Good Things Brisbane: A Hell Of A Day!

The Brisbane stopover for Good Things’ first year was one hell of a time!

Brisbane locals Stateside have had a great 2018, touring with pop-punk heavyweights like Neck Deep, as well as being announced as the support for All Time Low’s only Queensland Good Things side show too. And the Brissy pop-punks set a great tone for the day early on. Stateside performed a short yet sharp set of just seven songs, but certainly made an impression on the early gatherers. The set started with originals that showcased the band’s abilities well enough. They also delivered their interesting rendition of ‘Heathens‘ by Twenty One Pilots that suited them surprisingly well (a cover they also performed on tour with Simple Plan earlier in the year).

Drummer Hamish Maguire, despite looking fairly young for where he was, was exceptionally tight in every song, proving that you definitely cannot judge someone by their youthful appearances. Bassist Jackson Lehane was also a standout with his vocals – specifically his heavier screaming – noticeably growing better in the last 12 months. Frontwoman Erin Reus has a strong and melodic voice, soaring over their songs as she moves around the stage confidently. Although, her low-end vocals could’ve used some real boosting at times. It’s going to be be really interesting to see how far this band goes in the coming months. Quite honestly, if they keep up this pace, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see them playing much bigger headline shows in no time flat.

WAAX are another fast-emerging Brisbane powerhouse, with hard-hitting lyrics from the electrically-charged vocals of frontwoman Maz De Vita and their catchy-as-hell riff-output. The impressive cohesion of the band, as they powered through the set with Violent Soho drummer Mikey, was a real standout from the day overall. WAAX have gigged extensively over the last year or so and that experience and bravado shines brightly through in their set.

They opened with ‘This Everything,’ and Maz’s passionate performance making an impact from the get-go. With Soho’s drummer filling in for regular member Tom, who’s partner had given birth just days earlier, Mikey was as legendary as ever on the kit; bringing his extensive experience to the table to deliver a killer performance. The band smashed through EP favourites like ‘Nothing is Always and ‘Wild & Weak‘, before Maz took a second to usher in a cover song. As they launched into Soho’s ‘In the Aisle‘, the room swelled up and screamed along to a ridiculously tight version of this Soho fave. The cover was absolutely on-point, and it’d be great to see it become a bigger part of their set more regularly from here on in. Their slot finished out with ‘Same Same‘ and this year’s new single, the brutally honest ‘Labrador‘, which has quickly proven to be a crowd favourite, with the crowd screaming back “I’ve been disappointed lately” like a life-affirming mantra. WAAX are of a different kind of calibre and they belong in the big leagues!

Northlane have spent the last month on a huge European tour, playing a gruelling 21 shows in just 23 days. Yet from their energy on-stage at Good Things Brisbane, you’d never have known of about any wear-and-tear. The introduction of ‘Genesis‘ really set the mood, with drummer Nic’s tectonic, odd-time percussive introduction leading into a dark yet solid storm of prog-metalcore. Their setlist was well-structured to showcase a range of material whilst still maintaining a consistent flow and energy throughout. Newest tune ‘Vultures‘ featured early, making way for some slightly older head-bangers to fill out the set. Although it was initially surprising to see certain long-standing favourites such as ‘Dispossession‘ not be featured, at the end of the day, they weren’t particularly missed either.

Vocalist Marcus Bridge was on point from the beginning, throwing himself into the songs with an infectious passion that the whole band was also tuned into. It’s nice to hear his clean vocals feature too, as his voice is genuinely excellent yet has his cleans often shunted in their live shows. Guitarists Jon and Josh showcased their technical ability with riffs that incited the crowd to jump with gleeful abandonment under the Brisbane sun – not an easy task at all. Despite only playing with the band for three months, newish bassist Brendon proved himself to be a valuable part of the band, up-keeping ex-bassist Alex Milovic’s past high energy levels and air-tight bass lines all the way through favourites like ‘Citizen‘. And, of course, Nic was as strong as ever on drums, powering through changing timings and intensities with ease. He’s still one of the best drummers in Australia.

