Mountain Goat Valley Crawl or the Quest to Find Some Bloody Aircon
It’s hot. And I mean really fucking hot. The kind of hot where any sane man would lay naked under his fan armed with a Zooper Dooper in each hand. Or the kind of hot where all the rich kids sit comfortably in their air-conditioned homes. I’m not a sane man tonight, the Mountain Goat Valley Crawl is on across five stages and I want to go see some great bands. Most importantly, the OG Brisbane hip-hop outfit Butterfingers.
I don’t want to leave the cool realm of my Uber. It’s cosy, a fair bit small, but it’s blowing a steady stream of cold air straight to my face. But he pulls up into the Valley and I take my first step into the humid abyss. Fuck it’s hot.
I start at the Woolly Mammoth where Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective are about to begin. I walk up the stairs to the venue and get slapped with a wall of heat. No aircon. I grab a beer from the bar and it’s perspiring after seconds from leaving the fridge. I find room under the breeze of a small fan and watch as the band make the stage. Max Chillen is in a long sleeve button up and some trousers – poor dude. Another member has a beanie on. They begin with the melancholic pop tunes that have made them so popular with the Brisbane hipsters. The set is like their past shows but there’s something about this gig that’s different. The band have an energy on stage that’s infectious and the crowd are grooving along despite the fact we’ve all crawled up Satan’s arsehole. Their cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding is almost perfect and the band pay tribute to the departing Brisbane bane These Guy with a cover of Technical Jazz. Even though it’s hot, the band has us all dancing and sweating and dancing.
I move to the zoo after making a detour via PJ Steaks and make it in time for New South Wales premiere punk band These New South Whales. The Zoo is hot and sweaty, the much anticipated aircon must be on the fritz, or non-existent. The band take the stage in their wannabe 70s punk outfits and begin with a deep Satanic chant of “these new south whales, these new south whales.” Vocalist, better known as Jamie Timony, is hard to distinguish at first against the thick punk rock bellowing from the stage. I’ll blame the soundie. The band move through their short discography with cocky anecdotes thrown in between songs. TNSW are known for their humour and Timony is front and centre when it comes to stage presence. Even when the band fuck up the intro to a new track, it adds to their humorous performance, I’d swear it was all rehearsed. The crowd mosh and Timony stage dives. The air is even thicker, like a dirty cocktail of sweat, beer and more sweat.
The decision to leave The Zoo is hard once I poke my head out the window and notice the line nearly entering the Beat. I want to make sure I see my beloved Butterfingers but the fresh air is too good to pass up. I venture out, not really caring where I end up right now, I just want aircon. I poke my head into the Brightside. Passing through the alluring smell of Lucky Egg. I don’t know who’s playing, but I leave. I trek up to the Foundry. The lines are beginning to multiply but I stroll on through. Each step I take I can feel a cooler breeze. Each step is a relief; the aircon is working. And it’s a miracle at that considering the Foundry is packed, everyone’s grooving like it’s an 80s acid house disco. I even happen to find a stool to rest my weary legs. I check the timetable and I’ve stumbled into the start of Gill Bates’ set. The Brisbane based rapper walks on stage after his DJ has pumped up the crowd with a mix of Kanye and Childish. The rapper struts wearing what looks like ski goggles, backwards. He begins to sing and the auto-tune on his mic gives me flashbacks to Kanye West Big Day Out 2012. I leave the Foundry. I leave the aircon.
And I’m back at The Zoo, back in the fiery pits of Brisbane. Mallrat, Brisbane’s young pop princess, is halfway through her set. Struggling to hit her high notes, due to losing her voice, she asks the crowd to help her out; a smart tactic for a young performer. She’s got a hype-girl on the decks who dances and yells the words at the end of each verse. Just like the pros. Her singles Inside Voices and Uninvited have the crowd grooving and they sing the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Mallrat’s voice is cute and innocent, there’s a shyness to it, and it’s sort of adorable. I have a bit of a soft spot for this one.
It’s time, finally. Butterfingers are up next. My shirt is beginning to become heavy. I feel gross, I’m sweating in parts I didn’t know I could. The crowd is getting more and more feisty. People are almost hanging from the windows for fresh air. Those who decided to hit the vodka redbulls hard are beginning to regret it as they collapse from dehydration. I see some dude standing up with his eyeballs rolled back in his skull. What kind of hell is this?
Butterfingers walk across the stage, just like they did close to fifteen years ago. Frontman Evil Eddie now looks an Aussie Connor McGregor. They begin and the crowd goes fucking crazy. They are dogs who’ve just been released from their leash. They jump, they swing, they wave their arms in the air. They rub their sweaty bodies all over each other. Evil Eddie’s flow is as tight as ever, it’s like they never left. Everyone around me knows all the lyrics and keep up with Eddie as he spits his rhymes. These are hardcore Butterfingers fans in my midst. The band play some of Evil Eddie’s solo material like Queensland and Golden Age, but it’s classics like Get Up Outta the Dirt, Everytime and Yo Mama that have the crowd ecstatic. Especially during Everytime, as the crowd chant back the line ‘worship Satan’ like a sweaty group of Salem Witches. Butterfingers treat us to a new track, Big Night Out, during their encore which has the promise to be another classic. It’s not until the last track that I finally hear the intro I’ve been waiting for all night. As Evil Eddie sings “I woke up this morning,” my teenage dream of seeing the band play FIGJAM live has been fulfilled. I’ve known every word to this song before I fully understood the words in the song and I’m singing it alongside hundreds of other people and Evil Eddie.
People rush out the door as the band finish, racing for that sweet haven outside. I show some restraint and wait, joining some with our heads out the window. There’s something about filing out a small stairway amongst sweat soaked punters that doesn’t rub me the right way. It’s not like I’m going home to aircon anyway.