Words by Matt Maric
Photos by Bailey Graham
Much like most people on New Year’s Eve, this reviewer was city bound. However the firework display or hitting up a night club wasn’t on the agenda; the plans for the night were heading to Max Watts in Melbourne to see Frenzal Rhomb and The Bennies throwing the Best New Year’s Eve party that ever fucking existed…extreme!
After doors opened at just after 8pm, those who made the trek in nice and early were treated to super cheap alcohol, a ping pong table and entertainment that started at 8.30 as Cosmic Kahuna were the first band to grace the stage and help bring in the new year! Even though the Melbourne three-piece were playing to a smaller audience than those who graced the stage later that night, they most definitely showed why they were chosen to be on the bill; the small amount of people who came down early were treated to a real spectacular performance that those who rocked up later really missed out on!
Once Cosmic Kahuna left the stage around 9, there wasn’t much of a wait in between sets; Antonia & The Lazy Susans walked out onto stage just after 9:20 to an audience that was growing larger by the second; their 30 minute set was filled with loads of passion…after all, these four Sydney-siders couldn’t allow themselves to be shown up in Melbourne! As happened with Cosmic Kahuna’s set, the time just seemed to fly right by and next thing you know, the stage is unfortunately quiet once again whilst stage crew help set up for the next band.
Approximately 10:10pm, Max Watts were treated to seeing Hightime grace the stage together for the first time in over a year, as guitarist Reuben had quit his job and recently returned from a year of travelling! This reviewer really enjoyed their close to 40 minute set, as they reminded him very much of an early No Doubt, plus the vocal talent strength that front woman Nina has in her small frame was a shock for everyone in attendance. The ferocity and strength of her growls were most definitely unexpected and a welcome shock!
Even though it was now after 11pm, the crowd were showing no signs of slowing down as the first of the two headliners walked out on stage to a massive cheer from the over 400 people in attendance. Being graced with helping bring in the new year, Anty Horgan, “King” Jules Rozenbergs, Craig Selak and David “Bowie” Beaumont were bouncing around the stage and partying it up just as much as those in the crowd were; this reviewer lost count of the number of joints that made their way onto the stage from the audience for the band to pass around and enjoy! After finding out that there were only two minutes left until midnight, the stage was filled with members from all the bands on the bill helping to bring in the new year; a small countdown from ten and a handful of those massive party poppers helped kick off 2018 in style. The last song of the set Party Machine resulted in a guitar change for both Rozenbergs and Selak; they were sporting axe shaped guitars, one of which didn’t see more than about 10 minutes of 2018 though…after the final notes were delivered, Rozenbergs jumped into the air and destroyed his axe by bringing it over his head and smashing it onto the stage, before making a fan’s night by giving them the remains.
As the crowd were waiting for Frenzal Rhomb to walk out on stage, they didn’t realise that they had been listening to Lindsay McDougall performing backstage! Alongside Jason Whalley, Gordon “Gordy” Forman and Tom Crease, McDougall started the hour long set out with two cover songs, before Frenzal Rhomb kicked off 2018 in style with their ‘no expense barred’ stage pyrotechnics; this consisted of a sparkler being taped to either side of the drum raiser. Kicking off their set with Classic Pervert, Frenzal Rhomb tore their way through approximately 25 songs that were crammed into the hour long set; the first half of the set was predominately based around their newest album ‘Hi-Vis High Tea’ whilst the latter half of the set consisted of all the staples you expect to see at a Frenzal Rhomb show. Ending as quickly as they started, Frenzal were the cherry on top that concluded a fantastic night of Australian musical talent’ honestly there was no better way for 2017 to end and if you didn’t attend, you really missed out!