Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia and Anthony Moore.
On the morning of festivals Melbourne often likes to act all dramatic. Early on Sunday it was cold, wet and overcast and looking like this years Cherry Rock was going to be a soggy mess. To be honest the only difference it made to my attire for the day was to throw a couple of sealable lunch bags into my pocket to save my phones life in the event of a flood. Nothing though was going to stop the punters this year with international headliners Red Fang (US), The Shrine (US) and Beastwars (NZ) as well as a strong local contingent featuring Warped, Child, Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, Horsehunter, My Left Boot, Clowns, The Ugly Kings, Dr Colossus, and interstaters HITS (Brisbane) and Los Hombres Del Diablo (Sydney).
The rain had already subsided as punters started to roll up at midday. The dual-stage fest kicked off with Dr Colossus on the AC/DC Lane stage and sounded incredible. It was such a great mix for the two-piece whose style of rockin doom only includes lyrics about The Simpsons. Perfect. Singer / guitarist Dr. Jon’s vocals were up higher than I’ve previously heard in the mix and shot out and up the lane way giving their sound extra depth and strength. Best I’ve heard them.
Switching stages and into the Cherry itself for The Ugly Kings. These guys took out the award for my favourite guitar sound of the day. Elements of blues and rock with some extremely cool grooves are what they do best.
The rain may have subsided but the cross winds at the end of the laneway nearly blew members over as Melbourne rock royalty and the much loved Warped hit the stage. It’s always electric, full of energy and guitar wielding crazy as they blaze through their set. They may have been on early but Warped also got some of the loudest cheers form punters on the day.
We were setting up gear for some interviews later in the day and unfortunately missed Sydney’s Los Hombres Del Diablo. They’re such a great band and I was looking forward to hearing them with their new vocalist, Luke Enright who replaced Michele Madden in January. From all reports they rocked it big time! Looking forward to catching them next trip south.
Every time I see Child they get stronger and tighter but at the same time it’s also so much more natural than so many other bands exploring a similar sound. The hard work of constant rehearsing and playing always pays off for them. They are unstoppable. Another amazing set of soul bleeding blues that blows our minds like a Cheech and Chong inspired spliff.
One thing that can be frustrating with any two stage festival that has an enclosed stage and no clashing bands, is when everyone wants to see that one band at the same time. My Left Boot were one of those bands. Also continuing to build on what they’ve worked hard to achieve and recently reaching their 10th anniversary, they are still at the top of their game! Redcoats guitarist Neil Wilkinson has joined the Boot and from what I could hear of Summer Song as I squeezed myself into the side door of Cherry, it was perfect. Wilkinson added yet another layer into the already sweet rockin sounds of My Left Boot. The guys are taking a break and heading into the studio to work on a new album! Psyched!
Brisbane’s HITS took the main stage hostage and even the crosswinds hauling arse down the lane way behind Cherry couldn’t budge them. It’s the guitars that get me and wont let go. They grab your feet and make you dance like a drunken fool. A definite crowd fav of the day and it seems they should get down here more often.
Now after saying that it can get too squashy inside, there is no where else you want to experience Horsehunter than in a confined space with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. They’re fuckin loud and it hasn’t been a perfect set unless you leave with a few cracked ribs from the bass alone. These guys are not only impressing the hell out of their home town of Melbourne, but they’ve been freaking out listeners all over the world with how young and talented they are and even more so since signing and releasing their debut on US label Magnetic Eye Records. What a week they had too; supporting The Shrine, Beastwars twice, and then Cherry Rock! There’s a hell of a lot of awesome there and well deserved too!
What can you say about Beastwars?! Singer Matt Hyde not only drops straight into ‘the zone’ when he hits the stage but he reached out and dragged the entire laneway in there with him! They are a non stop machine of passion, power and riffs that tear the flesh right off you and hack into the bone. They should just move to Melbourne. We’ve adopted them anyway and want them all for ourselves. They’re the Melbourne music scene’s very own ice habit and we’re damn well addicted.
As we were conducting interviews we missed Clowns but from the backgound noise we could hear it was obvious that it was going crazy in Cherry! After speaking to a few people later in the night, Clowns again didn’t disappoint and were a standout of the day.
The Shrine is currently on high rotation for a lot of us. Partly due to them just being back in Melbourne but also because they are just fuckin awesome! It’s always a non stop party filled with loads of riffed up energy, massive smiles and good times. The thing that truly stands out about the band along with their talent is just how much they genuinely enjoy what they do and thrive on the buzz they get from the crowd. So good to see. Each song is treated like it’s their last and they go nuts. Love it!
Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene is by far one of the best bands going around at the moment. Extremely tight and riffs so deep you get swallowed whole on the first strum. If I was on the council I wouldn’t just name a street after them, (as even the Ring Road would be too small for them), I’d name an entire suburb after them. Ok I haven’t thought this through, they have a suburb in their title and their name is way too long, never mind the swear word.
Red Fang finished up Cherry Rock with a to be expected killer set. What a massive line up! It was already good enough up to this point but to be served up a desert after so many mains heaped high with such an intense and massive set is over the top and awesome. Known for the crazy clips as much as their killer songs, the guys retain the title of being one of the most genuine and unstoppable bands touring the planet. AC/DC Lane was packed, devil horns were being thrown at overly outstretched arms length and Melbourne had again been spoilt with not only some of our own home town’s kick arse bands but also three from overseas all in one day. CherryRock15 again proved that it’s a highlight of the festival circuit and even with the high rise development behind the venue, the music scene is as strong as ever and thriving in Melbourne!