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I love the Melbourne music scene. There is so much diversity from the local pub gigs where you can catch a quiet acoustic set or a retro soul, blues, pop or a full on punk set. There are numerous council run music festivals, the wonderful in your face St Kilda acts, all the way to the glitzy stadium rock shows featuring popular touring international artists.
There is something different in the water in Geelong or what I love to call 'Geetroit Rock City". Ever since Dan Robinson came out of Geelong to sing a classic garage rocker inexplicably titled "Krome Plated Yabby" with Lobby Loyde on searing lead guitar. "I'll show you baby" was the refrain of that song by The Wild Cherries and it was like a klaxon call of great things to come from that sleepy town 75KM south-west from Melbourne many years later.
The two most important women in Australia's rock'n'roll history hail from Geelong: Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Adalita (Magic Dirt). What are the odds of that happening?
It was Bored! that was the catalyst with their adrenaline fuelled explosive approach to music at it's purest essence. Bored! never made it to the big time but their musical influences lingers. The Geelong floodgates were opened to spawn the likes of Seaweed Gorillas, The Sunset Strip, The Dirty Lovers, Amba Fear, Poppin' Mommas, She Freak, Automatic and Food. When Bored! imploded, after returned from their 1990 European tour, John Nolan and Tim Hemensley split to form The Powder Monkeys and Dave Thomas managed fellow Geelong band, Magic Dirt. He later joined Magic Dirt on guitar from 1995 to 1997.
It was Magic Dirt that really hit pay dirt with the Au Go Go Records EP releases of 'Signs of Satanic Youth' and 'Life Was Better' in the mid-90's. Way before silverchair exploded onto the scene, a pair of thirteen year old kids in Geelong formed a band called Warped. This band will be playing an explosive set this year's River Rocks.
This is the ninth River Rocks event. A true celebration of Geelong music. A few days before the big day, one of the hotly anticipated bands suddenly pulled out. HITS from Queensland were no longer coming due to 'Evil Dick' Richards being unable to travel interstate. It was a great pity they would not be playing because at River Rocks 2014, HITS totally wild incendiary set in the barn stage featuring an inflated palm tree, was my day's highlight. My two favourite female guitarists in the world, Tamara Dawn and Stacey Coleman from HITS would be attending but not playing.
All of the proceeds from the BBQ was going to help out our missing comrade in action. SixFtHick's Ben Corbett sent out a heartfelt loving message to Dick mid set, saying we all love and missed his presence today but he is hurting and we all want to see him well and back on his feet soon.
Source: River Rock's Facebook page
Just let me say that River Rocks is truly the best rock'n'roll festival in Australia and everyone that attends cannot wait to come back next year. Every punter is truly hooked. It is like one big extended family and just look at the T-Shirts on display on the music fans. Expect to see lots of HITS, Cosmic Psychos, Meanies, Radio Birdman and vintage River Rocks T-Shirts on display. It's the combo of bands and the passionate music loving fans that make this event.
There are the Geelong regulars, from the happy dancing dude this year wearing an autographed T-Shirt of The Sonics, The Poppin Mommas' Ox Menzies cheerfully serving cocktails, Mike Findlay of The Dukes of Deliciousness cooking some snags and Ben Eddie who not only sang with so many bands but also crowdsurfing and touching the roof in the barn, during the SixFtHick's set of total destruction. A fine example of so much love for each other.
Ben Eddie singing with Mike Findlay of The Dukes of Deliciousness, early on the day....
....and then later on in the evening, crowdsurfing during SixFtHick.
I am not going to make any attempt to review the whole day of River Rocks 2016. I have way too much on my plate, capturing over 5,000 photographs of the 22 bands that played. I failed in my quest to video every band that played. It just becomes impossible to get up front for every band and some sets are so wild and hairy (SixFtHick, Warped, Totally Unicorn to name just a few) that capturing some videos, could only end in total disaster with me picking up the many pieces of a broken camera.
It is difficult trying my best to cover the day. It is not easy going through the busy crowd with my camera gear and monopod. I did manage to averted a total major disaster. The SixFtHick crowd on the barn stage got pretty rowdy a couple of times and I was pushed against the wall, as happy punters fell. On one occasion (unbeknown to me), someone landed heavily on my camera bag breaking the bag's zipper and out popped my collection of memory cards for my digital camera. Suddenly having no storage, I was only able to photograph the headlining act, The Monkeywrench by deleting previously captured videos and 100's of photographs. There was a bit of a mad panic going in my head, that most of my day's work would be lost and that I would not find those memory cards. When the last band was over in the total darkness of the barn stage, I was able to find my memory cards covered in beer and soggy crap from the side of the stage. Not real crap but you know what I mean. PHEW! Crisis averted.
