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Words by Tracey Moyle
Photos by Paul Blackburn // @wysiwyg.pix

This weekend Spring Loaded Festival returned to Bribie Islands Sandstone Point Hotel along with a hoard of old-school Aussie music enthusiasts. This popular outdoor music location may be an hour from Brisbane but is well worth the trip. With a line-up featuring some of our most adored 90’s rock and punk icons, the fans were out in force. With the promise of a high level of nostalgia and a guarantee of pure Aussie (and Kiwi) rock the clouds didn’t deter fans from showing up early to grab their spot. Headliners Spiderbait, led an onslaught of rock royalty with Eskimo Joe, Ratcat, Shihad, Frenzal Rhomb, Magic Dirt, Bodyjar and Screamfeeder joining in on the stage antics.

The day’s shenanigans were hosted, once again, by radio host and Frenzal Rhomb guitarist Lindsay McDougall. You honestly couldn’t find a more perfect host for a Spring Loaded Festival. With some banter and gratitude for the lockdowns and crazy days of covid cancellations behind us, Lindsay brought the days openers, Brisbane’s much-loved Alternative popsters Screamfeeder, onto the stage. With a massive local following in place early, Screamfeeder looked well at home on the festival stage. Their fuzz-pop sound is so distinct bringing on an instant hit of nostalgia. Tim and Kellie’s shared vocals feel completely instinctive, which is not surprising after three decades of playing together. They covered as much of their 30-plus years as possible in their opening slot. Included in their set, fans sang along to hits including I Don’t Know What To Do Anymore, Lost In The Snow, Down The Drinker and with popular rock track Hi C’s taking out the set the first Spring Loaded Festival of 2023 was off to a solid start.

A good 15 minutes between sets gave the stage and the fans time to reset. More drinks a tasty vegan lunch and back to the stage for a big festival favourite. Punters with Bodyjar t-shirts scattered the crowd ready to let loose to one of the country’s most loved punk bands. Ready to raise the roof as always, Aussie skate/pop punks Bodyjar took to the stage with a roar from the crowd. Another 30-year career gives a plethora of choices for their setlist. Last year the band released their latest album ‘New Rituals’, capturing three decades of experience producing possibly their best album yet. The band wove between old, One In A Million, and new, Get Out Of My Head, and back again. Battling some sound issues didn’t stop them, the boys got the crowd moving playing through their brilliant cover of Dragon’s Rain, Magic Dirt’s rock goddess Adalita joining them on stage for Too Drunk to Drive and back to new music with Surrender. With the crowd sufficiently warmed up the stage was cleared ready for more.

Frenzal Rhomb took to the stage with another rush from the crowd to join in on the impending energy surge this Aussie punk institution were about to unleash. Frontman Jay Whalley banters about the new album ‘The Cup of Pestilence’, joking about it being a whole 10 minutes long. With Frenzal’s classic short, fast, loud punk style, it may not have been a joke, but with 19 songs (most falling short of two minutes) the album goes well over the ten-minute mark. Frenzal opened with a new track from the album Where Drug Dealers Take Their Kids. More technical issues with Lindsay’s guitar and amp, held them up for a few minutes but in terms of songs that’s a lot of lost music for Frenzal. Whalley keeps the crowd fresh with playful banter about Bodyjar’s comments on the band looking undernourished. His response was to the band looking more like salesmen at a Super Cheap Auto store – “at least we look like a band” he playfully taunted. Plugged in again and they’re off on a Frenzal frenzy, bouncing between old – Bird Attack, Russell Crowe’s Band, Making Gravox and new Gone To The Dogs, The Wreckage and Dog Tranquillizer. They threw in crowd pleasers When My Baby Smiles At Me I Go To Rehab, Never Had So Much Fun and You Are Not My Friend amongst the mix and left everyone happy with Punch In The Face.

Next up, Kiwi rock legends Shihad, once again came along to please their long faithful Aussie following. The weather outside was cooling down as the sun was setting but the stage was warming up. Shihad had shown up to do what they do best – 45 minutes of pure rock. They knew their crowd and went back to 1999 with My Mind Sedate and The General Electric from their classic album of the same name. They played their cover of Split Enz classic I Got You giving the song a much darker mood than the original. Feel The Fire got hard and heavy giving fans new music from their 2021 album ‘Old Gods’. Crowd surfing and fists punching the air show these rockers haven’t lost anything across their 36 years. Then as the sun set, they played smash hit Pacifier. Frontman, Jon Toogood introduces the band paying respect to bassist Karl Kippenberger who had a burst appendix and a collapsed lung only a month ago. The set ended with their massive hit Home Again.

