FESTIVAL REVIEW: Lagerfest IV, The Triffid, Brisbane
In a day and age where bands need to differentiate themselves in order to make a splash, there have been countless hair-brained schemes which never seem to go anywhere. Well, the lovable plunderers in Lagerstein seem to have hit a mark when they began their inaugural Lagerfest a few years ago, and since then the momentum has just kept building. So how did its fourth iteration stack up in a climate which has been devoid of a decent festival for some time? Let’s find out!
I caught the tail end of The Wrath upon entering Lagerfest, and while I can’t comment on most of their set, I can confirm that I liked what I saw on stage. Their energy was eclectic, their presence wasn’t wasted on a big stage, and their performance was the perfect beginning to what was going to be a lengthy day.
Skeleton Quay were on next, and these guys are definitely a band to watch out for. Although their nautically-themed ditties focus primarily on pirates, a few people commented that they would be the perfect band to be paired at a show with Steve’N Seagulls. If their costumes don’t get you into a plundering mood, then their musical take on the adventures of Barnacle Bill the Sailor will surely get you in the mood like it did to the Lagerfest crowd who were in stitches during each and every song.
Transitioning from pirates to vikings, Valhalore hit the stage next and did what they do best by turning an already motivated crowd into a room of viking warriors. The crowd crashed against each other in a shield-wall-of-death, and then linked arms to create a whirling jig pit that stretched from wall to wall. The tenacity, aggression and melodies in this band’s repertoire have helped cement them as one of Brisbane’s rising premiere acts over the last two years and that definitely shows by the crowd response on a mid-afternoon set. With an album launch just around the corner expect to be hearing more of these guys soon.
Keggin’s love of Goon can’t be denied and although they were down to one man, their mid-afternoon set still had the beer garden in stitches. Their acoustic offerings on Australia’s loveable ‘drink and a pillow’ were side-splittingly funny, but the conviction put into singing about it brought a serious tone to the performance. Having half the beer garden singing about goon isn’t normally a difficult thing in Australia, but when everyone is in unison – like they were on this occasion – it is purely sublime.
In a first for me on this day I managed to watch a magician at a festival – A MAGICIAN – seriously, is there anything that Lagerstein didn’t think of for this event? While not as engrossing as watching some of the day’s bands, I appreciated the diversity that Lagerfest had embraced with this act, and the crowd seemed to as well.
Darker Half resumed the musical proceedings and brought their usual melodic power-metal flair to the stage shortly afterwards, signalling the beginning of what was to be some of the more established acts of the night. Coming all the way from Sydney, the band didn’t disappoint and put on one of the more energetic performances of the day which certainly won over the Brisbane crowd.
I must admit that I missed most of The Stiffy’s set because I was engrossed in the Jenga tournament that was taking place in the beer garden, but it made me come to the realisation that people come to event’s like these for so much more than the music. Even something as small as Jenga, a party game, can turn even the most placid of people into cutthroat competitors. I will make comment on one thing though, and that is that if even half of the crowd was buzzing inside the venue for The Stiffy’s set like they were when they came outside, then that would have been one hell of a performance!
Darkcell performed to a pretty packed out room, and the band always look amazing up on stage; but there was something amiss with the sound that made their performance less enjoyable than the others in the day. The band performed their ass off and put on a really good show, so it wasn’t anything wrong with the band or their performance, and was perhaps more to do with the acoustics in the venue not complimenting their grittier sound.
I was actually curious to see if Superheist were going to perform at Lagerfest at all after losing their bassist and drummer earlier that week. Thankfully the band was able to and I am glad for it, because they absolutely owned the crowd in the Triffid. I’m not sure if it was because of the event or whether more people had jump on board the Heist-train since the last tour but there was a larger force out for the set, and it seemed like a lot more people knew the words to the songs. These guys have been an absolute workforce in the Australian metal scene over the last 25 years, and it is through performances like this that they made a name for themselves. Their performance was definitely one of the highlights of my night.
By the time Australia’s most loved band of pirates took to the stage, there was little room to move. This merry crew was the reason most fans showed up for the day and being ever the performers, made sure that the fans weren’t disappointed. I mean I could write song and verse about their performance but those of you that have seen Lagerstein live before know what the crowd witnessed, and for those that haven’t seen them live let me just say that their slogan ‘party times ahoy’ is pretty damn apt. Being the main spectacle of such a big day probably skewed my perception a bit, but I felt like they didn’t get the stage time that they deserved and that their set was short – but it’s more than likely that I was just enjoying myself so much to have not noticed the time fly by. Closing with their ode to the greatest rum on the planet Land of Bundy was a perfect sign off and had everyone in the crowd joining them in chorus. A final linked arm bow with drummer Oldmate Dazzel who at this point was crying knowing that this was his final show was a humbling finish to a day that was filled with laughter and good times.
The big festivals may be gone, but there is still a long desire in Australia for events like the Thrash, Blast and Grind, and Lagerfest; and with the massive turnout that Lagerfest IV had, I think it will be around for some time yet.
Also check out our Photo Gallery of the festival here.