FESTIVAL REVIEW: MoonDoll Festival, Mansfield Tavern, 11/09/2021

Slurpee Jerks on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Brodie Ramsay

Words: Carly Gibbs

Photos: Brodie Ramsay {Poet and Muse Media + New Future Social} + Isabelle Rickards {Isabelle Rickards Photography} + Aimi Hobson {Darkmoon Studios}

Full galleries HERE (Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage) + HERE (Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage)

*** Please always credit our photographers when sharing their work on social media – do not edit their images, and ask permission first before using their images for any other purposes. ***

There aren’t too many people who could take knock after knock and be able to pivot and realign as well as Shannon, AKA The Colourful Writer, did when it came to putting on Moondoll Music Festival yesterday.  The pandemic threw more than one spanner into the works forcing Moondoll to be rescheduled, bands to be replaced and generally was just a goddamn pain in the arse.  Even up to the eleventh-hour Annastacia was threatening lock down once again but the show must go on, and that, it did!  The festival had a venue change this year, moving from the Back Room to the Mansfield Tavern and the line-up was eclectic and exciting and showcased some of Brisbane’s finest as well as heavyweights from slightly further afar.  The venue change allowed for the festival to be bigger and better with a bunch more bands and swanked two stages, the Garden Stage supported by Good Call Live and the Rock Arena stage, supported by Heavy Magazine

I tried to get around to nearly all of the bands playing across the two stages, and luckily the staggered set times enabled me to catch a good part of most of each bands set.  Plant Based Disgrace and Distorted Views opened up the Garden and Rock Arena Stages, respectively.  Unfortunately, I missed Plant Based Disgrace due to an accident on the highway (sigh) but I was able to make it for Distorted Views.  These guys are relatively new on the scene but have come from varying musical backgrounds to create something of a 90’s nu-metal sound.  If that sounds like your thing then you should definitely check them out.  The 90’s vibes flowed through to the Garden stage with Violet rocking out in all of their grunge glory.  Catherine’s voice is gruff and raw in the best possible way.  A couple of covers of Nirvana and Alice in Chains were amongst the mix which had even the stall holders up and moving.  I wonder if the name Violet is a reference to the 1995 Hole song of the same name.

Violet on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

Moving from the light and ethereal Garden Room back into the depths of darkness in the Rock arena and Freakshow Nightmare took the stage.  Straight up, no bullshit or pussy footing around here, calling to the crowd “fuck you, drink up” and “this is for anyone who’s anti-vax, fuck you!”.  The Heavy Mag flag was erected behind them just before their set which provoked them to say “We are Heavy, heavy like Kiss!”.  They may not have demonic gutturals and a low end that makes your bowels feel like they will fall out of your body but they served up an immense dose of punk rock rowdiness and energetic banter that well and truly upped the ante for the rest of the festival. 

Freakshow Nightmare on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Brodie Ramsay

You might know Kitty Daily from The Wrath but tonight she is out on her own and is a dazzling beauty.  Her version of Machine Gun Fellatio’s Unsent letter gave me all of the goosebumps.  It seems that covers were on the Moondoll menu as almost all of the bands have snuck a sneaky one in so far, but Slurpee Jerks took that shit to another level.  Being drunk and singing well-loved songs loudly is a vibe, especially when those songs have been heinously corrupted by a tougher, snarling, creature.  The Ting Ting’s That’s not my name, Aqua’s Dr Jones and Spice Girls Spice up Your Life all made a saluted appearance.

Kitty Daily on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

Ah, Malina Claire, where do I start?  Malina Claire, AKA Emily Hollitt, is one of very talented writers here at Good Call Live.  This was the first time I’d seen her perform and to say that she moved me is an absolute understatement.  Her violinist and cellist were delicate and highly emotive and elevated Malina Claire’s voice to heartfelt levels.  Whilst considerately issuing trigger warnings prior to playing some of her most personal songs, Malina Claire herself, broke down mid song in Behind Closed Doors.  Ever the professional, she made a little joke with the crowd and swiftly moved onto her next track.  If you do one thing today, go and check her out, you won’t be sorry. 

Malina Claire on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

I only caught the last song for PhD! but it looked like everyone was having a party time over in the Rock Arena.  My solid legs were getting a run for their money, bouncing between stages all day.  Back over to the Garden Stage for Chiffon MagnifiqueJed A. Walters also plays in The Blackwater Fever and this is his solo project which is darkwave, post-punk and industrial inspired.  There was something so incredibly endearing about him that I can’t quite put my finger on.  It may have been that he pointed to sections of the crowd and bellowed “you are enough, you are enough…” like a positivity mantra uplifting the room.  The most unique part of my festival experience, I can only surmise that the foreboding atmosphere would have been enhanced by being in a small, dark basement or a candle-lit castle. 

