FESTIVAL REVIEW: The Other Festival, The Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, 13/02/2021

COG


Words by Carly Gibbs

All photos by Elizabeth Sharpe // IG : @ummagummamumma

Full gallery HERE

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On the Summery Saturday afternoon just gone, I rode on a glistening heat wave into the first ever The Other Festival at the The Fortitude Music Hall, which sits amidst some of the Valley’s most hedonistic nightspots.  She is all shiny and new, shimmering with touches of elegance and style, quite clearly made for music.  This was my first gig for 2021, so I was feeling pretty bloody excited, ready to feel that live music elation that doesn’t compare to anything else. 

The set times only overlapped by about 10 minutes either side so I had planned to get around to see all of the bands on the bill.  Unfortunately, I was running a little late and sadly just missed The Atomic Beau Project but legend has it that they killed their first gig back in a year with vocalist Beau adorned in a floor length Little Red Ridinghood-esque coat.  After running the obligatory Covid sign in gauntlet I was straight off to the bar and into the Roadsick Main stage in time for Total Pace.  They are a Brissy super group with members also playing in Violent Soho, Tape/Off, Gold Stars, DZ Deathrays, Velociraptor and I Heart Hiroshima.  The moniker might hold a bit more weight than they want it to though, as they describe themselves as forming over “the long-standing group of friends desire to hang out, drink beers and play the odd show together”.  Just good, punk rock fun.  Being earlier on in the afternoon, the venue was not yet heaving with punters but the ones that made the effort to come out early were are all clearly enjoying the set, bobbing heads, dancing around and singing along to the lyrics for ‘Just One more’. 

The Atomic Beau Project


Total Pace


Next up was RHINO who brought their bluesy, heavy rock to the Faction stage upstairs.  The smaller stage gave it more of an intimate vibe and allowed charismatic vocalist Psymon to engage with his audience and pour his gravely notes directly into our eagerly awaiting ear orifices.  This was the first gig with new drummer Wade and he was brilliant.  Such a driving force behind the band and absolutely slayed White Witch.  There is literally no way you can sit still and not stamp your foot and bang your head for that track.  Big crowd pleaser!

RHINO


Jay Brown was next on the Roadsick stage positioned in front of a beautifully aesthetic backdrop of the calming cover art for his EP ‘Dissappearing Act’.  Jay is no stranger to the stage, boasting a full and illustrious career fronting alt-metal heavies, Sunk Loto and rockers Electric Horse.  I hadn’t heard Jay’s new solo stuff and wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I was initially a little surprised to see him taking a side step into a more Folky/Country space but his voice is perfectly suited to it.  It comes off heartfelt and genuine and he performs with captivating conviction.  Sunk Loto played a large part in my angsty adolescence so I have to say I was holding onto that sentimentality maybe a little too much to be swept away but taking a different step to honour his growth and creativity is absolutely commendable and I’m sure he will grow a large fan base who adore this new direction. 

Jay Brown


Back upstairs for something a little more my speed with Minds?End.  Oof!  So hard! 

Vocalist Jens is all sinew, muscle and power up front dripping with sweat in bare feet and boardshorts.  That menacing demeanour switches between songs and when he speaks to the crowd you can see the charming man behind the beast.  Mado has a haircut that rivals Dec from Amyl and the Sniffers and it’s a pleasure to watch it bounce all over the stage whilst he deftly performs on the bass.  The room was packed and everyone was thoroughly enthralled.  Minds?End have both complexity and groove and were one of the best sets of the entire festival.  If you dig Meshuggah or anyone in that vein, get on these guys fast!    

Minds?End


Free the genie was next on the main stage and was a complete 180 into Acid Disco-ville.  The electronic duo from the Gold Coast perform live bass and vocals accompanied by their robotic drummer M.O.R.K and FX projections to complete the immersive experience.  I’m not sure how well they fit into this line-up but that definitely didn’t take away from the fact they are clearly talented and a goddam good time.  There is depth behind the revelry with the duo being highly aware that their most effective way of making change is awareness through their creative output.  They are part way through releasing a nine-part series to add as another warning sign for the environmental crisis that we all face.  In a different setting the floor would have been packed to the brim with gyrating bodies and smiling faces.  I’d love to catch them again in a different setting. 

Free The Genie


Brisbane’s rock darlings, Smoking Martha came out swinging.  Their gritty, pop-infused rock and roll mixed with the vodka I’d consumed left me feeling amorous as I swayed and danced amongst the shadowed crowd.  Tasha’s sultry voice floats to the back of the room drawing the crowd closer and closer to the front like a siren song to a lonely sailor.  They just ooze cool and the fans, including me, loved it!

Smoking Martha


Those well-loved larrikins Hammers take to the main stage.  Lead singer Leigh Dowling was giving off Dez Fafara vibes and the crowd were there for it.  Between songs they’d crack jokes followed quickly by a cheesy little rim shot which just added to their larrikin nature.  Someone in the crowd yells out “Play some Slayer!” as we cheer and laugh, but sadly they did not oblige.  Apart from being comically entertaining, they are also bloody good musicians and really brought the energy up and the crowd down to the front for the first time for the day on the main stage. 