Despite some mixed opinions about the latest album, 2017’s ‘Mesmer‘, Northlane most certainly haven’t dropped the ball in their live shows and are now bringing the heat hard.

With the recent re-release of 2008’s ‘Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair‘ (a mouthful, I know), which was entirely re-mixed, fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of La Dispute to Australia. And the American band didn’t disappoint on that four year wait, with a great mix of all of their material to date.

As usual, Jordan Dreyer’s intense, moody energy is tangible from the start, as they kicked-off with ‘New Storms for Older Lovers‘. Thir audience had clearly been looking forward to this, as the midday sun seemed to have no effect on the enthusiastic turnout of lyric-belting die-hards. After a fast and furious introduction to the day, they slowed the pace considerably to surprise the audience with ‘Woman (Reading)‘, a song that’s rarely showcased live, especially on Aussie trips. Yet their entire set was pieced together well, giving everyone a taste of older and newer La Dispute material.

After a few more favourites, the band  featured the second slow surprise – ‘Woman (In Mirror)‘. There were a lot of angsty yet elated faces amongst the crowd, and it was clearly a well-received addition. After a few more upbeat songs – well, as “upbeat” as La Dispute’s music can get – to finish out the day, including the short, depressing yet catchy ‘Such Small Hands‘, La Dispute rounded out their returning Australian performances. After the raving response they received here, and with fourth LP ‘Panorama‘ on the horizon in 2019, expect a return soon enough.

La Dispute.

At first glance, it’s quite easy to write off Palaye Royale as too strange to be taken seriously. From appearances alone, this is understandable – with key descriptors such as “fashion-art rock” – some find it difficult to even give the band a chance. However, please trust me, you’re missing out.

Frontman Remington Leith struts onto stage in pink high-waisted pants and docs, and launches into ‘Don’t Feel Quite Right‘. The entire band leaps straight into action, and so does the adoring crowd. Climbing up the speakers to a chorus of cheers, Remington feeds right off the crowd’s hyped energy, leering over the front rows and leaving no corner of the stage unused or uncharted. After another song, the band deeply thanks the crowd for this turnout – it’s actually their first time in Australia, despite having formed in Toronto over ten years ago. From the sheer volume of lyrics being screamed back at them, it appears that most of the crowd is well aware of who they are and the long wait too. But all parties seem very happy that this has finally happened.

Palaye Royale.

Ripping through favourites ‘You’ll Be Fine‘ and ‘Death Dance‘, the band announce that they’re doing a cover. And as soon as the opening chords of ‘Teenagers‘ by My Chemical Romance burst forward, the crowd lose their fuckin’ minds. The song is perfectly suited to this band’s style, and they  seem to know it; they absolutely kill it as the entire tent screams along like they’re 15-years-old again. Maintaining the strong energy off the back of this, they pull out a few other fan favourites, with guitarist Sebastian Danzig dancing and swaggering across the stage. Hell, you wouldn’t guess from just looking that Palaye Royale’s signer, guitarist and drummer are all brothers from a glance, as they’ve all embraced vastly different looks. But the unique energy of the music and the enjoyment that they take in their songs tells another story altogether – this band is cohesive as fuck! So, let’s just hope it doesn’t take ten years for them to give us another taste.

Sebastian Danzig.

Tonight Alive really are an Aussie alt-rock success story. They’ve maintained almost the same line-up since their inception, aside from the departure of guitarist Whakaio last year. Interestingly, they haven’t replaced him just yet – they haven’t even brought a touring guitarist on-board. Whilst this didn’t quite work in their favour, they still put on a solid show for the fans that turned out. Their Good Things set featured a few tracks from each album, a nice touch for older fans and newer listeners alike. Jenna McDougall has fantastic interaction with their audiences at every show, and this one was no different – engaging all who were happy to give the band attention. She really does make an effort to sing directly to people, reach out and hold fans’ hands, and walk along the barriers too. Plenty of other vocalists in the business right now could learn a thing or two from her.

Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall.

