The Blurst of Times @ The Valley, 16th April
You only get a few near death experiences in your life. You could be flying in a thunder storm, you could be in an avalanche, a house fire, a Revenantt style bear attack. Or, like me on Saturday night, you could be trampled for thirty seconds at a gig at The Foundry. It happened like this: one minute I was dancing to the Murlocs, and the next I was down. It was in this moment that I figured being trampled by music lovers at one of my favourite Brisbane venues wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. Sure, it was the worst of times (I have the bruises to show), but it was also one of the best.
It’s Saturday night and I’m off to The Blurst of Times, a festival that spreads itself across three of the best venues in Brisbane: The Brightside, The Zoo and The Foundry. This year’s lineup includes headliners such as Dune Rats, Bad // Dreems and Methyl Ethel, alongside some of the countries freshest local artists. I start my night at The Brightside, enjoying a Sailor Jerry to the upbeat, Bowie-esque sounds of Sydney rock band, Australia. Showcasing their latest EP, Portraits of People, Places and Movies, the band have an unmistakable 80s influence. With a blend of instrumental colours and sinewy rhythms, the band manage to deliver a brimming sound to an already packed crowd. Finishing off with a cover of David Bowie’s Lets Dance, Australia sets the mood for a great night ahead.
Swerving around the thick crowd to the exit, I make my way to The Zoo to watch the sun-soaked sounds of Sydney band, The Lulu Raes. Inside, the crowd is considerably smaller. The Lulu Raes are already part way through their set, pumping out a boozy hybrid of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Jefferson Airplane. It’s not incredibly tight and I’m not completely immersed in the sound, however songs such as Swing Me On A Vine Of Sunshine and Burnout bring out that positive, upbeat vibe that The Lulu Raes are well known for.
Back at The Brightside, I make my way to watch my current favourites Methyl Ethel perform their 8.30pm set. Beginning with Shadow Boxing, a clear, chilled out vibe dawns on crowd. The sound is distinctively stretched out and lo-fi. At times, the instrumentation is a bit monotonous and sluggish, however Jake Webbs sanguine vocals and evocative lyrics juxtapose this perfectly, adding higher element to the sound. The crowd eagerly sing along to well known tunes Twilight Driving and Rogues. There could be a bit more audience interaction, but the performance was stellar nonetheless.
A short walk over to The Foundry brings me to Geelong band, The Murlocs. The Foundry is completely packed; even getting through the front door is a task. There’s a huge King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard vibe going off upstairs. In the mosh, I find myself dancing in a heavy throng of Murloc admirers. I dance a little too hard and get pulled down, I struggle to get back up. When I finally do, I somehow manage to keep dancing. The bands latest album, Young Blindness gets played in full. With heavy riffs and phased out drums, the sound works around Ambrose Kenny Smith’s stretched and warped vocals. Specific songs like Adolescence and Tee Pee can be singled out as stand outs. Afterwards, through the thick fog of sweat and smoke, I see the crowd disperse to catch Bad//Dreems back at The Brightside.
I stick around to watch Brisbane locals Moses Gun Collective and have a good boogie to their funky, eccentric tunes. The entire band are dressed in bright, colourful outfits that look to be straight out of an ABBA film clip. Their presence is incredibly friendly and crowd engaging. Rich, psychedelic tunes promote a funky laid back vibe. My friend Kate takes her shoes off to dance and Lewis the guitarist picks them up and puts them on. Stand outs from the set include Back Into The Womb and crowd favourite, Shalala (Shaaa-laa-laa-laa!). Choreographed danced moves and all, Moses Gun Collective really show us what Brisbane music is made of.
Running back to The Brightside, I dodge my way through flying inflatable balls and flamingos to get to the front for Dune Rats. From the vibe of the crowd, I have a feeling that things are going to get rowdy. When lead singer Danny comes on stage playing the guitar from the shoulders of a roadie, my suspicions are confirmed. A circle pit erupts in the mosh, sending me flying to the corner of the stage. From the first song, we receive a slab of mental energy from the band, with an almost barbaric amount of enthusiasm. Their unique take on ‘stoner pop’ is applaudable. Taking away the party vibes, the excessive amounts of swearing and the spitting, these guys are rather good musicians. Towards the end of the set, drummer BC, starts to throw up from his kit, mid way through Red Light Green Light. Danny turns to him and yells “stop spewing it up mate, are you good to go?” Throughout the performance, we have a 60 year old travelling tamborine player stage diving, shoeys on stage, more throwing up, and a crowd photo with everybody flipping off at somebody’s mum. Finishing off with Funny Guy, the band really demonstrate why their one of Brisbane’s best assets.
I leave the Valley at about 4.30am feeling bruised and exhausted, with the full knowledge that The Blurst of Times was in fact one of The Best of Times I’ve ever had.