Words: Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer.
Photos: Elizabeth Sharpe – Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photography.
I am not sure I can think of anything better than spending 4 hours on a boat with great company, great live music from 4 amazing bands, great beers, a beautiful breeze, cruising down the Brisbane river and being able to review the gig. This was a gig review I won’t forget in a hurry! Sludge on the Seas boat cruise was a huge success with tickets selling out and people gutted that they missed out. Those lucky enough to nab tickets lined up eagerly at the South Bank Ferry terminal ready to board the ‘Lady In Red’ boat at 5pm sharp. Downstairs was air conditioned and gave us a place to sit and drink while upstairs was where the magic happens with the small stage at the rear of the boat. As soon as everyone was all aboard the Captain introduced himself and made it clear we were to stay on the boat and not jump into the water before playing I’m On A Boat by The Lonely Island which was greeted by much laughter, grooving and singing along. This set the mood for what was to be a fun 4 hours.
Hitting the stage first was Sydney’s melodic thrash metal gods Flaming Wrekage. To be honest I was a little surprised these guys were on first, they are phenomenal live. They play so hard and watching them just fills you with an intense energy. But it would have been hard deciding which band was opening when you have 4 bands on the line up all worthy of being headliners. Flaming Wrekage set the mood with their heavy riffs and clear drive and passion for what they do. With frontman Dave Lupton yelling “Let’s party mother fuckers” before pelting out From Flesh To Dust. Lupton’s interaction with the crowd between songs was awesome and the whole set was just stellar. Finishing up with a favourite track of mine Cataclysm and saying “Fuck yeah Brissy! Now let’s get fucked up together!” These guys are hands down one of my favourite Sydney metal bands.
Next up was local sludge metal kings Evil Eye. These guys organized the whole event and I must say I was impressed with what they delivered. They began their set by paying respect to the land’s traditional owners with an acknowledgement of country that was well written and thought out. Frontman David Miller never fails to impress me with his stage presence, brutal yet beautiful vocal and the way he bounces on the stage as he belts out song after song with the same level of energy from beginning of the set to the end. With Jason Mung now on bass, he played most of the set in the middle of the crowd I think partly due to how small the stage was but moved up to the stage and swapped spots with Miller towards the end of the set. The stand out track for me was definitely Letters but honestly the whole set was brilliant. The guys made a point of thanking the staff on the boat for being really awesome and professional and for running a tight ship, which they really did.
Hobo Magic; What can I even say about Hobo? Sunny Coast’s psychedelic rock lords, these guys are so good it hurts. They never fail to have me blissed out and mesmerised with every single performance. A trio made up of a complete riff lord, one of the best bass players I know and drummer who plays like he was born with a set of drum sticks in his hands, these guys are pure perfection and also, they are just really really nice guys. They opened the set with Follow The Holy Riff and finishing with Sonic Sword, both of which are two of my favourite tracks. As if these guys weren’t awesome enough, fireworks decided to go off during the set so at the back of drummer Luke Hanson’s head were beautiful bright fireworks just to add to the mood and good vibes Hobo create through their music and live performances. As always, I was left wanting more and eager to see their next live show.
Last to hit the stage was long time fuzz legends Budd. These guys remind me of Tumbleweed and the Melvins blended into a smoothie of riff filled, heavy bass-lined goodness that combined leaves you feeling deeply satisfied and full. They also begun by paying respects to our indigenous people and then treated us to 7 of their fuzz filled tracks, finishing off the night to perfection. These guys have been rocking out since 1991 and were one of the first bands in Brisbane to really immerse themselves in the high-volume fuzz sludge magic of their genre. There have been some big line up changes over the years including having members that were also formally or still in bands such as Mark Of Cain, Giants Of Science and Bloodduster. Budd play with the talent and experience of a band that has been doing this for many moons.
As we arrived back at South Bank, it was a little sad it was all over, but some of the bands and fans partied on afterwards, scattering throughout the valley’s live music venues. Sludge on the Seas boat cruise was an amazing way to spend a Saturday night and I really hope we get to do it again soon; with much respect and appreciation to all those involved.
Guitarist from Evil Eye Pete Saunders had this to say about the event: “We’re already making plans for the next one in October. The response from punters on the night was amazing. I think everyone had a good time. Local bands are tired of promoters treating them like second class citizens when it should really be all about the bands and the music, so we just decided to cut out the middle-man and start organising and promoting our own shows. DIY shows are nothing new but it seems less common in the metal scene. It’s a lot more work but the promotion itself is a lot easier now with social media. It’s a financial risk as well but it’s also more rewarding and a lot more fun. We started with the Sludge on the Streets shows where we ask the bands to promote the show themselves and they sell as many ticket as they want (and keep all the money) so instead of ‘using’ local bands we give them the opportunity to make a few bucks if they put in the effort themselves. Those shows have been selling out so we decided to go bigger. Bands on boats has been a real Brisbane thing I think for years in the punk scene and I’ve wanted to do one with sludge/metal/stoner bands for a long time now so it’s great that it was such a huge success, we’ll definitely be doing it again soon. It will be a fairly regular thing I hope. Definitely a lot more fun than playing to an empty room in some dirty old bar every weekend!”
For more photos and a full gallery please visit: Ummagummamuma – Live Music Photography.