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Words by Brodie Ramsay

Photography by Tam Schilling | @tamcamimages_

FULL GALLERY HERE

That’s a wrap on the full run of Good Things Festival 2023, arguably the best GTF to date!

Headlined by emo icons Fall Out Boy and the kings of nu-metal Limp Bizkit, thousands flocked to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to see some of the greatest metal, punk and rock artists in the biz. DEVO, Bullet For My Valentine, Corey Taylor, Enter Shikari and I Prevail were just some of the show-stopping talent that made their way up the east coast to create one hell of a good time.

It’s been really nice attending every Brisbane Good Things since 2018 and watching it evolve as a festival, working out all the kinks to putting on such a large event. So let’s begin with a big congratulations to Good Things Festival for putting on an almost flawless production.  This year the line-up into the event was fast and smooth due to the additional entrance point posted on the O’Connell Terrace side of the RNA Showgrounds –  They also had an express lane for people without bags needing to be checked.

Security allowed water bottles to be taken in this year, which I’m eternally grateful for because Brisbane temps were above 33ºC on Sunday #normalizewinterfestivals. Good Things really put a focus on making sure patrons stayed alive long enough to have a good time, which is… admirable… and so much appreciated. And while it was a little irritating having to try and navigate the construction being done on Exhibition Station as part of the Cross River Rail project, I certainly appreciate them moving stages 3 and 4 away from the Alexandria Street park, which was where I was very close to becoming a crowd crush victim in the Electric Callboy mosh pit last year. Don’t get me wrong, that is the way I want to go, just preferably not in the same location they have the Ekka petting zoo.

Stages 3 and 4 were now located on the O’Connell Tce side of the showgrounds in the big tent, which is important to note because over here they also had substantially more food carts with more coordinated line-up structures than in previous years.

Kicking the festival off was one of my current favourite bands, The Plot In You, who put on an incredible performance. Bright coloured inflatable balls bounced through the waves of sweaty punters while Landon Tewers screamed his lungs out, doing his best to, in his own words, “not pass out”. You have to appreciate the production value of these guys constantly urging the crowd to use their vapes to blow smoke into the air. Personally, I applaud the effort, because it helped to cover the stench of sweat with the fragrant aromas of clinically produced grape. Now you might be thinking that’s not necessarily better… and you’d of course be right.

Heading to Stages 1 and 2 out on the main field, you could see from the bleachers that the festival was a sea of black band tee’s with the occasional pop of colour from friend groups dressed in matching Where’s Wally outfits, Power Ranger morphsuits or Lowes matching pineapple Hawaiian shirt and shorts. Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari even made a point to mention that he appreciates that of the countries they’ve toured, Australia wears the most amount of colour. Speaking of Rou Reynolds, the man does well at playing to the live-view cameras. This is a commendable skill given that once you’re a hundred or so people back from the stage, you really tend to rely on those big screens to see what’s going on.

Enter Shikari by Tam Schilling

Back to Stage 3 and 4, the fast-rising Russian deathcore band Slaughter to Prevail prepared to take the stage. I’m not even mad about the heat for this one because when lead singer Alex Terrible stepped out onto that stage in his iconic gold demon mask, and screamed in his impossibly low pitch, it felt like we had just entered the fiery pits of hell. During the show, he used his platform to give an excellent speech on accountability, and not blaming others for our problems, but rather, looking within to see how we can help to become the solution. Being a part of what I think can aptly be named the Slaughter pit, was certainly a memorable experience. Although, triggering flashbacks of the sardine can Electric Callboy pit flooded my mind as Alex Terrible tried to open up a wall of death, but everyone was packed in too tight to create empty floor space. I think I lost about half my body weight in sweat during this show, and I walked out not knowing if I was soaked in my own sweat or everyone else’s.

Slaughter To Prevail by Tam Schilling

And so we encounter the greatest dilemma all festival goers must face at one time or another in their life. Choosing between two conflicting acts. While She Sleeps and Corey Taylor were on at the same time, on opposite sides of the festival. It’s cruel to have to compete with the lead singer of Slipknot, but I think British metalcore band While She Sleeps really held their own in the size of the audience they pulled – And ultimately, they were probably one of the biggest highlights of the day for me.

Lawrence Taylor is an exceptional showman, and the music the band makes is so well crafted in its production. I really think it’s along the same plane of talent as Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) and Jordan Fish (Bring Me The Horizon). The only negative to the WSS set, and at absolutely no fault of the band or festival, was that while lead singer, Lawrence Taylor, did his usual crowd surf/walk while singing, he was groped by a punter. When he climbed back to the stage, he rightfully called them out on it, and requested an apology. It’s always great to see such awful behaviour being called out publicly, because no one deserves to be touched inappropriately or without consent – and if we’re not rejecting it, we’re accepting it.

