Good Things Festival 2019 Brisbane (Brisbane, QLD)

8 December 2019 at RNA Showgrounds

Well, what a day that was. Having attended many Soundwaves I can attest that Good Things Festival is exactly the same; a ten-hour marathon of alternative music held throughout the iconic RNA showgrounds in the middle of the city surrounded by a sea of metalheads, goths, punks, and sundry music fans. The bands ranged from relative unknowns like Gravemind to big heavy-hitters like Parkway Drive and included some surprising acts such as the much-anticipated Veronicas. 

After standing in line for an hour and being treated to a preview of some wacky outfits, aided by the tunes from the Monster Energy peeps, I was finally ushered into the showgrounds. First up was Joy in Motion on Stage 5, which was set up on the entry plaza. These were the wildcard Triple J Unearthed winners from here in Brisbane and got things started for the day with some fun pop rock. 

Next for me was the enigmatic international Poppy on the Main Stage. Despite the oppressive heat her backing band performed in vinyl black bodysuits, creepy face masks and full white wigs. Yet they delivered as Poppy performed her blend of catchy pop hooks with intense nu-metal breakdowns.

Juxtaposing Poppy on the neighbouring stage was Reel Big Fish all the way from California. True to their sense of fun the set began with an off-stage epic brass overture. As they filed out, I immediately saw the parallels between their Hawaiian shirts, yellow suits, and bowling shirts with the crowd. There were pockets of festival crews in matching safari suits, more Hawaiian shirts, and the occasional superhero braving the heat. All around me were die-hard fans singing along to Reel Big Fish as they performed their fun Ska-Punk. 

It was time for a tempo shift. I journeyed to the other end of the showgrounds to catch Ice Nine Kills, who hail from Boston, on Stage 3 / 4 in the Showbag Pavilion. With songs about murder and references to iconic horror movies, they had a stageshow to match with the frontman changing costumes and the use of axes and machetes. Their sound was a blend of melodious vocals, metal, and punk. Their final number saw their set culminate in a rather fitting mime of a murder.

After a quick bite to eat of some food van hot chips it was back to Stage 5 for Gravemind from Melbourne. Despite the smaller stage they had a good energy, delivering some great metal with a hint of Thrash and even got a tiny circle pit going on their last song. 

It was almost time for The Veronicas back on the Main Stage. As I waited, I caught the last of Skegss from Byron Bay with a stoner skate vibe to their punky rock. They finished and I began to see more and more of the Wall of Death Veronicas meme merch on huge metalheads worn unironically. When the twins from Brisbane came out on stage, they had everyone in the palm of their hands. As they said themselves, they don’t usually play this type of festival, but the crowd all sang along regardless as Lisa and Jess danced around synchronised as only twins could. In between Hook Me Up and 4ever we were treated to covers of Blink 182’s I Miss You and then Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham before the anticipated Untouched, where they did indeed open up the pit. 

Over on the neighbouring stage it was straight into Florida’s Trivium where things kicked up a notch. They are the only band on today’s lineup I had seen before, albeit sixteen years ago at Big Day Out. They delivered blistering heavy licks blended with soaring hair metal inspired vocals. After boos to Sydney being a better crowd, things intensified with a circle pit opening up to Sever the Hand. Eventually Matt Heafy conceded Brisbane’s superiority considering we operate in more intense heat. 

After a bit of a walk around I wound up back at the entry stage for Perth’s Voyager. With trippy soaring Prog Metal with synth elements they gave a good show to the sparse crowd. Just before the end they gave us a treat in the form of a heavy cover of Darude’s Sandstorm. I only wish it had been the whole song. 

To fill in time before Thy Art is Murder I caught parts of a few acts. Old punks Bad Religion are still going strong after all these years showing age is no barrier to rocking out. Enter Shikari were fun with live electro remixes and synth breaks. Falling in Reverse had the whole Stage 3 / 4 tent singing along to their heavy metalcore rock. Back on Stage 5 The Beautiful Monument relaxed things as the sun went down with their Alt-Rock. 

By the time Thy Art is Murder started in the Showbag Pavilion stage everyone had been going for a solid six hours. Yet the Death Metal band from Sydney got the crowd going with easily the heaviest music to be heard all festival. In tribute to the fact that Australia is burning CJ got us all to link arms in solidarity and move as one as he directed. He did indeed ensure we had a good time as he delivered demonic growls to evil lighting and truly heavy metal. 

It was time for another quick interlude. I caught a bit of Brisbane’s slacker rock Violent Soho on the main stage, and then Sydney’s Yours Truly closing out the entry stage. Both were fun and relaxed things as the evening began. Back at Stage 3 / 4 I caught the Prog-Metal of Karnivool. They had a good heavy groove with obvious parallels to the likes of Tool. 

The smaller stages were closing and night had descended. All that was left were the headliners on the Main Stage. A Day To Remember came out to a full stadium. They got the crowd moving with their heavy pop punk and metal breaks. There was crowd surfing surfing and TP rolls flying. Also props go to frontman Jeremy Mckinnon’s good taste in music with his NIN Pretty Hate Machine top. ADTR ended with a huge confetti and silly string cloud that was a prelude to what was to follow with Parkway Drive. Fitting, as Jeremy noted they got their break when they opened for Parkway so it’s come full circle.

Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive followed to close out Good Things 2019 with the most theatrical set of the festival. They began with an emergency transmission on the big screens that showed them arriving in a vehicle backstage straight out of a dystopian future. Then a procession began led by mysterious hooded figures with flame torches. I assumed they would appear onstage but as luck would have it, I was in the prime location for the procession to go right past me as they entered the stadium from somewhere near the stands. Parkway Drive took their places on the raised stage setup and waited in silence as the anticipation grew. 

Opening with Wishing Wells, what followed was a set of Parkway Drive’s signature heavy groove tunes such as Prey, The Void, and Dedicated, accompanied by pyrotechnics. Then the string section appeared for Writings on the Wall and Shadowboxing. Near the end of the set the theatrics only increased with gouts of flame along with flashes of sparks. And then Ben Gordon’s drumkit started to rotate in its armature during a drum solo in one of the most metal moments of all time, rivalling that of Joey from Slipknot. And just when I thought they had exhausted all their pyrotechnics, to top it off the stage ‘caught’ fire for the last songs Crushed and Bottomfeeder. and more gouts of flame came out of the top of the stage and above the sound booth. 

And that was Good Things Festival done for its second outing. A fitting successor to Soundwave that left all of us exhausted but satisfied with ten hours of killer tunes in the baking heat with our alternative festival family. 

Line-up: Parkway Drive, A Day to Remember, Violent Soho, Simple Plan, Thy Art is Murder, Karnivool, Simple Creatures, Falling in Reverse, Bad Religion, Trivium, The Veronicas, The Butterfly Effect, Enter Shikari, Slowly Slowly, Skegss, Reel Big Fish, Poppy, Dance Gavin Dance, Ice Nine Kills, Man on a Mission, The Bennies, Yours Truly, The Beautiful Monument, Voyager, Windwaker, Gravemind, Joy in Motion

Reviewer: William Ferguson
Photocredits: Nine Lives Media