They started with ‘Underworld‘, then went straight into their biggest songs, ‘Lonely Girl‘ and ‘The Ocean‘. The mix was noticeably off, with the guitars muffled and slightly too distorted to hear any coherent riffs. However, Tonight Alive still played well together, even without a fifth member. It was a little disappointing that they’d opted to use a hefty backing track that included some vocal harmonies too, which weren’t fully necessary. Jenna has such a fantastic, powerful voice on her own, and the additional backing was just a little bit much. It would’ve been nice to see her shine in her own right, and perhaps for another guitarist to have come on board and fill out some gaps. Despite these few shortcomings, it was a well-delivered set that had thoughtfully balanced several years worth of well-loved material.

Mayday Parade are a band that most people had an angsty/emo stage with at one point in their lives. Now, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be taken seriously – their lyrics are genuinely good, and several of their singles have had outstanding reception. It’s also been a little while since Australia had a performance from the group, and they gave a highly eager crowd a real show; curating a solid hit-list from their 12+ year career. While there were some mild guitar issues at the start of the set, the band remained smart and cool and held it all together until they were resolved. Professionalism, people.

Jersey‘ proved to be a crowd favourite, with Jeremy Lenzo providing excellent backing vocals. Derek Sanders takes a second to thank the crowd, to a chorus of cheers, before announcing that the day will be a mix of “songs from the new album, songs from the very beginning, and everything in between”. Throughout the set, the band made good on their word, as well as that having spent years on stage has honed them with a tangible bond with each other and their fans. Fans who were all clearly having the time of their lives, no less. During a cover of ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘, even the boyfriends that had been dragged over to this stage found themselves having a sing-along as well.

After a thoughtful throwback to their very first song ‘Three Cheers for Five Years‘, which was lovingly-received by the long-term followers, Derek sat down for a heartfelt rendition of Miserable At Best. Several people seemed to be reliving their teenage years as they swayed along with the music, with more than a few tears emerging. Finishing out the day with favourites like ‘Stay‘, they maintained the a proper high right until the end. This was most certainly a show for the fans, that was well-constructed, well-rehearsed, and very well-performed too. With nods to the songs that got Mayday Parade where they are now, it was an energetic set that had something for everyone. Yes, even those boyfriends that got talked into coming.

All Time Low are no strangers to Australia. Touring here almost every year, they’ve built an adoring following that grows with each and every visit. The gathering at their stage at Good Things was also no exception, with people pushing and jostling just to get closer to the stage, all the way back to the grandstands at the Brisbane Showgrounds. Mixed opinions of recent material apparently hadn’t held back any of their fans from getting hyped for this performance – the band’s army was out in force!

All Time Low themselves emerged right as the sun went down, opening with a real surprise – old favourite, ‘Damned If I Do Ya, Damned If I Don’t‘. Everyone was immediately on their feet, with Jack Barakat’s bouncing antics energising the crowd right away. Alex Gaskarth’s vocals have noticeably strengthened in recent years, with the higher notes sounding like much less of a reach than they ever used to. With confidence and ease, the band continued to throw in the bangers from ‘Nothing Personal‘, and even throwback all the way to ‘Six Feet Under the Stars‘ from ‘So Wrong, It’s Right‘. It’s easy to forget that this hit was released when the band was barely 20, especially when it’s stood the test of time with their fans so bloody well.

The set mix was evened out with newer songs such as new singles Everything is Fine and Birthday, and a few songs from their most recent album. Their banter was as lighthearted as ever, with a few dick jokes thrown in for good measure. This band has been together since high-school, but they’re clearly not sick of each other just yet. Drummer Rian Dawson is as tight as ever, and bassist Zac is content to stay slightly aside from the antics and play the fun bass lines that run through hits like ‘Stella‘ and ‘Weightless‘ with a cheeky grin. The band finished up with, as per the usual, ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In – a quintessential ATL song that had everyone feeling like they were a misunderstood teenager all over again, with over a thousand people echoing the lyrics back at the bouncing, all-smiles band. All Time Low never fails to put on a fun, energising show – a show much like this one.

The Smith Street Band, fronted by the Wil Wagner, are usually a solid bet for a great time. They’ve toured extensively, the band have been together for years, and the members have all worked hard on the heartfelt songs that so many people know and love. Unfortunately, this Good Things performance was severely below their usual standards, disappointing many longtime fans.

