Brisbane, AUS, 18 March 2006
By Jamie Cook
24 March 2006
Who would've thought that after a lengthy four year wait, that the third ever Overcranked Festival would go ahead after the bureaucratic bullshit that resulted in the 2003 Festival getting canned? This year it was back with more bands, a bigger venue, and the biggest crowd since it kicked off at the famous Gabba Hotel back in 2001. Jamie Cook and Simon Milburn headed along and returned with plenty of words and pictures.
RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, Australia, 18 March 2006
Words by Jamie Cook and images by Simon Milburn
For some, today would be a day to see how the local Brisbane talent butted heads with the interstate talent, and I must say, it was an even fight between most bands on the bill. For the rest, it was about showing off their new style cuts, their new threads from SuprÃ©, Valley Girl, or the like, and their crayon coloured full arm and neck tatts which remind of designs you'd find on an old dusty Indian rug. Judging by most of the fashion I'd seen today, I'm certain that some of the males in the crowd buy their clothes at the same place the girls do. Today also seemed to be pick on the fashion core scene, as most metal bands on this bill took more than one swipe at either the fashion core bands playing on the bill, or their fans, and all comments that were made were well deserved in my honest opinion.
A couple of things I must get off my chest before I go any further. Firstly, what's up with the wearing of Iron Maiden shirts within the emo/hardcore crowd? My guess is it's another must have fashion accessory, cause I'm damned if the fans from this scene appear at any metal shows. The next gripe is the combat caps that are aplenty. Should you fashionites wish to model combat attire, may I suggest you join the armed forces?
My apologies go to the first few bands on the bill that I missed. To start my day off, local boys This Collision were in full flight as I arrived. Front man Shaun Coar reminded me of a younger Clint Boge from The Butterfly Effect, with their Nu-Metal style sound, and they certainly went down a treat with the crowd, and they showed their appreciation in return. A great set by some young lads who definitely deserve every bit of success they get.
One of the best performances of the day goes to Melbournites Five Star Prison Cell. Although having heard nothing but praise for this band, I'd never witnessed their live show until now. Ex-Frankenbok vocalist Adam Glynn's presence onstage is what makes this band in the live arena and it wasn't until today that I realised how much of a talent this front man is. Five Star Prison Cell are a band who definitely have the Mike Patton, Faith No More and Mr Bungle style influence all over it, but with a mixture of jazz fusion, Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan style riffs to top things off. Obviously not a fan of the whole fashion core scene, Glynn takes some time out to tell the kids when they look back in another four or so years, they will realise just how stupid they look. I concur.
Gold Coast lads King Mungi started off their set full of energy, and with all this generic sound-a-like bubblegum metalcore/hardcore on today's bill, the nu-metal sound of Mungi never sounded so refreshing. Fans were also treated to a guest appearance from This Collision's Shaun Coar who teamed up with Mungi vocalist Ben Whitecross to belt out a tune together. It was a tiptop performance by all.
It was off to check out From These Wounds on the smaller stage inside one of the Pavilions, and the acoustics inside this place was some of the worst I'd ever heard. Although only seeing a few songs, I found this band to be your typical metalcore band with a touch more death metal than usual. From their performance, a great reaction was received from the fans. With the late great Mr Myagi (aka Pat Morita) recently departing for his bigger Dojo in the sky, the fashion core scene took it upon themselves to look dumb and try out their Karate Kid dancing. Little do these idiots realise how stupid they look and how many people were in fact laughing at them. Just a simple wax on, wax off would be suffice. That way there is less chance of an innocent bystander getting injured.
Although playing to a smaller crowd, there was hardly a fashion victim anywhere in site when fans of the stoner doom metal genre were served up a treat with Canberra's Pod People. Sounding a cross between Black Sabbath, Cathedral and Down, these guys were among the pick of today's performances. Long hair flowed, and slow classic metal riffs were dished out. Those lucky enough to see the entire set were even treated to cover of Swing by Melbourne band Christbait. Guitarist Josh Nixon was certainly the funny man of today's festival telling the crowd that their music was a little too slow for fight dancing, and they would have to Tai-Bo dance instead. On introducing a song about drugs, Nixon told the crowd he hoped they “spent more money on drugs today, than fashion”. The day wasn't even halfway over, and the insults had only just begun.
Sydney-siders Nunchukka Superfly did what they did best, and that was hard, fast, sweaty rock and roll. Comprising of two members of Aussie Punk Legends The Hard Ons, what I saw of the Nunchukka's, they certainly delivered. It's just a shame more people weren't there to lend their support.
