Both the beer, and cider was in abundance but so was the music. Food trucks were catering to all tastes.
The day of music kicked off with Melbourne alternative rock band, Loser, taking to the main stage. Their debut EP ‘RestlessNoise‘ saw the crowd create some noise in support of this beautiful piece of music performed live.
The stage was filled with the sounds of crashing cymbals and Maxwell’s rhythmic vocals as the boys stepped it up a bit and stayed true to their name playing the music anticipated track ‘loser‘. The performance was full of raw energy and passionate vocals, perfectly conveying feelings of conflict, isolation and the struggles of staying true to ones self in hard times. The band treated the crowd to their newly released song ‘Vacation’ which had them hooked within the first seven seconds. Loser were the perfectly set the tone for the day ahead, while leaving everyone wanting more.
Between the acts it was hard to resist the countless beers and ciders on offer. From Young Henry’s cider to Single Fine Ale, there was something that catered to everyones personal taste. The Young Henry’s Cloudy Cider was crisp, refreshing with the combination of sweet apple and tartness. Coupled with a water it helped ease the relentless Melbourne heat.
As the day started heating up so did the atmosphere, with more people filtering in through the gates. Next up on the stage was the legendary Alex the Astronaut opening with a crowd favourite ‘Waste of Time‘ on electric guitar. Alex commented that the electric guitar “made her look cool”, making the crowd erupted into laughter, before switching to acoustic. Followed with ‘William and Georgia’, dedicating it to all the Williams and Georgia’s jokingly suggesting that everyone had until the end of the song to “change their names to William or Georgia on Facebook”. Alex then went on to share the story behind track ‘Rockstar City’. Written about her first ever gig in New York, America, which took place at a hole in the wall, dressed in the clothes her mum had picked for her, she’d begged her 10 friends to come and she’d got up there and explained she was absolutely terrible, but she didn’t care because she felt like ‘BobDylan’ erupting cheers from the crowd. During her newer song ‘I think you’re great’ she encouraged everyone to hi-five or hug someone they thought were great, she also encouraged the crowd to sing along to all the ‘doo doos’. Alex proved herself as a story teller, along with a songwriter, sharing how her next song ‘Sydney in June’ was about how her plane almost crashed when trying to return home. She told the story surrounding how she was up in the air in a 747 Virgin flight and people were panicking and pressing the emergency button after a failed landing attempt, which saw the plane do a loop and end up almost vertical, at which point she had resolved that she would either “live in the sky forever or die in a fiery plane crash”. My personal favourite was ‘I believe in music’ echoing the simplicity of the lyric: “I don’t need no winged friends, Just my guitar and some paper and pens”. Alex made special mention to it being Mardi Gras in Sydney and decided that “we’d have our own Mardi Gras” during her song ‘Not Worth Hiding’, this was overly supported by the crowd erupting in cheers with drinks raised and proved to be a very powerful song on a very momentous day. After stories of meeting her manager, and drinking far too much wine before a show Alex concluded her set with ‘Happy Song‘ which had the crowd singing along happily regardless of the beating sun.
The energy levels had hit insane levels as Brisbane rock band, WAAX took the stage. The stage presence possessed by lead singer Marie was nothing short of remarkable. She had the audience captivate by her performance. Snaking her way up the mic stand and locking eyes with her crowd, intensifying how powerful their music was. Playing hits like ‘This is Everything’ and ‘Wild and Weak’ saw the crowd singing along and loving every minute of it, with die-hard fans at the barrier. WAAX went on to dedicate the song ‘You Won’t Believe’ to a friend going through a rough time, which was a really heartfelt and a beautiful notion. The warm-hearted vibe changed to one of raw passion with their song ‘Wednesday’ dedicated to all those people you wanted to say “fuck you” too. Followed by their rejuvenation song ‘Nothing is Always’ echoing the sentiment that things can only get better. They went on to absolutely smash out their new release ‘Labrador’ and closed the set with their newest release song ‘FU’, by far the crowds’ favourite with chants of ‘fuck you’ constantly echoed throughout the song. But it’s the meaning within the song ‘FU’ that needs to be remembered. It holds an important message surrounding abuse and victim shaming, seeking to highlight that abuse in any form is something no one should ever be subjected to, and trying to change society’s views and make victims feel safe to speak out. It’s a truly powerful piece of music by WAAX in every sense of the word and boy did they do it justice, their performance left me with goosebumps despite the stage itself feeling like an oven.
