all of which were completely unheard of for a pop artist let alone The Veronicas. Newly released single Ugly even got a spin and fan favourite 4ever saw the crowd riled right up, with fans singing their hearts out in unison, latching onto every word while waving their phones about to also capture that content for social media. The common theme among the crowd between songs was the constant chanting for the ‘wall of death’ which the women promised ‘was coming’. With the girls declaring the audience to ‘please stand for the national anthem’ and the cellos ringing out it was time for Untouched, the mere announcement sending the crowd into a frenzy! Finally it was time for the much anticipated wall of death.
With a 3-2-1 countdown after a small breakdown in the track this was the moment everyone had been waiting for. Separating to the left and right the crowd got ready, then suddenly it was on and people were running at each other, it was like a human avalanche with bodies and limbs flying everywhere. Age proved to be no barrier with the older attendees in their 40’s going just as hard as their younger counterparts in their 20’s. Then suddenly it was all over and the casualties were carried out. The hardcore version the sisters delivered of Untouched proved to be the perfect closer for the set which had encompassed the soundtrack of many fans’ lives. A set which will easily go down in Good Things Festival history as one of the greatest!
With the sun beaming down in what was one of the hotter parts of the afternoon, I counted myself lucky that I didn’t need to go far for the next act. Right next door over on stage two the crowd were getting hyped for International metal band Trivium. Hailing from Orlando the band proved themselves as hard and heavy, delivering impressive riffs with fast-paced tracks The Sin And The Sentence, Beyond Oblivion and Like Light To The Flies. Frontman Matt Heafy can only be described as the ultimate showman. His ability to engage an audience, not to mention even getting the crowd involved having them jumping and screaming was no small feat. While the hair action delivered by guitarist Corey Beaulieu was impressive in its own right!
Back over the other side of the hedge on stage five, Perth metal band Voyager hit hard blitzing the crowd with their synthetic metal pop. With a healthy sized crowd watching on they showed us why they deserved to be part of the lineup, treating fans to their recent single Brightstar which proved to be a hit! Unfortunately I couldn’t stay long before I made the dash back to stage three for Enter Shikari, but Voyager is definitely a band I’d love to see more from.
Over on stage three English rockers Enter Shikari were one of the most enjoyable sets of the day and also pulled one of the biggest crowds seen by stage three/four. The stage presence possessed by each member of the band was impeccable but especially by frontman Rou Reynolds. The stage was just too small for the band’s antics with nearly every band member going into the crowd at one point and vocalist Reynolds truly explored every inch of the stage, climbing and crawling around, even going high up onto the stage rafters. Opening with Stop The Clocks and transitioning straight into Destabilise you wouldn’t have known that just ‘62- hours earlier the band were in-studio working on their next album’ on the other side of the world! Jetlag? What jetlag? You wouldn’t have known this from the frantic energy the band displayed on stage, their set was absolutely wild. Delivering with Sssnakepit, Anaesthetist and Juggernauts this was one band I was lucky to be able to watch their whole set!
In a tangle of limbs, the set easily proved the highest incidence for crowd surfing I’d seen all day, with the crowd surfing in abundance with one after another crowd surfers going over the barrier repeatedly, the security guards could barely keep up catching them. As the surfers hit the ground then jumped up to get back into the mosh and do it all again. Guitarist Rory Clewlow even joined them at one stage with his guitar. Using every second of their time onstage and cramming in literally every song possible they even treated fans to a ‘quickfire round’ which involved them playing four songs in seven minutes; Sorry You’re Not A Winner was of course an absolute winner proving as a crowd favourite featuring lots of hand clapping, followed by No Sleep Tonight, The Last Garrison and ending the set just how they started it they sent the crowd into a Meltdown with …Meltdown. It was easily the most high paced, crazy seven minutes I’d ever witnessed. The band lived up to their closer Live Outside which brought more frantic energy and even saw Reynolds entangled on Chris Batten’s keyboard and tipping it over. But he didn’t miss a lyric, later jokingly apologising to Batten for ‘spilling his drink’. This is a band I would gladly watch again and I hope they come back to Australia very soon to headline their own tour, because 45 minutes just wasn’t long enough.
For probably what was only the second time all day the next band didn’t involve a mad dash over to the mainstage area. Just next door on Stage four the soundtrack of many teenagers lives Falling In Reverse started their set sadly plagued by sound issues, forcing them to restart after some glitches with the backing track and unfortunately it wasn’t smooth sailing from there, with their sound noticeably softer than what I was expecting. When they finally got into Rolling Stone it was well received by the audience and despite the sound issues still bashed out Losing My Mind and Drugs. Frontman Ronnie Radke holds his own very well delivering impressive vocals.