Local Brisbane boys The Amity Affliction were certainly a hit with the younger hardcore fans, and although they do what they do well, there's nothing original sounding to it and personally, I just can't get past the sooky female sounding backing vocals from guitarist Ahren. Perhaps it's from the tight girl's jeans these bands all seem to wear. Singer Joel Birch does have a certain stage presence about him and he works the crowd well even though this reviewer was acknowledged with the vocalist's middle finger salute. I know you didn't mean to be nasty Joel. Judging by the large cloud of dust from the circle pit, Amity did get the crowd going with another display of karate kid dancing from the crowd.
Melbourne technical metallers Alarum are a band who might be off to bigger and better things with a big U.S tour planned for the end of April and into May. Sounding somewhat like a cross between Cynic and Atheist, these guys are another Aussie metal band who could upstage any acts of the like on the circuit today. Drummer Matt Racovalis' double kicks were so intense it sounded like machine gun fire at times. I'm just disappointed I didn't get to see their whole set. I'm sure their North American tour will put Australia further onto the metal map of the world and do us proud.
If there was room for a good old-fashioned Aussie rock 'n' roll band on this bill, it's in the form of Lump fronted by energetic ex-The Poor vocalist Skenie. Each time I've seen Lump play, he gives the crowd so much that I'm sure he thinks he's playing in some stadium rock band. I always thought he played well in The Poor, and even more so in his newer found band. Lump got a good crowd reaction, and deservedly so. Finishing off the set, Skenie climbed the lighting rig, perched himself on top of it, and belted out the last song. Now that's rock 'n' roll ladies and gentleman.
Seeing straightedgers Wish For Wings for the second time in a fortnight was a bit too much for me. However, to be fair, I wanted to at least see most of the bands on today's bill. The set consisted of breakdown after breakdown, every stage move you'd see from the better cock rock bands of the eighties pull off and every song sounded the same. I've said it before and I'll say it again - these guys are tight, and probably the best band of this genre on today's bill, but something has to give in this style of music sooner than later. Rounding off their time slot, singer Rhys Watts announces “this song is for all the hardcore motherfuckers in the crowd!” Sorry to advise you boys but this isn't hardcore by a long shot, nor will it ever be. Give the boys a beer for their effort though.
It's time to switch back to the inside stage to catch another bunch of local boys, Minus Life. They're definitely a favourite with a lot of people today, and the crowd chanting their name before taking the stage is a clear indication. This should give them the energy required to put on a great show. One of the better local bands on this bill and they certainly don't disappoint with their Children of Bodom / Dimmu Borgir style sound. For those who witnessed their great set supporting Arch Enemy late last year will know what vocalist Scotty Moss's stance is on the whole hardcore scene. Today is no different. Telling the crowd that this current fashion core scene is nothing more than that, and it is by no means what real hardcore is and what it stood for. Amen to that! All up, apart from the crap sound in this so-called Pavilion, Minus Life delivered the goods.
The Disables hit the main Triple J stage at full force with their Rancid sounding old school punk style. Finally a band that plays this genre of music how it should be. Encouraging the crowd to form a circle pit and drop the fight dancing part of it, there seems to be no argument as the punters are happy to conform. It was the first time I'd seen this band live, and I'm hoping it's not the last.
Veteran local melodic black metallers Astriaal suited up to unleash their metal to the thriving masses. After a slight delay, they were underway and they ploughed through a solid set that showcased material from their almost 10 year career. Although the sound wasn't that great given the acoustics of the shed, the crowd lapped up every minute of their 30 minute set that was definitely not for the fashion conscious.
Tasmanian quartet Psycroptic took the stage to a rousing reception from a decent sized crowd. Whilst it has only been a matter of weeks since they played up here last, the faithful were out in force to once again witness the aural barrage of one of Australia's finest extreme metal acts. Psycroptic tore through a blistering set that showcased all three of their releases and showed once again just why they pushing their way to the forefront of the extreme metal movement. Awe inspiringly brutal and easily one of the day's highlights!
To wind myself down after such an extreme band, I took it upon myself to catch yet another Brisbane act, hardcore band Against. These lads are definitely hard at work showing off their new material from their latest offering Left for Dead, and judging by the amount of people watching this set, hard work pays off. Against are every bit of what real hardcore is, and how it should be played; definitely no fashion victims or hairdressers experiments in the band. Singer Greg Appleby may only be a small man, but he looks the part, has the attitude and this is one reason why Against are miles ahead of most of the other bands who call themselves hardcore in the world today.
