pics: Nicole Matthews
The weather was cold and the skies dark with clouds and misty rain as music lovers braved the weather to see long awaited performances from rock icons Karnivool and Cog along with the incredible line up of Ocean Grove, Pilini, Sleepmakeswaves, Reliqa and Yomi Ship at Monolith Festival!
Yomi Ship was the first band to grace the ears of the crowd, an experimental prog-rock band from Perth consisting of members Jared Osborne (guitar), Jade Champion (Bass) and Nick Osborne (Drums). The beautiful, melodic and experimental sounds of Yomi Ship covered the grounds like the misty rain on the day. The atmosphere was psychedelic! Songs like ‘Seamonkey’ and ‘S.H.A.M.A.N’ and ‘Ice Drake’ were expertly played, intriguing with their complex structures, rhythms and amazing talent! Yomi ship was a fantastic start for the Monolith Festival!
Next to play was Reliqa, an alternative rock band from Sydney, consisting of band members Monique Pym (Vocals and Keyboard), Miles Knox (Guitars & Bass), Brandon Lloyd (Guitars & Bass) and Shannon Griesburg (Drums). Reliqa switched it up and brought the fast and heavy energy, with hauntingly beautiful vocals and aggressive riffage, BAM! A perfect quartet harmony, the band played wonderfully together, while Monique bounced and danced around on stage with endless energy, in between powerful vocal belts. Songs ‘Hangman’, ‘The Halfway Point’, ‘Mr Magic’ and their latest single ‘The Bearer of Bad News’ were played with passion and skill, showcasing the excellent diversity of grooves and vocal range that can be achieved from one band. Reliqa is a must see!
Sleepmakeswaves, an instrumental rock band from Sydney with members Otto Wicks-Green (Guitar), Lachlan Marks (guitar), Tim Adderley (Drums) and Alex Wilson (Bass, keys and electronics), took the stage in style with the mysterious, beautiful and heavy opening to ‘Tundra’! Bringing skilled professional riffage, Sleepmakeswaves heavy and layered sounds were sent out into the audience in melodic and energetic waves! A well balanced set, their energy was electric, each song flowed flawlessly into the next. ‘The Stars are Stigmata’, ‘Traced in Constellations’, ‘Great Northern’ and ‘Something Like Avalanches” painted melodious and complex works of art into the air. Finishing on their latest song ‘Pyramids’, a beautiful heavy piece, Sleepmakeswaves left their mark on audiences with old fans thrilled and plenty of new fans excited to hear more.
Opening the set solo, with Plini himself doing what he does best, a complex and beautiful riff on the guitar, Plini was soon followed by his supporting band members Simon Grove (Bass), Jake Lowe (Guitar) and Chris Allison (Drums). Creating a vibe of epic proportions with cascading grooves and melodies and flowing with delicious electric rifs. Yum! Plini’s instrumentals hold the crowd captivated, allowing them to simply enjoy the music, letting imaginations and spirits run wild. Flowing through the light and shade of the music, the set list included melodic fantasies like ‘I’ll Tell You Someday’, ‘Electric Sunrise’ and ‘Every Piece Matters’, with the crowd nodding along with each groove and swaying to every riff. Plini is well known to be a master of the instrumental pro rock, jazz fusion, he makes it look too easy, which can only attest to his expertise, musical skills and to those of his supporting musicians!
Ocean Grove kicked their set off hard and in style with ‘Superstar’ a complete adrenaline rush and upwards momentum as the pit jumped up and down to the hardcore, dance beats! The Melbourne band, members Dale Tanner (vocals), Sam Bassal (Drums), Twiggy Hunter (Bass) and Andy Szetho (Guitar) brought their unique style of ‘Oddworld Music’ to Monolith Festival, completely changing up the atmosphere and making their mark with their 90s punk rock and nu metal stylings. Dale Tanner jumped around the stage with endless energy and insane vocals while Sam Bassal smashed out a skilled drum solo on the track ‘Guys from the Gord’. Insane!! A fantastic set filled with charisma and energy that is tough to beat, Ocean Grove brough psychedelic grooves with ‘Ask for the Anthem’ and finishing with their iconic song ‘Sunny’. With electric energy and delicious alternative and groovy flavours, Ocean Grove left a lasting impression on Monolith Festival goers.
It wasn’t long before Cog took the stage with a mysterious and soft opening to ‘Bitter Pills’, the tension built before the progressive/alt/trip rock band from Bondi brought it with their classic heavy and ethereal psychedelic sounds! Their performance was right and tight with thunderous beats from Lucius Borich (Drums), and heavy bass from Luke Gower (Bass), layed with expertly played riffs and fantastic vocals from Flynn Gower (Guitar). Cog brought a lot of classics to their set list including ‘Anarchy OK’, ‘What If’ and ‘Resonate’. Newer tracks ‘The Middle’ and ‘Open Up’ slid flawlessly into the nostalgic setlist. The audience ate up every moment, the energy of Cog transcended the stage as their passionate music shone through finishing off their set with ‘The Spine’, ‘No Other Way’ and finally ‘Bird of the Feather’, the crowd sang along with gusto ‘I’m only trying to make it better!” For a beautiful moment at the end Cog came together to do a group bow, their love for their music definitely made an impact as fans cheered excited and hopeful to see more of Cog in the years to come!
A sheer black curtain went up as Karnivool’s time to perform approached, the crowd buzzed with anticipation. Lights and shadowy figures emerged as the instrumental intro to ‘Fear of the Sky’ played and as the heavier beats dropped so did the curtain and Karnivool was revealed in a haze of light. The crowd went nuts!
Ian Kenny (vocals) started belting clean and beautiful vocals, clouds of steam punctuated each verse, it was a very cold night. The set was followed with ‘Goliath’ and ‘Simple Boy’, heavy and complex riffs from guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking filled with air, Jon Stockman’s bass was heavy and rhythmic and Steve Judd’s drum skins snapped and cymbals crashed.
Ian’s vocals pierced the air, each note captivating and angelic. One of Karnivool’s new songs was played, ‘Animation’, the crowd swayed, appreciating the new piece and then continued to thrash and sing along passionately to the rest of the set list, with more well known songs like ‘Set Fire to the Hive’, ‘The Refusal’ and ‘We Are’! Karnivool is a well oiled and charismatic skill machine!! ‘Roquefort’ and ‘Themata’ soon followed but the audience seemed to take the power with ‘New Day’, with everyone singing along with Kenny. The encore took it to the next level with ‘All It Takes’, one of their newer and heavy releases from 2021, the crowd riled into a frenzy! The fantastic set was finished with ‘Fade’, the crowd whirled and thrashed, making the most of the last song of the evening. Karnivool left the crowd satisfied but ultimately needing more! A testament to the iconic Australian prog rock band.
See the full gallery of images here.