MIAMI SHARK BAR  19.08.2017


19 bands. 14 hours. What a day. What a night. This is huge.

The sun is shining, the winds are howling up from icy Antarctica. It’s scorching in the sun and freezing in the shade, but pretty well perfect regardless. Not a cloud n sight.

Local lads, RADOLESCENT, kick things off around the crack of noon, looking resplendent in their white track-suits streaked with red Adidas stripes. Looking sharp, sounding sweet. I rue the day that set-lists – actual paper scrawled lists gaffer-ed to the stage floor – were taken over digitally. Now scurried away on electronic devices and phones and i-thingies, I can’t scramble on to the stage and un-gaffer the precious, soggy inventory and reel off every title of every song from every band like I’m some sort of genius/freak. With 19 bands playing, including the After Party, I only manage to score one lonely, actual, physical set-list. So I don’t know the names of all the songs but I’ve seen these guys a few times now and I know some of the words, embedded subliminally into my brain.

“Hungry like a wolf

Howling at the moon

Wish I didn’t feel this way

My eyes are bleeding at the scene”.

I think that’s what they said. The Rado lads are a great start to the day, and night, of Shaka festivities. We’re all hyped and psyched for all that lays ahead.

In contrast, TRAPDOOR up next, are all cloaked in black, apart from main-man Tim in “stylish” khaki overalls. Quite the fashion trend at the moment it seems. These guys are our Goldie’s favourite sons. The locals love them and they effortlessly win over the out-of-towners I get chatting to. Tim screeches and growls maniacally. Gravelly. Guitar reverbs through your veins. The throng join in word-for-word with Holy Truth and Hi Ho Silver and Gold. It’s voodoo blues and we are under its spell.

HEMINGWAY bound on stage in all manner of colourful attire. Fringes and frills and yes, overalls. Tie-dyed overalls. Funky threads and funky shreds. Hip-hopping reggae beats, and electronic treats. The Brisbane extra-terrestrials are on their “Intergalactic Bombastic Tour” throughout the universe and their rocket ship has touched down in Miami. Look out for them drones boys.

“Ever heard of a band called The Avalanches? If you know the words, sing it”.

And everybody sings along”

“Ah, Frank Sinatra. Ah Frank Sinatra… ”

Then morphs into Insane in the Membrane. The crowd chimes in with: “Insane in the brain”.

Then.. is that a tune from Sound of Music?  “These are a few of my favourite things”. What the?

Back to Frank Sinatra. A trumpet appears. Slinky ragga, haunting brass. Brilliant.

Brisbane’s WAAX kick things up a notch and a half. Maz prowls the stage. Her voice quivering  through the angst and defiance of “I’m Just a Girl”. Taunting, pleading, menacing. They rock the hell out on the main stage.

“I want to give a shout out to every single band playing here today”.

I dash upstairs and inside to the darkened Shark Bar just in time to miss KAZUAL TEA. God damn dang it. That’s a bit of a casualty right there. I’ve seen them play before and will definitely be seeing them again. I run into bass player Ant and best-mate, guitarist, Nathan, all over the place, day and night. They are having a blast. As always.

Back outside into the blinding sunlight. The smell of spray paint hitting me as artists graffiti their works of art. Skaters are zooming and looping, defying gravity. Is that Super Freak I hear as I look down from the balcony to the main stage?

It’s IVAN OOZE. Finally I get to see him. Don’t know how I’ve kept missing him all this while. And that was him standing next to me all those times earlier. I would have struck up a conversation and welcomed him/them to our sunny shores if I’d realised. By the end of the festival, he, Ivan aka Juan Castro Riviera aka Ben, and his right-hand man, Junior, have become my new special friends.

The crowd are joining in: ” Super Freak. Super Freak. She’s super freaky. She’s alright. The girls alright”. Rat-a-tat-rap. Man he’s fast.

Ivan calls out” “Here’s a track I did with a band called Crooked Colours. I hope you get it”.

He rips off his Thrasher hoodie and screams out, “WAR. O-O-O. What is it good for?”

And the mob shout back, “Absolutely nothing”. Junior on the decks flings his blonde dreads madly. Wu Tan Clan are in there somewhere. It’s all so gleefully hectic. “I bring the fucking fire”. Oh yes you do Ivan.Thank you.

Back upstairs, well up the car ramp to be precise, and into the dark. Those wild VOIID girls are smashing it. Loose. As punk as. They love to party on but alas have to trek off to Coffs this night for a gig in Newie the night after. Living the dream. I bump into Anji in the Ladies. “My nipples are chaffed. They are so sore”. I asked if I could quote her on that. “Please do”. And I think she would have let me photograph them, but I do have some scruples. Not many. I’ve sort of adopted her. I think she might need a bit of discipline but she sure ain’t gonna get it from me.

On that well traversed east coast route and a bit travel weary, are the guys from Adelaide, STORK. I got talking to singer Pat earlier. They played back here at the Sharky in December and so impressed that they were invited back for Shakafest. They’ve done a lot of driving the past few days. They played in Wollongong (at the Rad Bar which thankfully is now heritage listed and not closing, Pat tells me) and the night before up the Sunny Coast at Sol Bar. Then they’re down to Sydney and back to Adelaide then over to Melbourne. They don’t look like they are too stressed though as they casually saunter on stage. Some tech hic-cups don’t phase them either. Some happy yips and yelps and then off they go.

