Cherry Rock Festival, Sydney, 31st May ’14 – Across The Ocean

Cherry Rock Festival, Sydney, 31st May ’14

A pleasant Saturday afternoon greets us as Marrickville’s The Factory Theatre plays host to the Sydney leg of The Cherry Rock Festival, a concept successfully developed in Melbourne and now making its first pilgrimage interstate.

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As I arrive the sun is shining, heads are bobbing and a variety of Coopers are being rapaciously imbibed. I only catch the tail end of Melbourne’s Dan Fernando whose relentless sludge very much sets the tone for the evening,

Inside New Zealand’s Beastwars are carving it up. Grey bearded frontman Matt Hyde is as engaging as he is scary, stalking around the stage pawing at imaginary adversaries and staring intensely at nothing.

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He is the crazy homeless man who you cross the street to avoid as he bellows menacingly over a bottom-heavy wall of beef. My bowels are in danger of exploding.

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Back outside we go from extreme bass to zero bass as two piece Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk entertain us with some amusing antics and distorted blues.

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With a frontman possessed by Elvis, C.R.C.W get the crowd dancing as the steady intake of beer kicks in.

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In the main room it’s back to ongoing disembowelment by bass as Redcoats dazzle all and sundry with an impressive and animated performance.

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With a singer reminiscent both physically and vocally of Zack de la Rocha, Redcoats are all about fat jammed out epics and deliver a solid, entertaining show.

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Sporting two of the most impressive mullets seen in recent times, Drunk Mums prove to be a real highlight of the day. Armed with a cheeky sense of fun and a deranged dancing orange-overall-donning tambourinist, Drunk Mums spewed forth a relentless barrage of caustic garage punk tunes and win my award for most entertaining show of the day.

King Of The North commence their set in comical fashion with Andrew Higg’s dramatic intro leap culminating in a wayward strap and broken lead, forcing a slight delay 10 seconds into their set.

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Fortunately, their professionalism rose to the surface and after an impromptu drum solo KOTN quickly showed us why they have developed such a lofty live reputation as they proceeded to molest us with a massive sound that simply does not seem possible from a two piece.

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One time Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork had quite the posse of devotees assembled front of stage, eager to see him out from behind the kit and riffing.

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Unfortunately it all fell a bit flat as one directionless song droned into another. It was a bit like a bunch of buddies having a stoned jam with some rather self indulgent posturing and juvenile lyrics about getting high not helping the cause.

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Closing out the night were the legendary Meat Puppets whose slightly more poppy psychadelic tinged tracks provided a welcome change from the afternoon of sludge.

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The Arizonians showed their 30 odd years of experience in an entertaining set that had the crowd nodding with appreciation moreso than jumping around and were a nice way to complete the evening.

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The inaugural Cherry Rock Festival in Sydney had come to an end. Whilst it didn’t appear to sell out, the evening went smoothly, people had fun and hopefully the concept will grow and be back bigger and better in this fine city again next year.

Photos: Benon Julius William Otto Koebsch

Gavin Stocker

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker