Photos: Elizabeth Sharpe
Words: Shannon-Lee Sloane
Lagerfest 2018. What a day, what a night, what a party! I made my way to The Brightside nice and early with a mate who was dressed as a shark so the day was clearly off to a great start. Walking through the valley it was clear who was heading to Lagerfest with pirate and wench costumes and so much more! Brisbane’s party Jesus was there of course, our resident Viking Odin and there was even a rainbow fairy in the mix. Brisbane music fans were pumped and ready for a huge day and night of fun thanks to the party pirates we all know and love, Lagerstein.
It was a rainy day as the Sunshine State sadly decided to not be sunny on this occasion, but that did not deter the fans. With the first band not kicking off until 3:00 but the doors opening at 2:00, there was plenty to do and keep everyone entertained until the live music started, with beer pong tables, a big blow up bungee cord (which proved even more fun in the rain), a PlayStation and of course the bars were open and ready to serve a thirsty crew. A little later in the day Mother Junkst cooked up a mean batch of his famous chilli and the chilli eating contest was extremely amusing to watch. The winner was Odin’s son Robert who managed to polish off his bowl without batting an eyelid (though he definitely had tears in his eyes later, I am pretty sure that burn would not go away for a long time afterwards!)
With two stages, one indoor and one outside in the car park I spent the day running from one stage to the other doing my best not to miss any bands. Unfortunately I did miss a few but that is what happens with a big festival packed to the brim with awesome bands. All the bands I saw performed brilliantly, and there were two stand-outs for me, but I will go into that later. First up, Brisbane band Former Angels hit the inside stage. These guys are gritty old school hard rock. They played a high energy set which started the day well, creating a great vibe for those who got there early. Their cover of Evie by Stevie Wright was a huge hit with the crowd. Nothing like a classic sing along to get things rolling.
Next I braved the rain and took to the outside stage to catch Melbourne’s Keggin. I was under strict instruction from Melbourne friends to not miss these guys and let me tell you, they totally lived up to the hype. Keggin are just a real good time, good fun kind of band. With songs about goon, beer, Jack Daniels and football they were a perfect band to be on the Lagerfest line up. Both the Majestic Beast and the Captain got up on stage and joined in on the antics. During one song we were treated to a bass solo from bass player Tyquila. Front man The Goon King announced hilariously, “The four-note bass solo everyone! Every time this just puts me in awe of this guy’s talent!” Keggin had the crowds laughing hard and their songs are seriously fun and make you want to jump around and sing along. The stand out song for me was their latest single, Yeah Nah which they have just released a cool film clip for.
Next it was back to the inside stage to catch Brisbane’s Celtic punk rockers, Fox N Firkin. I have followed these guys for many moons and have seen them play many times. They always play a great show, but their performance at Lagerfest was their best live performance that I have seen yet. Fox N Firkin are a high energy, good time band with guitarist and vocalist Andrew Boyle jumping around on stage as he always does and his signature move of smashing the symbols on the drums in the middle of songs. Drummer Robbie Fraser always impresses me with his talent for smashing out the drums and at the same time singing and interacting with the band and crowds. Vocalist, guitarist, mandolin and banjo player Adrian Kay recently broke his wrist but that didn’t stop him from playing amazingly well, cast and all. They opened the set with one of their biggest hits, Over This and ended perfectly with a crowd favourite Drink the Lot. Fox n Firkin are a perfect party band and were a perfect addition to the stellar line up for Lagerfest.
The Bottlers are by far one of my favourite Sydney bands. They are a high energy, hard hitting nine-piece folk punk band. The first time I saw them live was at The Bearded Lady at West End, squashed onto the tiny stage there, and they totally blew me away. Yesterday they had a lot more room to play on the big outdoor stage at Brightside. All nine of them are ridiculously talented and some of the nicest people I know. I absolutely love watching this group of talented musicians creating their magic on stage, whilst all of them are brilliant, my eyes always turn to accordion player Essem and fiddle player Ella Carstein who both play with a passion and energy that just draws you in. The Bottlers were another perfect addition to the lineup.
After getting drenched from the rain watching The Bottlers and with my connies now completely full of water I made my way back inside for some warmth and dryer surroundings. I managed to catch a few songs from JJ Speedball. These guys are pure hard core rock and roll and they rocked out hard with frontman JJ doing some gravity defying air jumps and fly kicks throughout the set.
Hobo Magic are Brisbane’s most loved psychedelic groove rockers and they always deliver a killer show that leaves everyone in awe of the ridiculous amount of talent between the three of them. With Connor ‘Millionaire’ Mitchell on vocals and guitar, Brock ‘Greasy’ Bennett on bass and Luke ‘He Man’ Hanson on drums, all three of them just own the stage. Whilst all of them are amazing to watch, my eyes are always drawn to Bennett who plays bass like it was the only thing he was born to do.
Next up was Melbourne rockers Dead City Ruins. Wow! These guys are just so ridiculously good. With an old school heavy rock and roll sound mixed with vocals that are almost Thrash Metal sounding I was truly in awe. Watching guitarists Tommy Tbone, Sean Blanchard and bass player Matthew Berg all whipping their hair around while rocking out hard was a sight to see. I did not want to stop watching these guys but I simply had to run inside to catch the last few songs from Minus Life.
After breaking up 11 years ago, Minus Life recently reformed and made their comeback to the local Metal scene in Brisbane with a sold out show at Crowbar. Since then they have played a killer line up of shows and their performance at Lagerfest was nothing short of amazing. The hard and heavy sound these guys create has an almost haunting sound added to each song with Matt Bellette’s keyboard playing. This was their last gig for this year and they certainly ended with a bang.
Last but by no means least, the band we had all been waiting for hit the outside stage. By this time the rain had mostly cleared up with only some light drizzle left. Lagerstein fans crowded around the stage waiting eagerly for them to begin. You could feel the energy and excitement from everyone as they opened with Raise Your Steins. They went on to play all the fan favourites including their new single Party All the Time, originally done by Eddie Murphy which was incredibly well received. After having a great time playing Lagerfest in Melbourne and Sydney it was clear the guys were happy to be playing in their hometown of Brisbane with the Captain asking, “How’s it going Brisbane!?” to which the fans cheered and yelled extremely loudly. The Captain then replied, “I ask that in Melbourne and Sydney but the response is never quite the same.” The fans went wild during the set with some jumping up on stage, plenty of crowd surfing with blow-up pool toys in the shape of sharks and watermelons being thrown around, beer and rum being spilt everywhere and everyone hot and sweaty and wet from the rain. Brisbane really does have an amazing music family going on. Everyone was there for a good time and the energy and vibes that Lagerstein create reflected into the crowd and then back to the stage. A shared love and appreciation between a band and their fans is a lovely thing to be a part of and last night I am quite sure it was felt by everyone there. Lagerstein always interact with the fans at their live shows and one of my favourite moments at every gig is when they come into the crowd and everyone sits down and sings along while they play Drink ‘Til we Die. It is always such a heartwarming moment. This was Lagerstein’s last live performance for a while as they now take some time to focus on album number Three and I seriously cannot wait for its release.
I take my hat off to the Lagerstein guys and all those involved with putting on such an amazing festival. Lagerfest V 2018 was a huge success and I already can’t wait for next year!