Pandemonium Rocks 2024 – Sydney

Pandemonium Rocks 2024 – Sydney

The inaugural Pandemonium rocks festival kicked up quite a stink before the festival had even begun its first leg in Melbourne.

Today, I’m making my way to Homebush for the Sydney show courtesy of Across The Ocean (Chiz Benon) and with a free rail ticket in hand from Rail NSW. The free transport came after an initial venue change debacle that has seen the festival moved to Olympic Park from the original location of the Domain in Sydney surrounded by the iconic harbour and beautiful botanic gardens.

Second wave of sad and disruptive news saw the festival chopped to half its original ticketed line up with a number of bands removed from the eclectic and appealing bill. Placebo, Deep Purple, The Dead Kennedy’s, Gang of Four, Gyroscope and Petch were no longer to appear at any of the shows, while ticket holders were offered one of the following;

An additional ticket, free of charge

A pandemonium hoodie + a free set of steak knives

Or to quite simply, suck it up and go along to see the other bands that are playing. A la fans of the above mentioned bands that wound up on the festival cutting room floor.

I know how I would feel if Deep Purple was one of my favourite rock bands. I’ll be on the look out for some of these particular fans today to see what they have to say about not getting to experience the band(s) they forked out the big dollars to see.

Let’s ROCK (Twin Peaks, FWWM fans will know their Garmonbozia from their creamed corn here).

I rolled into the festival  just before 4pm, somewhat a tit-bit late and bummed to miss the Cosmic Psychos. I caught the last of their set as I arrived at Cathy Freeman Park. The band delivers their own distinct brand of Aussie Punk. HARD, FAST, LOUD while your prawns are on the fucking barby.

Check out “Nice Day To go To The Pub” & “Fuckwit City” to get a picture of this cult Aussie, punk rock outfit. Turn it up loud and get a dog up ya! (Full set of photos here).

Wolfmother quietly entered the stage to bring an almighty plethora of screams and whistles which drew dwellers from all corners of the half filled pitch.

The band screeched out to a somewhat sleepy response from the crowd but frontman vocalist and screech wizard of the strings, Andrew James Stockdale soon amped it up to get the middle-front section moving.

The home town psych rockers drew the blood from the necks of their audience and were in fine form, keeping the momentum up after the psychos to give the fans the catalogue rock out tracks rounding with The Joker And The Thief In The Night that brought the larger crowd to its jiving feet. Rock’n out!! (Full set of photos here).

Wake up Sydney!!!! There’s a Lou Barlow look-a-like walking around today plus girls lining up behind the kebab stand to make out with Garth from Wayne’s World. Foxy Laddddddy…

Wheatus: AC/DC cover, Teenage Dirt Bag… “The End”

Naaahh, I wouldn’t do that. By the middle of their set, “Valentines” broody bass and sweet poppy keys opened up that ‘new wave’ and alternative sound that the festival aimed to hit. Even with the “rangey” line up of far flung music acts, I’m not sure whether Wheatus was a filler or not, still trying to figure out how the squealing vocal driven tunes of adolescent nostalgicizing, shoe-gazing-cereal-pop have an audience here. Thanks Wenis, you had the kebab patrons singing along with that hard-to-ever forget poppy hook that you do too well! (Full set of photos here).

Bands were coming on 10 min earlier than scheduled and after an elongated break the teenage dirtbags exodus left us, things were now back to schedule.

The Psychedelic Furs took to the stage in their sunglasses and black suits to a full but somewhat sedated crowd.

The moody-rockers lifted their presence with fan fave “Love My Way”. Xylophonic keys and big dramatic kick drums mustered up some cool two-steps in the crowd. Big 80’s echo sound while introducing those sounds and instruments that give traditional rock music an alternative edge. Did someone say electric double bass?? Meanwhile the guitarist just set the stage on fire with his big wang(y). (Full set of photos here).

The sound of sirens blare and red and blue lights flash from the stage.

Welcome rock star royalty, Deborah Harry has taken to the stage with her band, Blondie and has got everyone swarming to see the veteran punk rocker of the CBGB scene!