Spring Loaded 2023 felt like a constant stream of headliners and it was overwhelming to think the best was yet to come. Magic Dirt was the next to take the stage with frontwoman and Aussie rock goddess Adalita Srsen a definite crowd-pleaser. Fans of this band and particularly Adalita are a dedicated following. As they played Grab Your Hair from their ‘Snow White’ album the crowd were right there in the moment. They struggled with sound issues with Adalita’s mic not meeting the crowds’ expectations. But this didn’t deter anyone. They kept the hits coming with Adalita showing the crowd she hasn’t lost any of her rock prowess over the years with Supagloo and All My Crushes rocking out across the crowd. They played through a classic set list taking out the night with Plastic Loveless Letter and crowd-pleaser Dirty Jeans.

The day was just one legendary band after another. The crowd were stoked, and you could feel the buzz in the air ahead of one of the most anticipated performances of the day was from ‘90s alternative rockers Ratcat.  T-shirts scattered about the crowd showing the fans from their heyday were showing up for a taste of nostalgia. The band arrived on stage thanking the crowd for being there going straight into instrumental track Overdrive, to kick off the set.  They took everyone back to where it all started in 1990 with Don’t Go In The Water, with a pause for more tech issues to overcome. They took the crowd into She’s A Gas and Go Go, the fans digging deep and finding out they still had the lyrics in there somewhere, singing along like they were 18 again. It was like watching that same old garage indie punk band from years past with just a few more grey hairs. The classics kept coming and fans kept singing. Tingles, Baby Baby and crowd favourite Don’t Go Now had everyone jumping. To take out their set they had Screamfeeder’s Tim Steward join in for That Ain’t Bad. “Yeah, eah eah eah, I Love You” sang the crowd to the band and the band to the crowd.

Perth rock legends Eskimo Joe were next to entertain the crowd. These alternative rockers have been recording and touring for 26 years and are one of the country’s most adored rock bands. Their songs are anthems for so many and the crowd gathered in force to the stage to listen to their idols. There was no wasting time as the hits (and there are many) poured across the hungry crowd. After a line-up of so many brilliant bands, the fans were still up for more. And more is what they got. Taking the fans back for more reminiscing, 2006 single Sarah, rocked out across the venue. New York gave the fans more of that moment in time before going back further, with Older Than You bringing the vocal cords of the fans out in force. The band transitioned through different eras, taking us from 2009’s Foreign Land to early cut Who Sold Her Out to their movie soundtrack moment with Setting Sun. Love Is A Drug had the fans completely involved as looming rain clouds threatened to open up. They ended their set with the first song Kav ever wrote. a song that took a lot of people back to the days long forgotten with 1998 hit Sweater.

With most of the crowd there from the start of the day, there could have been a drop in energy levels, but it turned out Spiderbait taking the stage created exactly the opposite. It seemed like every person in the venue ran to the stage ready for one of the country’s most exciting and most loved live bands. Then with a pounding force, Straight Through The Sun, swept out through the crowd. Shazam kept the crowd jumping and just when you thought it was time for a breather, Outta My Head raised the bar. Then we got our breather with Hot Water And Milk. Kram loves the crowd and the crowd loves Kram. His banter is as much a part of a Spiderbait set as the music. He spoke about the old days with Screamfeeder and getting pulled over by the cops and his appreciation for the rising popularity of women’s football. He dedicated Tonite to Screamfeeder then ramped it up again with popular sing-along Fuckin Awesome. And it’s not a Spiderbait show without Old Man Sam. This is the point the crowd goes nuts. Kram’s son Lonnie joined them on drums for Buy Me A Pony with the crowd lapping it up. But all good things come to an end and no prizes for guessing the final song. Black Betty had the fans put in one last burst of energy to finish off a perfect day of music from Aussie (and Kiwi) rock and roll royalty.

Another brilliant Spring Loaded Tour. Can’t wait for the next one.

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Thanks to On The Map PR

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