Within the first few lines of WestThebartons, ‘Do you believe’ they had me well and truly hooked. The rock band from Adelaide were previously nominated for the 2018 ARIA for Best Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal album and rightly so. Smashing out hit after hit from ‘Stuck on you’ to ‘Basics’, ‘BibleCamp’ to ‘Desire’, ‘Hypersensitivity’ to ‘Tops’ they were unstoppable giving the crowd what they wanted and in their sound. BrianBolado was constantly moving, playing the bass and then suddenly being behind a drum kit, leaving everyone wondering where he’d end up next. At one stage he climbed to the very top of the stack of speakers and perched precariously on the edge, a moment which left my heart in my throat praying he wouldn’t fall. Lead singer Ray has an absolutely electrifying presence onstage you simply can’t take your eyes off him, from swinging his mic around to propping his foot up on the speakers and even hopping right over them to revel in his audience, he absolutely nailed his interaction with the crowd and they loved him for it. Members of the audience threw him a beer which he gladly accepted and he was constantly enjoying beer after beer, echoing the sentiment of it being a ‘beer and cider festival’. He was airborne on several different occasions launching himself into the air as the crowd watched in awe! During one of their final songs Ray made everyone get low and crouch on the floor before jumping up and returning to a standing position. Despite the sweltering heat they gave it their absolute all, you could tell just from their clothes, absolutely drenched with sweat and by the sweat pouring down their faces. They went out with a bang to ‘Moving Out’. Definitely a band I would happily see live again.
Melbourne band Something for Kate kicked off the evening’s entertainment. The trio were absolute powerhouses on the stage, with a very unique sound that was hard to define in words but boy was it good. They opened their set with hit tract ‘Electricity’ and they sure were electric. Following with ‘Hallways’, ‘The Kids will get the Money’ and ‘Survival Expert’ they kept giving the crowd with the best they had. In spirit of the festival being one celebrating beer and cider, Something for Kate were involved in a special collaboration with the Mornington Peninsula Brewery to produce the exclusive festival, one day only beer blend dubbed ‘MiracleCure’. Mornington itself was where this band started out so this collaboration was very significant . Described as a ‘Rye IPA boasting a fruity aroma delivering piney, spicy melon flavours’ it’s definitely one that will go down in the Beer Incider history books. There was a soundtrack for the beer aptly named Miracle cure. Returning to their roots Something for Kate played ‘beautiful sharks’, one of the oldest pieces of music they have, about 20 years old specifically but it definitely hasn’t aged or become any less relevant. Special mention to drummer Clint Hyndman who went at it so hard that his drumsticks flew off and snapped on several occasions. All while he was struggling to see through the sweat pouring down his face, which didn’t stop him. Bassist and backup vocalist Stephanie Ashworth was a picture of beauty bathed in the most beautiful golden light and strumming that bass like her life depended on it. Lead singer and guitarist PaulDempsey swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic one and found himself onstage alone in what was a beautiful solo instrumental performance that gave the crowd goosebumps. They finished the set with ‘Sweet Nothing’, ‘California’ and ‘Déjà vu’.
The air was mixed with sweat and beer, and filled with nervous tension and anticipation for headliners TheDMA’s. As the DMA’S walked onstage to the deafening roar of the crowd. Despite the stifling heat the boys gave it everything they had. Opening with killer hit ‘Play it Out’ they followed with ‘For Now’ and ‘Dawning’. Lead singer Tommy commanded the stage right from the get go. Inviting the crowd to participate on more than one occasion, a gesture that was well received by his audience. As if the performance wasn’t electric enough the lighting situation left the crowd relieved they weren’t epileptic, in what was an assault on our eyes of constantly flashing and changing lights and so much smoke. A display which suited their performance to a tee! In spirit of playing in Melbourne their song ‘Melbourne’ was a prominent feature on their set list. Other crowd favourites were ‘Step Up’ and ‘In the Moment’ and The DMA’s showed us just how good they are with a killer performance of ‘Laced’. As they played the final chords of finale track ‘Lay Down’ the crowd who had otherwise been relatively quiet and subdued went wild. Even after the lights had dimmed, and the DMA’S had left the stage the crowd were left chanting for more. Despite repeated pleas for an encore the DMA’s did not return to the stage. Instead they hit the beers and after a performance like that it was very well deserved!
Melbourne’s first Beer Incider Festival experience was a true success, filled with some of the best music, beer and cider that Melbourne had to offer. They delivered in every sense of the festival experience, and, despite the heat it was truly a memorable day for all who attended. I know I personally am already keen for next years!