So if you got this far, you can relive some of River Rock 2016. Hear are 27 HD videos. Next year it will be the 10th Anniversary of River Rocks and it's going to get bigger and better than ever....unless Trump blows up the world. ROCK ON RIVER ROCKS 2017!
Headlining this year River Rocks was American supergroup, The Monkeywrench. Formed in 1991, founded by members of the classic Seattle band Mudhoney, Mark Arm & Steve Turner with guitarist for bands such as the Big Boys and Poison 13, the legendary Tim Kerr. Along with Tom Price from the U-Men & Gas Huffer plus Martin Bland from Australian noise rockers Lubricated Goat they ended up recording three LPs; “Clean As A Broken Dick Dog” (1992), “Electric Children” (2000) & “Gabriel’s Horn” (2008). Out of the blue they reforming early this year to play ATP Festival in the UK plus shows in Austin Texas, Seattle & London.
Here is some crazy antics during The Monkeywrench set, with Tim Kerr on his back playing lead guitar and Mark Arm inviting the audience to rub his belly.
Simmering in the backwaters of Geelong is a filthy rock stench so pronounced it simultaneously burns the nostril hairs and quivers the loins and no other fine exponent of that sound comes from the opening act at River Rocks 2016 - The Dukes Of Deliciousness. My highlight is my favourite Dukes song, "Hightail Strut".
Grindhouse came to party at River Rocks and share their kabanas! Arriving proudly on stage, wearing just their jocks - the deplorable vision of so much manly throbbing man meat, burnt a hole in my retina. They rocked hard because Grindhouse go off like a SLR 5000 and everybody knows, "it's so fucken fast".
Adding some total class to the day, we have the volatile three piece, The Nation Blue. What can I say about this band? Every time I have seen them, they completely blow me away. I am a bit concerned about Tom Lyngcoln welfare because I have never seen a gig where he is not bleeding profusely from his head. After seven long years, out of the blue they have suddenly dropped not one but two new albums via Poison City Records. Wrap your head around this!
I am finding it impossible to keep up with the roster of Aaargh! Records bands. Part Ausmuteants, Exhaustion and...hey there is Rich Stanley from The Onyas on bass. As I stood up front coveting Jake's 'Young Marble Giant' T-Shirt, Drug Sweat performed a punchy pop punk set. I was really impressed. According to Rich, flamboyant keyboardist Marc Dean left the band in February and they now have a new bunch of songs. Check them out because this is a rising band on the move up.
I have only heard great things about The Meatbeaters for years but this is the first time I have finally got to see the Adelaide band live. They did not disappoint. Keeping the meatbeating theme going, they even had a song called "Purple Helmet". Do you really need to guess what they are referring to?
Let's get BROOTAL and FUGGIN' HEAAVY! Get some massive riffs into you, when The Ruiner hits the main stage at River Rocks. Bang you head, just like my mate, Nathan Abate in the front row and the crowd goes off.
It was a great way to break up the day, by watching Mad Macka in the beergarden rocking out in the midday sun. Macka's dayglo green guitar strings were certainly getting lots of attention from the punters, as he sang songs about King Wally.
I have not seen Two Headed Dog before but I was mightily impressed. 70's thumping sounds with screaming vocals, made for a fun filled set. This number gives a nod to the boogie rock sounds of ZZ-Top. Brilliant stuff. I am looking forward to seeing them again in the future.
I couldn't get anywhere near the barn stage for The Poppin Mommas fun filled set. My highlight was their ace cover of Blood Sucking Freaks "Suck More Piss". This is only an excerpt but you can see that it was really wild and the hometown crowd just lapped it up - the band's fast paced music that is, as well as the piss.
One of the bands, did not bother to pitch up. Well what do you expect, when they were called Shit Sex. Not to disappoint anybody, we soon had an revolving cavalcade of performers just jamming on the barn stage. Made up of members of The Dukes of Deliciousness, Two Headed Dog, Thomas Watson of Sheriff and random dudes from the audience. Even Ben Eddie was singing along with Mike Findlay of The Dukes. There is way too much talent today in this Geelong audience. I not going to called them the Shit Sex replacement but the Great Sex All Stars. It only seems so appropriate.
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