Chiffon Magnifique on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

From the castle to the crypt, out crawled The Crypt Daddies looking like what psychobilly dreams are made of.  They backed up the look with some serious psychobilly musical dexterity playing hard, fast and loud and I wish I’d worn my creepers.

The Crypt Daddies on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Brodie Ramsay

I had to catch Muules, being a Sunny Coast band, and they did not disappoint.  They have a grungey, alt-rock type sound that is nostalgia juxtaposed with modernity and it is faultless for a mean time on the dance floor. 

It was getting to the pointy end now; everyone had hit their stride and were up dancing and banging their heads to the bands.  Zero1Zero came out with their energised groove metal and tore it down. Eat City followed and were equally as raw, rough and ready as their predecessors.  I unfortunately, missed The New Calm and Jordan Merrick which was a shame but I did get to see Mitch Please take the stage in resplendent glory.  If you’ve not heard them, their website describes them as “like pop punk thrash mixed with the B-52’s” and I honestly could not describe it any more perfectly than that.  They had a mystery guitarist who turned out to be Jodie Flange and she slipped on in seamlessly.

EAT CITY. on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Brodie Ramsay

The Wretched Creatures brought sludgey, thick riffs and hooky doom to the Garden Stage and if you are into that kind of thing then you need to get your ears right around these guys because they killed it last night.  

The Wretched Creatures on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

“And the band with the best hair award goes to..…” Odius are in no way just about the hair.  They absolutely decimated the stage with their venomous take on thrash, backing up from the night before at Eleven Dive Bar with Pistonfist and Flesh Torrent.  Speak of the devil, Pistonfist were up next.  The swagger on these guys is utterly ridiculous and they seem to just be going from strength to strength.  If hard liquor, petrol and ciggie smoke was a sound, this would be it.

PistonFist on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Aimi Hobson

Sandwiched between those last two bands was Lunchtime who are a conglomerate of sounds with a melancholic, alternative rock overtone.  Upsettingly, it seems that I left their set a little early as I heard rumours of Jodie Flange doing a nudey run onto stage!

Lunchtime on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

Baltimore Gun Club had to follow on from that delicious exhibition of flesh and they killed it.  I know I’m very late to the party, but this was my first time seeing them live and I was rightfully impressed.  Heavy basslines, stoner/groove vibes, a bit of harmonica.  They have it all, and no one was dancing harder than Good Call Live’s own Elizabeth Sharpe who was photographing the event between dance breaks. 

Baltimore Gun Club on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards

The beloved Massic menacingly strode onto stage.  You just always know what you are going to get with Massic and it’s always a fucking good time.  Vocalist Simon pounced off stage and stalked through the crowd during the set, looking like he’s never felt better and dropped four new tracks from their forthcoming album. 

Massic on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Aimi Hobson

I went to take a look at The Silencio and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  Same but Different was really heart-rending in this space and I could see it being played in large scale arenas.  Just beautiful.  A complete backflip to where I was a minute ago with The Silencio, now to Anty! In the Rock Arena once again bringing all of the party fun-time reggae feels to the room.  He joked that he had 20 minutes of music for a 45minute set but between banter and good vibes he filled it and filled it well. 

ANTY! on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Aimi Hobson

Eyethewild headlined the Garden stage and Astrid was brilliant up front, flanked by talent and skill, delivering their folky, heavy rock to an enamoured room. 

Secret headliner time, or not so secret, by this time of the night.  Flangipanis!  With multiple members playing with multiple other bands throughout the festival one could forgive them for being a little burnt out by this stage.  But absolutely no way!  The energy was coming thick, fast and deep.  They never fail to get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy and they are the perfect way to end the festival on a high. 

Flangipanis on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Aimi Hobson

Shannon AKA The Colourful Writer went through trials and tribulations with putting this festival together and keeping it on the rails when it so easily could have derailed many a time due to the fluid nature of the pandemic.  All of the musicians, crews, techs, photographers/videographers, staff and everyone else involved put in immense effort to make it a stellar day that not only provided a cathartic outlet but supported the SE QLD music scene enormously during such a fucked-up time.  The amount of passion that everyone involved has for the scene is intensely inspiring and it gives hope that the industry will pull through and thrive on the other side of all of this COVID malarky.

Eyethewild on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards. Odius on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Aimi Hobson. The Silencio on the Good Call Live/Garden Room Stage – Photo by Isabelle Rickards. Mitch, Please on the Heavy Mag/Rock Arena Stage – Photo by Brodie Ramsay.

With thanks to The Colourful Writer + Mansfield Tavern

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