The setlist was promising, with recent outings at events such as Beer InCider fest suggesting a good representation of ‘More Scared of You Than You Are of Me‘, as well as throwbacks to ‘Throw Me in the River‘ and even a nod to ‘Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams‘ with a version of ‘Ducks Fly Together‘. This potential was undermined by a lack of cohesion in the band here – almost like they’d thrown this show together at the very last minute without much practice. Timings were often off, songs were rushed, and most of the actual band were shafted to the back of the stage, which was frustrating at the best of times and downright stupid during the bigger hits. Crowd favourite ‘I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore‘ was hurried through, and even their cover of ‘Don’t Stop Believing‘ was out of time and rushed, although the entire act seemed a bit more lively when the crowd sparked up for said cover. WAAX frontwoman Maz injected some actual life into the performance when she surprised the crowd for a guest performance, her voice as powerful and energising as if it was her own band’s set, but even this wasn’t enough to revive matters. ‘Young Drunk‘ usually has a slower start that then launches into a euphoric chorus, but Wil just seemed to be going as fast as possible, going through the motions and just waiting for the show to finish. As a frontman that specialises in very personal songs and anecdotes, and with a reputation for being an all-round fantastic artist, it was off-putting to see him so unengaged with their set.

The show finished up with ‘Death to the Lads‘ – a song that’s so well-recognised at this point that it’s hard not to sing along to. Which is the thing: the crowd was excited enough that they sang along to most songs purely due recognition, regardless of the band’s actual performance of said songs. Hopefully, this sub-standard set here was just due to fatigue from a heavy tour schedule and with the band having already performed two days in a row on top of recently constructing their own recording studio. With TSSB taking a break to record in the coming months, it might be great timing for them to take a break and recuperate, getting back to their usual high-energy performances.

The Smith Street Band, Wil Wagner.

The Offspring are a household name – no question. Founded over 30 years ago, the crowd at Good Things was a mix of people who’d grown up hearing them on the radio, and people who’d heard them from their parent’s CD collection. With news that they would be performing 1994’s ‘Smash‘ in full, there was a huge level of anticipation from the crowd. Would they still be as good as they used to be? Could they still pull off this album, a record that released 24 years ago? The answer to both those questions was: hell yes!

The crowd was already a sweaty mess when the speakers began playing the standard Offspring introduction ‘Time to Relax‘ as the band emerged. Even though they were dressed like it was still the late 80’s and early 90’s, they pulled it all off because they performed like it too. The sound was cohesive, with drummer Pete Parada providing the perfect rhythmic backdrop for the the melodic punk rock songs that everyone knew. After all, this album did reach #1 on the ARIA charts upon release, and has since been certified 4x platinum in Australia since then.

Tony Kanal, The Offspring.

After finishing the album portion of the set with ‘Self Esteem‘ – a bonafide huge hit that every single – the back entered their encore set with ‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid‘, ‘All I Want‘ and ‘(Cant’t Get My) Head Around You‘ all played back-to-back. There was mild confusion as a grand piano was wheeled out, before Dexter Holland introduced this next song as something he wrote after losing someone close to him as a way of dealing with that grief. As he started playing, the introduction of ‘Gone Away‘ became immediately recognisable, despite being slower and more emotionally charged than usual. Dexter showcased his real vocal ability during this song too, with the piano rendition showing a much more touching performance than the guitar-driven version that is usually heard. Lighters were held to the sky as the crowd swayed and sang, clearly moved by the performance.

Finishing the performance, the band announced they were doing a cover of an Australian song, encouraging the crowd to shout guesses at what band it was. After denying the calls of The Living End and a few others, the introduction of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ rang out, and I bet the screams from the crowd could’ve been heard in the next town. Maintaining the fiery energy of the crowd, they finished out the night – and a long yet awesome day – with Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)‘ and ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright‘. If anyone doubted the energy and ability of The Offspring nowadays, that  uncertainty was completely quashed by a high-energy performance from a band that clearly still loves what they do.

Dexter Holland.

All PC: Maddie Bell.

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