After spending the day relaxing with friends and celebrating Australia Day, this reviewer braved the heat and humidity to head out to the Bendigo Hotel to catch several hours of Australian hard-core music at the Spirit of Fire Fest!

The first band of the day was Grudge and they set the bar for the rest of the bands to follow; the energy from the band on stage was quite high, as the lead singer was working his magic down on the floor amongst those who had come down early. Those in attendance were banging their heads and there was one person windmilling as the thirty minute set ended just as quickly as it started. Behold the Defiant were the next band on the bill and they did not disappoint; the energy shown on stage was most definitely on the same level as Grudge. Behold the Defiant really showcased why they have been chosen to support Once Human on their upcoming tour!

By the time Espionage walked out on stage, the crowd had started to grow in both numbers and drunkenness; the humidity was making the Bendigo a real sweat fest, which meant that the bar staff were hard at work keeping everyone hydrated! The crowd were really getting into it, as a couple of people in attendance playfully and harmlessly started slam dancing into each other; mind you they were being courteous enough not to bother those around them. After Melbourne’s weather took an unexpected turn and the skies opened up, it was the perfect time for Stormtide to take to the stage and harness the energy from the storm outside; they somehow were able to raise the energy that the crowd had experienced so far, which was really setting the task for headliners Claim The Throne!

Throughout a long day of music, unfortunately there might be an occurrence or two of technical difficulties; Atra Vetosus were the first (and thankfully only!) band to have to deal with issues whilst on stage, but they didn’t let it slow them down! Even though they started later than they were scheduled to, Atra Vetosus’ set wasn’t cut short and they were still able to play their full thirty minutes; throughout the set the lead singer would jokingly comment about how “all the free merch they had to give away” would hopefully make up for those dramas!

After taking some time to head out to the beer garden and get some fresh air, this reviewer walked back into a wall of smoke; thanks to Blunt Shovel’s stage show and their use of a smoke cannon, the inside of the venue was almost as navigate as the smog in Los Angeles! Blunt Shovel really made the most of the smaller Bendigo Hotel establishment and made it feel like a much more intimate show than it was. The friendly banter between the band and the crowd helped draw everyone in attendance slightly closer, as the beers kept flowing between those in the crowd and onstage. The second last band to perform, Myridian had the crowd eating out of their hand from the opening note of their 40 minute set! Even though there were still quite a few people outside in the beer garden, over 70% of those in attendance were inside listening to the beautiful harmony that Myridian’s instruments produced. Much like every other set of the day, this one flew by in a blur of roaring guitars, heavily pounded drum skins and growling vocals!

Perth’s own Claim The Throne walked out onto stage just before midnight after causing chaos in Adelaide only the night before; with how fresh everyone in the band looked, you wouldn’t have known that they spent most of the day travelling! Those who were milling about most definitely made their way into the band room, as no one wanted to miss the last performance of the evening! The set was filled with lots of friendly banter and good old fashioned humour, such quips about how you could “come buy our merch after the show…or go steal it now whilst we’re playing” and “any money spent on merch will go to Dysie’s Chiko Roll fund” got a great laugh out of the band, the crowd and bar staff alike! Working their way through eight songs, there was a nice mixture of older and newer songs that flowed together seamlessly when the friendly banter allowed them to.