Photos by Mick Goddard
Kicking off the festivities at Stages 1& 2 were Brisbane’s Stateside, who well and truly earned the coveted home grown position. Setting the bar for the insane line-up that was to come, the quintet of Erin Reus (Vocals), Ethan Laenen and Brendan Heidke (Guitar), Jackson Lehane (Bass) and Hamish Maguire (Drums) got the crowd warmed up and the heads banging! Stateside made the most of their 30 minute set by belting out approximately 7 songs, closing with a cover of Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit.
After kicking off the year with a performance at Unify, Void of Vision closed out their year by showcasing why they receive such huge praise for their live performances. Bodies were flying and the mosh was a dust cloud as vocalist Jack Bergin was commanding the army of headbangers in front of him to make the security earn their wage early on! As the dust dissipated and the crowd wound down, the smiles on their faces showed they loved every second of it.
Taking the energy down a notch, Waterparks vocalist Awsten Knight quipped how “we know we’re a band more suited for Stages 3&4”, before showing that they could still hold their own amongst the heavier bands on the bill. Holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, Knight had the audience singing along whilst breaking up the set with friendly banter and story-telling.
Raising the energy and getting the dust flying again, Northlane came out to play! Packing some serious firepower in the form of on stage pyro, it was hard to tell if there was more heat coming from the pit or from on stage. Giving something back to the long-time fans and playing tracks from their first album, the band also provided those in attendance a treat as they unveiled Talking Heads from their upcoming fifth album.
Making their way from Grand Rapids, Michigan, the six piece of La Dispute treated fans to a nice mixture of older and newer songs that come from their well established and celebrated fourteen year career. Unfortunately there was a small hiccup for front-man Jordan Dreyer a couple of songs into the set, as his trusty tambourine ended up in multiple pieces…however this resulted in one fan getting a very unique souvenir!
Babymetal had close to the biggest crowd in Melbourne and their popularity was just as huge in Sydney! The best spots on the rail were taken by super passionate fans who were making their way up the East Coast following Good Things, whilst everyone else was left fighting for the best view as fans of all genres were interested in checking out this set. From the opening note of Megitsune to the closing note of Road of Resistance, the audience was in awe as Su-Metal and Moametal worked their magic on stage. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and come 4pm, Stage 1 was empty once again.
When you’re following a band that pulls a crowd only second to the headliners, The Used looked to be behind the 8-ball from the get go; however front man Bert McCracken had a few tricks up his sleeve! Not only did he let it slip that “this is a home town show for me and I might live somewhere between five and thirty-five kilometres from here”, but he also bought out a very special guest in his young daughter multiple times throughout the set. Treating fans to songs such as The Bird and the Worm, I Caught Fire, The Taste of Ink and Pretty Handsome Awkward, McCracken also threw in an Australian childhood staple as his daughter joined him for a duet of the Play School theme.
Making their way down on the back of their newest album ‘Gravity’, Bullet For My Valentine showcased why they are still able to pull a crowd after all these years! Working their way through a ten song set, Jason Bowld threw in a drum solo which had those in attendance screaming and showing their appreciation. Original members Matt Tuck (Guitar/Vocals), Michael “Padge” Paget (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) alongside Jamie Mathias (Bass/Vocals) and Bowld treated fans to a mix of songs from ‘Gravity’ such as Don’t Need You and Over It to stuff from the earlier years such as Tears Don’t Fall and Scream Aim Fire as bodies went “over the top, over the top” of the mosh at a very steady pace.
If you thought that BFMV had a lot of energy radiating from Stage 1, let me paint the picture of eight loud, proud Boston hard-nuts singing good old fashioned Irish punk rock in their home away from home…I present to you the Dropkick Murphys! Ken Casey has thrown a curveball by walking out on stage without his trademark bass, which freed him up to run around the stage alongside co-vocalist Al Barr; this new found freedom didn’t stay just on the stage as Casey joined Barr down on the rail hugging adoring numerous times throughout the set. Treating fans to a jam packed sixteen song set, the hits were non-stop as Sydney was treated to a wide range of DKM history before they closed with We’ll Meet Again which flowed into Shipping Up To Boston.
Every time All Time Low come to Australia, you know that the crowd is going to huge and today was no exception. Kicking off their set with Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t), this quartet consisting of Alex Gaskarth (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Jack Barakat (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals), Zack Merrick (Bass/Backing Vocals) and Rian Dawson (Drums) celebrated fifteen years of being friends and turned Parramatta Park into hour long pop-punk karaoke session that spanned a nice mixture of old and new. The audience somehow managed to keep their voices singing loud and proud through songs such as Stella, Life of the Party, Six Feet Under the Stars and Lost In Stereo, Gaskarth made sure fans were to spend every last ounce of energy they had; before closing the set with Dear Maria, Count Me In, Gaskarth made sure security were on their toes by making it know that “I want to see at least 17 crowd surfers during this song!”
The anticipation for Stone Sour was huge by the time opening audio track YSIF started playing through the speakers, as birthday boy Corey Taylor (Vocals) was joined on stage by long time guitarist Josh Rand, Roy Mayorga (Drums), Johny Chow (Bass/Backing Vocals) and Christian Martucci (Guitar/Backing Vocals). After they kicked off their eleven song set with Taipei Person / Allah Tea, fans were taken for a trip down memory lane as Taylor asked the crowd to Do Me a Favor. It wasn’t long before the crowd started singing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor and he showed his appreciation by telling everyone that “you’ve made number 45 a very special one!” The party antics kicked off from there as the songs came hard and fast from there, being fuelled by the mass karaoke session going on in the pit; there was also quite a bit of on stage visual as huge candle like sparkle pyros lit up multiple times and the well-known inflatable men made an appearance towards the end of the set. And in case you haven’t seen any photos, there was also novelty glasses with a dick nose that ended up being taped to Martucci’s guitar after he and Taylor took turns wearing them on stage!
Those who suffered through the sun and the crowd surfers all day for The Offspring finally had their moment arrive, as Dexter Holland (Lead Vocals/Guitars), Noodles (Backing Vocals/Guitars), Pete Parada (Drums) and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal strolled out to a tape playing Time to Relax. Working their way through the entire album from start to finish, the pit was surging and fans were singing in unison, as Gotta Get Away, Come Out and Play, Smash and Self Esteem blasted through the speakers. Whilst fans were treated to an Intermission, the band took a well-earned break before treating fans to a seven song encore that included a very special piano version of Gone Away, a cover of AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie and Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) before closing with The Kids Aren’t Alright. As the sore and battered bodies funnelled out of Parramatta Park, there were a lot of smiling faces that were thankful for the Good Things in life!