The Canadian pop punk legends of Stage 2, Simple Plan were the set everyone had been waiting for and you can bet they delivered to the massive crowd with more. There was much hype surrounding the live act with it being the first Australian performance featuring the welcomed return of bassist David Desrosiers, and the crowd weren’t going to let them forget it. As the signature Simple Plan sirens blared, the five-piece entered the stage and wasted no time launching straight into I’d Do Anything, then following with Jump, featuring, yep you guessed it, lots of jumping by both band and crowd alike. The track even saw vocalist Pierre Bouvier leap off the stage and into the crowd! For a solid hour SP gave it everything they had, performing a killer 14 song setlist the band delivered with the likes of Welcome To My Life, Addicted, Boom ‘bo bo bo bo bo bo boom!, Can’t Keep My Hands Off You, Summer Paradise and Thankyou. They also treated the audience to a unique rendition of one of their most iconic tracks, and my personal favourite Jetlag featuring a guest appearance by Stateside’s Erin Reus for a duet with frontman Bouvier. Everyone was singing along in unison and having the best time.
It was during the set that rolls of toilet paper, clean thankfully began to be thrown through the air, a few of which even hit me! Some impressive throws were matched by one handed catches by Bouvier. The toilet paper blanketed the floor. The band showed no sign of slowing down however continuing to deliver with new track Where I Belong, a collaboration with State Champs and We The Kings, and I can tell you that in a pit at a Simple Plan gig is where many fans truly found where they belong! The track could easily be a theme song for the festival, with Good Things festival successfully bringing together alternative music fans of many genres. For me I’m at home in a photopit shooting live music. Let me tell you I never imagined I’d be at a pop punk gig singing What’s Up Scooby Doo led by Simple Plan but that’s exactly what was done! As the set neared to a close the band delighted with I’m Just A Kid, which featured a crowd surfing stint by drummer Chuck Comeau, proving this band are clearly fan orientated and all about giving back to their fans in every way possible. Closing the set with the ‘Perfect’ finish the band gained themselves plenty of new fans and strengthened their support among old ones. Simple Plan were the band I didn’t know I’d fall in love with and they easily delivered the most energetic and fun set of the entire festival. I hope they come back really soon!
With a nod to Simple Plan’s closer, Brisbane rockers Violent Soho opened with ‘We’re Violent Soho and we’re also sorry we can’t be perfect’ eliciting huge cheers among the crowd gathered at stage one. Opening with Like Soda and transitioning into Evergreen the lads from Mansfield delivered the nostalgic Aussie rock they’re renowned for. I managed to catch track Viceroy before I once again made the dash back over to the hedge where Yours Truly were just starting. One things for sure, Violent Soho are back baby!
Back over the other side of the hedge headlining stage five with the last set of the day was Sydney pop- punk band Yours Truly. Opening with hit single Circles then following with I Can’t Feel the young four-piece showed us exactly why they had earned their spot as pop punk’s next big thing in Australia. The timing of their set played in their favour with excited fans still on a high from Simple Plan and those waiting for A Day To Remember packing the other side of the stage. Frontwoman Mikaila Delgado has a stage presence that adds a whole other level to the band’s performance and coupled with her incredible vocals it was truly a set to remember. It won’t be long before this band are headlining the mainstage of festivals that’s for sure!
Perth rockers Karnivool over on stage four. As they took to the stage the band wasted no time with talking, Kenny saying a simple ‘Hello everybody’ before launching straight into 2005 track Shutter Speed. This short and simple introduction set the precedent for the set, with the band simply giving the crowd what they wanted, the tunes, and literally letting their music do the talking. The crowd loved it and joined in singing throughout their set. Showing his passion for the importance of supporting live music Kenny brought up the recent loss of funding by the arts with the still raw announcement that the Morrison government was axing Arts spending and funding, a decision that has aggravated and disappointed Australians. Joining the band onstage, and sitting pretty on drummer Steve Judd’s kit was a cute stuffed superhero penguin, dubbed as the band mascot, who Kenny joked Judd couldn’t travel without ‘he can’t bring his dog so this is the next best thing’.
One thing that really impressed me about Good Things Festival was the solid amount of Australian bands representing on the lineup! We sure were feeling the love.