Hanging On The telephone” has ignited this once sedated herd of humans. The band is jamming as they belt out the hits. For a 70 something musical icon, Deborah sounds incredible. An extra sped-up version of “One Way Or Another” keeps the army of two-steppers at it.

Call Me” brings the crowd up a notch as they sway and belt out the lyrics. 5 or 6 songs in, Debs dropped off a bit with the artist looking to be struggling a bit with her vocals. Her energy remains high, the band is alive and very tight. The show goes on!!

The band lifts to apocalyptic pop heights with “Atomic” culminating in a guitar solo turned back-to-back duo that saw the ninjas hit all the notes at light speed, bringing a mid set climatic feel to the night. The crowd showed their appreciation as did the band for their audience. Deborah: “We do this for you”

The calypso meets pop sounds of “The Tide is High” bring about a groove unseen today. Deborah introduces the band to the audience and lifts the song to another level. The Drummer picks up his stix for an impressive drum outro.

“I’m happy that I got back to Australia …. before I die”

Don’t go doing a Mark Sandman on us Deb, HOLD ON!!

The massive pop anthem “Heart Of Glass” signals the near end of the set and has everybody moving! Is it just me but why does it feel like an aerobics class when a performer musters up a crowd wave?

The band ends their set with an unknown song called “Dreaming”. A song written by Deborah Harry & Chris Stein (Blondie guitarist) which was recorded by the Smashing Pumpkins in 1994.

Bravo Blondie. (Full set of photos here).

Swords swinging, Alice Cooper slashes through a curtain with his band of pirates. My mate next door to me on four wheels announces the guitarist thats wearing the red bandanna is none other than Johnny Depp (Capt’n Jack Sparrow) dead ringer from afar!

Towering above the theatrics in his signature top hat, cane and all out rock n’ roll undertaker persona, Señor Alice Cooper commands your attention 

A fitting “Welcome To The Show” opens the set and let’s the punters know that high calibre rock n roll theatrics are in store

No More Mr. Nice Guy” brings welcome cheers from the audience as the band belts out the rock anthem.

Under My Wheels” brings a screeching guitar symphony to the night with each guitarist vying for a spot next to the rock demo-god as he shoves them aside and moves on to hang onto his own spotlight.

I’ve counted 3 guitar picks after as many songs thrown into the audience at this stage by the blonde female guitarist. Is she even playing or just handing out last years merch?

This guy would like to stick around on what has been an impressive gig with performances that oooob the feels but it is time to get outta here. See below for my Pandemonium 2024 wrap with a little bow tie. (Full set of photos here).

Australian music festivals and music festivals the world over have taken a huge hit post-pandemic-nowa-daze (sic). Hey Sal xx

With increased costs to all areas of life, live music has again suffered the worst of what seems like a relentless brutal beating of the hip pocket from the promoters, musicians, and all the techies (including those behind their keyboards).

Hats off to the festival organisers for keeping a revised festival on the table. 

Nothing will ever beat the feeling that runs through your body from the amplified sounds and thud of live music. Let’s not make that it’s epitaph.

Support artists and musicians (that goes for you too governments and big hitters) and make sure you get up front to see the bands that make you move and shout.

Take it from me, the little local gigs are full of incredible music and if you look around, there is plenty out there. This is where the support really counts!!!

Thanks for having this guy and I sincerely hope we see you again and other eclectic-like festivals of your liking

Until the next cartoon music fans xx


Lovely couple on the late train out there summed up the lineup changes best: I asked them what prompted them to buy their premium tickets. Mister Train said his primary reason was to see Deep Purple, Placebo and The DK’s. We spoke a little about the bands that weren’t included but his face screamed “LET DOWN” when I commented pretty good selection still coming to the party?

Misss’uzzz Train was psyched for Blondie and can I just say, wasn’t everyone keen to see them play. Deb and her crew did not disappoint.

Let’s just call that 50/50 customer satisfaction.

Marty Upham
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