Hammers


Anybody who is anybody already knows all about the legends that are Being Jane Lane.  They took up residence upstairs on the Faction stage to an already packed to the hilt room ready to bounce.  The all-female five piece frothed the crowd up into a punk rock fever with their hyper catchy tunes and infectious energy.  Teigan’s voice is just so fucking good, supplying a hint of Courtney Love at times.  “….I want to be bad, but I’ll be good to you” the chorus from their newest single Trouble which is the most romantic thing anyone has ever sung to me and a room full of people on the eve of Valentine’s Day.  (Insert love heart eyes emoji here). 

Being Jane Lane


I start to liken myself to a happy little docile rat on a wheel going up and down between the stages, but it is no bother.  It’s actually very well thought out as I am not having to quell any major FOMO anxiety because I am easily able to get around to see everyone.  The venue is only at a third of capacity (Covid) so the multiple bars and toilets are always free and ready to go whenever this little heart desires.  It beats any festival where you have to wait 20 deep for a beer or take a piss hovering above a cesspool of god knows what whilst holding the door shut with one hand.  Maybe this is the kind of luxury that Fyre Festival would have boasted if it wasn’t an absolute clusterfuck of an event. 

My thoughts are interrupted by cheers from the crowd as Osaka Punch enter the Roadsick stage Jack Venables is wearing a brilliantly loud sequined jacket, true to form and is looking brilliant.  “Great to see everyone is socially distancing.  I saw a couple of people rubbing crotches before.  No Covid, but Hepatitis, yes!” Jack jokes with the crowd.  It was drummer Blair’s first show with them and he absolutely nailed it.  Their fusion of rock, prog, jazz and that Mr Bungle type funk make them such a unique and highly entertaining beast!

Osaka Punch


Now, These Four Walls was a name that I’d heard over and over but I had never actually listened to them before (I know, shame on me).  On the zealous advice of one of Good Call Live’s very own writers, Tracey Moyle, I went up to see what they were all about.  I was blown away!  Steve Gibb (which is, strangely enough, one letter away from being my dad’s name) was a powerhouse of a vocalist.  He sings with such intense passion and hits every note perfectly.  The band are super tight and the tracks are hooky as hell.  I’ll be bumping this in my car for the next week to make up for lost time. 

These Four Walls


Not even 24 hours before, our mates in Victoria were forced back into another restrictive lockdown whilst we were able to party freely and you can’t help but feel a bit guilty for that.  It was then compounded by the fact that unfortunately, Emmy from Redhook got a call from NSW Health advising that she’d potentially been exposed to a positive Covid case and they had to pull out of the festival at the last minute.  Super disappointed, but these are the crazy times we are living in!

Patient Lounge was then bumped up and played Roadsick main stage instead of the smaller Faction stage.  Props to the organisers because it all still flowed flawlessly and there was no confusion or downtime were the crowd was wondering what had happened.  Word spread fast and we all just rolled with the punches and enjoyed the fact that Patient Lounge was now on the bigger stage.  Yay!

Patient Lounge


Third last band of the evening, and one that I’ve been waiting for most of the day, Wolf And Cub.  Having released their album ‘NIL’ in November last year, I was very excited to see them play live and they did not disappoint.  Playing Blue State bathed in blue light, the screen behind them flickered with vintage fonts, colours and images that made me feel transcendent.  I had made some new friends so we danced and swayed to the left of the stage for the duration of their set.  Very cool. 

Wolf And Cub


I snapped out of my psych rock bubble and said goodbye to my new friends to make my way up to From Crisis to Collapse.  A different animal entirely, but I enjoyed the jump to extreme immensely.  They started by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and paying respects to Elders past, present and future.  “If it’s important to me it should be important to you, we stand on the same ground”.  Metal heads tend to get a bad rap sometimes in the mainstream for being generally ignorant and intolerant to things, but this just highlighted that, for the most part, the community is progressive, respectful and open to all cultures and walks of life and I stand for that so hard.  FCTC were also brutal as hell and I can’t wait to see them again soon. 

From Crisis To Collapse


Finally!  The band a lot of the crowd had been waiting so patiently to see, the almighty COG bringing the nostalgic goods.  It seemed that a few more people had turned up just for their set.  I’ve seen COG quite a few times over the years and this set was just as good as any of those times.  The songs are just as relevant in today’s climate as they were back when they were originally released.  They played all of the favourite’s and everyone was singing along and waving their arms in the air.  It was one of those amazing collective moments where you feel connected to something bigger than yourself and it feels incredible.  They closed the set with Bird of Feather which will never not give me goosebumps.  Such a massive song. 

COG


In all honesty, I had not been feeling well in the week leading up to The Other Festival and I was wondering how I would go standing up for nine hours straight after only coming good a day or so before.  But it was a brilliantly organised, run and executed festival that kept me buoyed and energised for the duration.  I left feeling excited and inspired and happy and that is the best medicine you could ask for. 

With thanks to The Other Festival organisers, Fortitude Music Hall and all of the bands and staff.

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With thanks to Collision Course, Nobody Presents + Volume Touring.

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