May 8, 2021
Australia continues to see 2021 bringing back a sense of normalcy, with live shows becoming more regular occurrences and bigger music festivals returning.
After having had an ill-fated COVID-tainted start in 2020, it was great to see the Spring Loaded extravaganza going ahead.
In essence, Spring Loaded is a daylong homage to the early days of festivals like Big Day Out and Homebake, with the line-up paying homage to the crème de la crème of Australian music from the 1990s.
The Sydney incarnation of the nationwide touring festival saw an eclectic bill comprised of bands like Grinspoon, Jebediah, Magic Dirt, Frenzal Rhomb, The Meanies and Tumbleweed amongst other take the stage and while there certainly was a sense of nostalgia and a more mature aged audience, the bands proved to be no less visceral and thrilling than twenty plus years ago, with quite a few of them not only relying on their respective back catalogues but convincing with their most recent emissions.
Upon first entering the festival grounds, Brisbane’s Screamfeeder serenaded us as they were in the midst of exciting an already sizeable audience with a solid set, followed by Tumbleweed from Wollongong, who I have been longing to experience in the third dimension for the longest time as I have always harboured a weak spot for them marrying sixties psychedelia with lush wah-wah drenched layerings to create their idiosyncratic stoner rock variant.
What better band could follow than the Australian alternative rock institution Magic Dirt with their polished garage rock, with especially their earlier Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey inspired tracks from their formative phase proving to be highlights of the day.
Frenzal Rhomb has been around for nearly thirty years and is yet to disappoint in a live environment. With their idiosyncratic melange of tongue-in-cheek high-octane punk rock blasts and quality banter, they delivered a tight and energetic set that despite the size of the festival felt intimate.
Next up was Jebediah channelling their straight forward alternative rock, which translates brilliantly to a live show as it foregoes virtuosic window-dressing and instead focusses on kick-ass tunes, with each one seamlessly transitioning into the next.
Having seen Phil Jamieson perform not only solo but also in a variety of guises as part of collaborations over the last couple of years, it was good to see him back at the helm of Grinspoon. Well-aged and refined on the exterior, the crowd-pleasing set was a mix of both unpolished and polished classic tracks, delivered in a powerful and on-point manner with Jamieson not only belting out bangers with his trademark boisterous vocal delivery but energetically bouncing about with gusto while doing so.
Summa summarum, a day that not only celebrated some of the bast Australian alternative has to offer but a celebration of the joys that only live music can deliver.
photos by @k.a.vv
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