Melbourne nancy boys Behind Crimson Eyes are up next to show off more whiney vocals and terrible fashion sense. “We'd have to be the pussiest band on this bill,” says singer Josh Stuart. You took the words right out of my mouth. Oh, and what's with the Iron Maiden shirt buddy? If there was an Eleventh Commandment for Thou Shalt Not Disrespect A Legendary Metal Band, then you my friend have not only broken that rule, you have totally annihilated it.
One of the crowd favourites of today comes from another local talent, Japunga, and why these guys weren't on the outside stage is beyond me. Starting off their set with microphone problems, and the usual bad sound due to the location of the stage in this shed, Jef Carter worked the crowd and got the response he was hoping for. Joining Japunga onstage today was This Collision guitarist Mat Thomas, giving the band a fuller sound. I'm only aware of one other time where they have played with an extra axeman, and can't help but wonder if Japunga are throwing the idea around of now becoming a four piece. Covering tracks from both their releases, Japunga have come along way with just two releases under their belt. A band destined for bigger things!
What would any metal festival be without an appearance by Australia's twenty-year veterans of the metal scene? Canberra's, and arguably Australia's finest and most unique metal band, Alchemist laid the masses to waste on the main stage with their unique fusion of psychedelia and metal as they showcased material across their impressive career to a very appreciative crowd. Having not been much of an Alchemist fan over the years, today performance certainly changed that.
A band who has been around for a number of years, but whose popularity has risen sky high over the past twelve months is Western Australia's Karnivool. This was the first time I'd seen these guys play, and they came across as a semi progressive rock band in the same vein as early Tool before they went experimental. At times I couldn't help but compare their sound to some of the latter American nu-metal bands such as Depswa. Karnivool do have a special presence onstage as well as on record, which is probably why there was a sizeable crowd in attendance watching them with interest. I must add a special mention to Karnivool on the very suave cover of the great Chris Issak tune Wicked Game. Well done boys.
City of Churches boy band I Killed The Prom Queen are becoming regular visitors to Brisbane of late, and having missed them 2 weeks ago supporting The Haunted and Exodus, I thought this time I'd pay my respects and check them out. A big crowd turnout, but it all got a bit too monotonous after about 2 songs. Breakdowns galore and a band that looked more like they could pass as members of nerd pop rock band Weezer. Witnessing bands such as this made me realise something I never thought I would ever say. Fred Durst and his Limp band are musical geniuses compared to all these half washed sound-alike metalcore acts.
Melbournian comedy Death Metal act Blood Duster is an act that has to be seen at least once to fully appreciate what they do. Well renowned for taking the piss out of anyone and everyone, vocalist Tony Forde is dressed in what could only be called metal bling bling. A huge inverted crucifix and various other homie chains hang around his neck, while bassist Jason PC sheds every bit of clothing and decides that the only thing he will have hanging is his manhood. As Overcranked is almost over, there is still time to for a few last insults for the emo/hardcore crowd. Forde dedicates the song Kill, Kill, Kill to “all the cunts with neck tatts and make-up”, and on closing their set, Jason tells us that his sick of all the “faggot bands on the bill, and if anyone likes them, then you're a faggot too”. Pure gold and another sensational performance by the Duster!
All the way from Maryland on America's East Coast comes stoner rockers Clutch. By the time they took the stage, the crowd at today's festival had somewhat thinned out a bit due to there being no more metalcore acts left to play, and now it was down to real talent. Starting off proceedings with The Incomparable Mr Flannery off their latest release, Clutch showed the small, but appreciative crowd why they are the leaders in this style of rock 'n' roll. Playing near a ninety minute set, and finishing up with a lengthy acoustic jam, Clutch left the stage without an encore, and I wandered off into the night, tired and sore from standing up all day, but quite content on a day worth every minute of being there.
In wrapping up the third Overcranked festival, firstly I have to say that organiser Anthony Palmer should take a bow for what he has set out to achieve. Not only has he given us a good variety of bands, but has defied all odds and made this day a successful one.
The last gripe of the day wasn't only from myself, but many other punters as well. Where do the food/drink vendors get off charging their ridiculous prices? Especially for bottled water coming in at $5. In case they hadn't realised, this was an All Ages event. What kid has that kind of money to spend on keeping their fluid levels up on a warm day?
I will also add that bands such as Five Star Prison Cell, POD People, Minus Life, Alarum and Japunga have what it takes to rival any metal band in the world. So when they hit a stage near you, support these guys to give them every bit of success they deserve.
If there is an Overcranked Festival next year, I'd advise everyone who didn't attend this year to get off his or her butts and support it. If 2006 was any indication, this festival is blooming. Over time, this may become Australia's answer to Ozzfest. The more support Overcranked receives, the bigger and better it will get, and I'm hoping that I'm very much apart of it over the years to come.