As the crowd packed the grass surrounding the mainstages it became inevitably harder to make the long trek back into the photo-pit for A Day To Remember, dodging sprawled limbs and tipsy punters everywhere. The hype for Florida rockers A Day To Remember was very real and the toilet paper was back! Right from the moment the introduction to The Downfall Of Us All began so too did the chaos. Kicking straight into gear with All I Want the band were met with a deafening response from the crowd because their return to Australia was truly everything the audience wanted. The action was nonstop, from circle pits to crowd surfing and crowd surfers surfing the crowd surfers it was absolutely wild, a true spectacle to behold. Paranoia followed while new single Degenerates was on fire! Literally with the crowd singing every word and lots of pyro during the track. But it was the live debut of Sticks And (f**king) Bricks that saw the crowd go off, moshing like their lives depended on it! I managed to catch a further two songs; Better Off This Way and 2nd Sucks before making my way over to catch Simple Creatures on stage three. A Day To Remember sure gave us a set to remember that’s for sure.
Stage three saw the final act of the day and the most highly anticipated, except for Parkway Drive, with Pop sideproject Simple Creatures making their Australian debut. The duo, consisting of All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and one of the most respected artists in pop punk, Blink -182’s Mark Hoppus, kicked off with Adrenaline with a short and sweet introduction ‘I hope you came to dance people’ and dance they did! Jumping all over the stage and getting the crowd jumping too. Gaskarth had the ladies swooning with his uh…. rhythm..while Hoppus proved that age is no barrier, dancing around the stage with his guitar in hand, fuelled with the energy and excitement of a little kid at Christmas. Treating the audience to 2019 release Special ‘I just wanna feel good I just wanna feel special’ and make us feel special they did. Delighting with crowd favourite tracks like I Hate It, Thanks and Nevermind I was sad to leave them but there was definitely no way I was missing shooting headliners Parkway Drive on the mainstage. I’m very keen to see more from the catchy new pop punk outfit! Nevermind is still stuck in my head.
Bringing the festivities to a fiery close were headliners, Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive. This was my first time ever seeing Parkway Drive and man did they blow my expectations out of the water! Off the back of headlining major European festivals and Making history, it was the highly anticipated bands first time ever headlining an Australian touring festival and you can bet they were keen to show Australia what they’ve been up to! Entering the stage in style, they made their way through the crowd and over the barrier with flaming torches, coupled with bangs onstage announcing their impending arrival. The fiery entry which set the precedent for the nights performance which was yep.. you guessed it, filled with large amounts of pyro. Seriously the band’s set had every type of pyro you could think of. From sparks falling from the top of the stage to sporadic fire, and lots of it!
The opener which included a haunting spoken word introduction to Wishing Wells by frontman Winston McCall, saw the band on individual risers and engulfed in darkness then lit individually one by one. The band kicked into gear and had the audience wrapped around their little finger from the moment they started playing. The set followed with Prey and the monster track Carrion before Parkway hit the crowd with Vice Grip, Karma, Cemetery Bloom and The Void. Throwback track Idols And Anchors was a treat for those die-hard Parkway fans. One of the most memorable parts personally was during Writings On The Wall and Shadow Boxing. Which featured the most incredible string quartet, bringing an element of beauty to the heavy tracks.
Parkway’s encore songs heated the crowd right up. The encore with Crushed saw the stage completely engulfed in flames, and the famous fiery, revolving drum kit dubbed the ‘cage of death’ back in action and it was a spectacle in its own right. With drummer Ben Gordon ‘Gaz’ delivering an epic drum solo barely missing a beat while being rotated upside down, seriously you had to be there! Bringing the night to a fiery end with Bottom Feeder flames exploded from not only the top of the stage but also behind the audience on a crane, lighting up the sky and providing the crowd with some welcomed warmth. There was not a shadow of a doubt as to why Parkway Drive are one of the most in demand metal bands in the world and they certainly cemented their right to headline plenty more Australian festivals in the future with not only their music but the level of their stage production.
If my badly blistered hands were anything to go by, then managing to tick off 18 of the 24 bands on the lineup proved Good Things 2019 a huge success. The festival delivered with a diverse and solid lineup that both showcased Australian acts paired with some of the best international artists going around across various alternative music genres. Giving festival goers the chance to discover new music and relive the soundtracks of their pop punk teenhood. You can bet my first ever GTF won’t be my last that’s for sure. I can’t wait to see what this festival delivers in 2020, something tells me it will be even bigger! The support for Aussie live music is strong.
Checkout Brittany Long’s full gallery and relive every moment of the festival here