“This song’s about sharing a house together. You know what it’s like. It’s called All Together. And it rips away like a freight train hurtling through the Adelaide Hills.

“This one’s a new one. It’s called Cane Toad. As some random dude bounces on stage flaunting some hideous baggy Y-fronts over his jeans. That doesn’t seem to phase the Radelaide lads much either.

“Next song is about sharks”, as the guitarists launch onto the dance floor much to the delight of the dick in the dick pants.

“I think we have two more. This one’s about a dog. Not just any dog. It’s a Jack Russell. You might just pick up on it”. No I didn’t. I didn’t ‘get it’. But I dug it.

“We’ve got one more song. It’s called Congrats. Fucking congrats mate. Cheers”.

Happy travels guys.

Oh bugger. I missed TIRED LION. They’ve travelled even further, from Perth, but by plane I presume. Well I did see them last year and somehow got into quite an existential conversation with singer-guitarist Sophie and Nkechi from Saskwatch about death and rainbows. Deep.

“What’s up all?”,  calls out Solo on the main stage. “We go by the name of HORRORSHOW. Shakafest, you got me feeling like we’re all gonna be kings by the morning. We’ve played on the GC many times. This is the second inaugural Shakafest. I just want to let you know that you are so beautiful to me”.

Adit on the decks as Solo shouts out, “We ride till there’s no rides left. No rides left”.

“It’s a long day of music here on the Goldie. I flew up from Melbourne so I bought some snacks”. He brings out a box full of mini chip packs which are flung to the masses.

“We got the freaky drone flying over us like we’re living in the future” .

” I want to thank Surfin Jesus on the drums. We got Freddy from Sticky Fingers on the keys. And my man A D on the wheels. I want to thank you all”.

Their bio says, “Adit makes the beats. Solo talks all the shit”. Good shit. Thanks man.

Oh shit I missed Electric Zebra. Oh well I saw them last time they played at the Sharky and I said something about industrial rock. Or mathematical rock. I’ll see you around boys for sure.

Rocky lads PANDAMIC have been wandering around this neck of the woods lately. Caught them down Byron a few weeks back. Singer Reese, with his new fringe, says, “Okay. We’re gonna play a bunch of shit tonight. This one’s called Archer. Everyone joins in, “We can get so high. We can get so high”.

“This song’s called The Deep End”. It’s beautifully loose.

“This songs called Sandy”. The audience sing along.

“Whoa whoa Sandy. S-a-a-an-d-e-e”, and finishes with a resounding boom.

VICES Dj’s are dishing up some golden oldies. Wasn’t expecting to hear John Farnham at Shakafest. The mob loved it, shouting along to You’re the Voice. Then Men at Work’s Land Down Under. Kings of Leon’s Your Sex is on Fire has folks going ape-shit as it heralds the arrival of the much loved and re-born BUTTERFINGERS.

Eddie quips, ” We are Grinspoon”.

Of course you’re not. You are Butterfingers. Butter Butter Fingers.

“Get a beer. This song’s called Queensland”.

I still reckon this is one of the best lines ever written. “Turn your back to us. Shake your gluteus maximus” Pure poetry. We shaka-ed our arses off. So happy you are back Eddie and crew.

Oh dear. I missed DEAR SEATTLE. Bugger. Something to look forward to then.

DZ DEATHRAYS blitzed the stage, as always. All I can remember is Shane saying, “We’ve got a new one. This song’s called Witchcraft”. Yeah you’ve cast your spell on me. I can’t think or write. I just gotta dance.

So to GRINSPOON. What can you say that’s never been said before? 20years. Where the hell has that time gone?

They were Triple J’s very first Unearthed band back in September 1997.

Phil calls out, “20 years ago we put out an album. We’re going to play it in full right here”. The crowd goes mental as they weave their way through the entire Guide to Better Living. We are all entranced.

“We’ve been coming to the GC for years. We want to thank everyone from the front to the back for supporting the Grinners”.

My favourite track, Chemical Heart, gives me goose-bumps. I first heard it live back in the days when Splendour was still a baby at Belongil Fields. It gave me goose-bumps way back then. Phil wandered past me at this years Splendour and said Hi. Waved and smiled. Looking good man. I missed seeing him perform on stage with the Dune Rats, damn it, ’cause I was “working” on the Artist Gate, though I could hear snippets wafting down from the Amphitheatre. Crazy good.

“Are you mother fucking ready?’. Hell yeah, give us all you got.

We’ve already lost control. Already Lost Control. Hard Act to Follow and More Than You Are bring it home as there is a massive explosion of glittering confetti. What a sight. What a bloody awesome day and night. Grinners everywhere.


But wait. There’s more. The After Party kicks off upstairs. But that’s another story.


To be continued….

Read After Party review here


Review written by Carmel E Lewis

Photos: Ashleigh Hobbs

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