Good Things Festival Sydney (Sydney, NSW)

8 December 2018 at Parramatta Park

What an experience. I am writing this review, coffee cup close at hand, after waking up this morning with a far lighter wallet and a head full of memories that will last a lifetime. Sydney’s inaugural Good Things festival took place yesterday the 8th of December and it was a huge success. The quality of bands, attitude of the crowd, and general atmosphere was fantastic (although admittedly incredibly hot).

The over 10 hours of music covered the full spectrum of alternative music, from pop-punk relative newcomers Waterparks to The Offspring, one of rocks most seminal bands. The one downside to having so much talent playing for so long and across different stages with literally 1 to 2 minutes of empty time between sets was that it wasn’t possible to see everything and, you know, not die of heat stroke or exhaustion in the 30°+ heat. Given this my review will only detail the bands I believe I saw enough of to give a true recount of – apologies if your favourite isn’t there – I was probably waiting in the 25 minute line for a frozen JD and coke.

The first band I saw was Waterparks, a young band carrying forward the mantle of pop-punk. They performed a tight and energetic set, frontman Awsten Knight interacting easily with the crowd and providing a light energy perfectly suited to their 1pm set-time.

Northlane was up next and they did not disappoint, playing to their home crowd with unbridled enthusiasm. With an intense stage-show featuring pyros and an aggressive attack often lacking in live performances they dominated the stage and commanded the attention audience. This was my first time listening to the Sydney-based band and I was incredibly impressed by the consistency of vocalist Marcus Bridge and the ease with which new bassist Brendon Padjasek slotted into the band and their performance. Dual circle pits were going most of the set and their performance was capped off with massive confetti cannon which was an appropriate end to the fantastic show.

Up next were La Dispute, the avant-garde figureheads showcasing their unique take on both music and life to a group of core fans who drank up every word of vocalist of Jordan Dreyer.

Next up was Babymetal, a band that seems to polarise opinion. I had only listened to a few of their tracks beforehand and was keen to see their live show and how that influenced my perception of their music. Their performance was incredibly tight and obviously well rehearsed, not a single beat being missed by any member of the band. The recently confirmed departure of founding member Yuimetal didn’t seem to detract from the performance and the girls still made a very strong showing, supported effectively by the incredibly talented Kami band.

Bullet for my Valentine was another band I had never listened to before yesterday and I walked away from their set incredibly impressed and vowing to check out more of their music (which I have been listening to while writing this review). Beyond being consummate and incredibly polished performers, owing likely to the many years they have spent at the top of their game, I was blown away by the drumming of Jason Bowld which was showcased magnificently in a 4 minute solo in addition to the main set. The swelling crowd, which now reached from the barrier back to the tree line, was head banging from the first song and didn’t relent until they had put down their instruments and cleared the stage.

The first of the two headliners, Stone Sour, was the next band who’s full set I caught (Apologies to All Time Low and Dropkick Murphys – I did just manage to catch ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ and ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ however and both had the crowd going insane). The crowd understandably lost their collective shit when Corey Taylor took to the stage and from that moment the energy only increased, the band’s reputation as a ‘must see live’ band upheld effortlessly, a fact made even easier by the fact that its frontman hit the big 45 yesterday. Personal highlights included the impromptu ‘Happy Birthday’ sung by the audience and the emotional rendition of ‘Through Glass’ which had everyone in the crowd singing along and remembering their own moment “looking through the glass”. It was one of those moments I know I will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Next up were The Offspring who came on the close out the night, playing their genre-defining record ‘Smash’ in its entirety as well as hits from their decades-long career. Standouts included ‘Self Esteem’, ‘Gotta Get Away’, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ and ‘Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)’ which had every single person at the festival, old and young, united in celebration of the band’s classic rock anthems. Watching the set from a dusty patch on the edge of the crowd my crew had finally relented to sit down in I was able to survey the whole festival and gain some perspective on the day. It was a beautiful moment seeing the mosh pit in front of the stage absolutely pumping while next to me, far from the stage front, older couples danced together in the cool evening night and relived wonderful memories with a band that was obviously very special to them. It was the perfect way to finish off the day and everyone, The Offspring included, left the venue in high spirits.

I am extremely glad the event went as smoothly as it did and had such an amazing turnout to support the fantastic line-up we were lucky enough to see. I look forward to attending an even bigger and better Good Things in 2019.

Edit:

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of the security professionals after he suffered a heart attack whilst working to keep everyone in the crowd safe on stages 3 and 4. On behalf of the Metal-Roos team I want to send my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones and thank him for all the work he did to keep concerts safe in Sydney during his over 20 year in the industry.

Line-up: The Offspring, Stone Sour, All Time Low, Dropkick Murphys, Bullet for my Valentine, The Used, Babymetal, The Smith Street Band, Dashboard Confessional, Mayday Parade, La Dispute, Northlane, The Wonder Years, Waterpark, Tonight Alive, Scarlxrd, Emmure, Palaye Royal, Make Them Suffer, Waax, Boston Manor, Void of Vision, Ecca Vandal

Reviewer: Cal McGlinchey
Photocredits: Jab Photography