If there’s anything this country loves more, it’s supporting our rising music talent. This was certainly on display at this year’s Stonecutters, where eager crowds flocked to witness Australia’s latest and greatest rock musicians. Returning for its fourth consecutive year, the festival has once again produced a tumultuous display of electrifying and heart-thumping performances. If you’ve ever doubted the City of Churches for its lack of big-name events, you would have found yourself thunderstruck.
From first-time gig goers, to die-hard fans, no one could resist the chaotic charms of this year’s stellar line up. This included headliners Bad//Dreems, with The Chats, Slowly Slowly, Pist Idiots, Press Club, Body Type, Moaning Lisa, Hightime and Grenadiers. Alongside them were the crème del la crème of Adelaide’s local scene, which featured TOWNS, PBCBs, Paradise Club, Bearclaw Camp, Madura Green, and Oscar the Wild.
Organisers had upped the ante from last year’s Old Queens Theatre. The secret ritual took place on an indoor-outdoor dual-stage, which still seemed far too great for the explosion of talent. As the crowd eased into Fenn Place, PBCBs kicked us off with a slightly crude, yet heart-warming performance. Some band members wore glittery jackets, while the animated and flamboyant trumpet man, Leith James, wore a pink crop. ‘I’m praying for a rainbow,’ announced vocalist/guitarist, Todd Fogarty, as the drizzle from earlier had ceased just in time for the event. Momentum started to build when the group treated the early birds to their newest track Beer & Self Loathing (In Torn Bathers), which also included a rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella.’ Over at the West Oak, UniSA graduate duo, TOWNS, came to entertain with some head-banging rhythms and spine-tingling tunes. No one from the day would match the vitality and hyper activeness of drummer, Daniel Steinert, as he beat those snares and high-hats like a kid who forgot to take his Ritalin. A portion of their set was also chosen by the audience when vocalist/lead guitarist, Aston Valladares, asked the crowd to vote by raising their hands. When they came to a unanimous decision, the pair gave us a nostalgic 90s TV show mash-up, with themes from Malcolm in the Middle, Daria and Friends (to name a few). The duo felt right at home by even sharing details from Valladares’s recent marriage proposal at Disneyland.
Back at the main stage, Moaning Lisa busted out some sweet, body-swaying harmonies. A particular highlight from their set came when the group announced their next song was ‘dedicated to the ladies,’ asking all the females in the audience to join each other at the front for an empowering moment of sisterhood. Pist Idiots kept the party going by chanting some rowdy jams. This band wasn’t here to muck around, as their passionate screams and piercing guitar riffs were prominent right from the get-go. Despite the noticeable NO MOSHING sign, there were still plenty of spectators swinging and flailing their body parts in all sorts of directions. This was especially the case when Press Club hit the main stage. Singer, Natalie Foster, was a clear standout of the day with her dynamic movements and lively vocals. She exceeded expectations by getting close to the audience and even climbing onto the speakers to finish the set from above. After this, Slowly Slowly began their performance with slow strums and soft vocals, which (inevitably) built to a crescendo of groovy, head-banging tunes. The group were in the middle of a mostly sold-out national tour, so they really came to impress. ‘We like dancing in this band,’ announced vocalist/guitarist, Ben Stewart—inspiring some of the audience members to bust out some of their moves.
Next, The Chats came roaring in with their raggedy bowl-cut mullets and backward-caps. The self-proclaimed ‘shed rock band’ gave the late-stayers something to be raving about with their true blue Aussie slurs and unapologetic attitudes. Throughout their set, the boys chugged beer while screaming about masturbation. What more could you ask for? During their final song, Smoko, a rowdy fan managed to invade the performance after bypassing security. Initially, The Chats and Stonecutters staff seemed hesitant, but eventually, the lucky fan was welcomed with open arms to carry it out till the end. Putting an end to this year’s festivities, Bad//Dreems came blazing through. If anyone had been preserving their energy for the hometown headliners, expectations were certainly met. These guys have a real knack for capturing the essence of our twisted city, and their live show was no exception. The crowd was roaring, the strobes were flickering, and the smell of a certain illegal substance became known. It was a truly spectacular way to end the party.
No wonder Stonecutters have managed to carve their way into becoming a real staple on the Adelaide rock and roll calendar. Organisers have done a remarkable job of bringing a (well deserved) limelight to our country’s up-and-comers. This year saw the biggest Stonecutters event yet, and we can only hope that it continues to grow from here on out.
Who needs festivals that bring our local artists to the forefront? WE DO!
Words by Tanner Muller.
Images by Oliver White.