During the WSS set my friend lost his phone in the moshpit – another rite of passage at a festival – so we spent the Jebediah set crawling along the field of crushed cans looking for it. So I still have no idea what Jebediah looks like and if the band is in fact lead by an Amish man named Jebediah, but I do know that hearing She’s Like A Comet live can now be checked off my bucket list.

While She Sleeps by Tam Schilling

Seeing Bullet For My Valentine literally dropped my hair colour three shades darker and added 2 inches to my side fringe. It was a haunting blast from the past to witness something my teenage self would have killed for. They sounded just as they did on my iPod classic back in the day, but with the added sensation of those massive speakers rippling bass through my body. 

I Prevail, who single handedly took out every position on my 2020 Spotify Wrapped top songs, album and artist, hit the stage by playing the song Rumble by Fred Again, Flowdan and Skrillex – which seamlessly transitioned (somehow) into their hit song Bow Down. Hey look, I’m here for it. Let’s get an actual Fred Again / I Prevail collab going. The ironic thing about the I Prevail pit is that after each wall of death and circle pit, everyone reached down to grab dropped possessions and held them in the air for other punters to see and come collect. Had my friend only lost his phone in this far more courteous crowd, perhaps he’d be playing Wordle right now instead of sitting at home crying while reading papyrus manuscripts – or whatever it is people did before phones. Pyrotechnics flared as I Prevail went on to cover Chop Suey by System of a Down, and lead vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe changed the ‘shoey’ game forever by taking a drink out of a fans prosthetic leg!

I Prevail by Tam Schilling

A lot of people might hate me for this, but I had never heard of DEVO before the lineup announcement for Good Things 2023 dropped. It’s mostly due to the abuse I copped for saying this, that I felt the need to see the set. I sat in awe as I witnessed what I can only describe as a live interpretation of me staying up past my bedtime and watching RAGE in the middle of the night. Their whole performance looked and sounded like a trippy music video from the 90’s – the costumes, the personality, the background screens that looked like a Windows Media Player visualiser. I know I’m about 40 years late to the party, but consider me a fan!

Enter Limp Bizkit. They boldly opened the set with one of their most popular tracks, Break Stuff. Usually, this level of popularity in a song would be reserved for the final song on the setlist… and wouldn’t you know it, they also played the song again last. Now that’s how you treat fans of a song. The only visual I’d previously had in my head of Fred Durst is him wearing the iconic backwards red cap, so it had me rattled like a baby seeing its dad without a beard for the first time when Durst walked out with a white bucket hat on. Speaking of outfits, lead guitarist and backing vocalist, Wes Borland, known for his dark and elaborate stage looks, came on stage covered head to toe in a mask and suit. The floral patterned white suit and haunting bearded white mask had me fearing dark Santa was going to kill us all every time he appeared on the big live-cast screen. Not only was it an impressive outfit, it was an equally impressive feat to keep it on for the duration of the set in the Australian heat. 

Credit also needs to go to the vision switcher controlling the large live displays to the sides of the main stages. It was like watching a music video. You could just see they were a fan of Limp Bizkit because everytime the camera angle changed, it was perfectly timed on the beat.

Limp Bizkit by Tam Schilling

And finally we arrive at Fall Out Boy – the band that single-handedly got me through high school. The intermission between sets was played out with Fall Out Boy’s updated cover of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire – and then orchestral music filled the air as they opened with Love From The Other Side, the lead single from their latest album, ‘So Much (for) Stardust’. Patrick Stump’s irreplicable voice echoed across the packed showgrounds as stage level fireworks popped from behind drummer Andy Hurley. The pyrotechnics and stage elements were next level for this performance. In addition to the fireworks, they also made use of haze, fire, bubbles, and a confetti cannon. Bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz rocked a bass guitar with a flamethrower fixed to the head for several songs; most fittingly during My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘em Up). He also made use of magic (of course he did). At one stage, he stands atop a piano reading out Baby Annihilation, and then slips behind a black curtain which drops to the floor as he pulls a disappearing act. 

The stage design for the show was large and eccentric. From giant sea creatures like starfish and shells, to a colossal animated doberman head. The set pieces all cohesively related to the message and themes of their latest album, ‘So Much (for) Stardust’ – Brisbane being the final stop on their global album tour. Despite being a ‘Stardust’ show, a lot of old songs were played; Most excitingly for me, plenty of tracks from ‘Folie à Deux’, the album cover of which I have tattooed to my arm. They also threw in a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train and ended on Saturday from their debut album, ‘Take This to Your Grave’.

All in all, I think the 2023 Good Things Festival was the best one so far. Everyone at GTF should be proud of what they’ve put on as thousands of punters got to experience an incredible day of music and fun – well worth braving a day out in the Queensland heat.

I have a very good feeling about what is coming in 2024.

Fall Out Boy by Tam Schilling

Thanks to Dallas Does PR

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